This may be expressed in continuation of the metaphors used above: The formation of the biological “habits of interest” is not only about cutting-information (that generates differences for evolution to work on), neither just about instructional information (that build up protein structures), 20
but about an information of connectivity (of absorbing and bringing into resonance a given situation with the interest of biological systems) from cells to organisms. – As we are now going to see all three aspects of information are central to Christian theology. 15.6 Information and logos Christology: theological perspectives In what follows my aim is to explore how the scientific and philosophical reflections on matter and information, as presented above, may elucidate cosmological claims inherent in religious traditions, here Christianity. At the same time I hope to give evidence of the extent to which a premodern text, such as the Prologue to the Gospel of John, remains sensitive to different aspects of the concept of information. Thus the Johannine idea of the Logos relates both to cutting-and-shaping information (Logos as “Pattern”), to the life-informing aspects (Logos as “Life”), and to meaning information (Logos as “Word”). And despite its divine origin Logos is even perceived as embodied (becoming “flesh”). The early Patristic exegesis of the first verse of the Gospel of John (“In the Beginning was Logos”) shows that Christianity was not from the beginning coined in purely Platonic terms, but rather evidences an influence from Stoic physics, the standard philosophy in the Roman empire between 100 BC and AD 150. Unlike Platonism, Stoic physics was basically materialist while giving ample room for the “informational” (and even rational) aspects of the material world. Earlier New Testament scholarship, however, has widely neglected the Stoic influence on Early Christian thinking. The nineteenth century historian and liberal theologian Adolf von Harnack found in John only a Platonic-Hellenistic thinking. In the early twentieth century the existentialist Rudolf Bultmann perceived John as a reflex of a “Gnostic redeemer myth.” 11 Moreover, in contemporary Johannine scholarship, especially of Roman-Catholic origin, one can notice a tendency to underline 11 See Adolf von Harnack (1892); and R. Bultmann (1971). 21
the Jewish and biblical resources behind the Gospel, even to the point of neglecting the cosmological horizon of John. 12 Very recent New Testament scholarship, however, again emphasizes the influence of contemporary Stoic physics for both Paul and John, thereby opening up new possibilities for understanding of the way in which the theologically reflective writings of Paul and John presuppose a synthesis of Stoic and Middle Platonic ideas, common with many of their contemporaries.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 32 pages?
- Spring '14
- Seth Lloyd