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A Thought on Language

Why is there any debate whatsoever about whether we can ever know something that is “extra-linguistic”?  How could there be anything more commonsensical than the fact that the only categories we ever do any developed thinking in are linguisitic categories?  There is no way for us to ever come to know anything outside of a linguistic framework because we think and know things in and through language.  And why should this bother Christians?  We believe that the world is constituted by the God who is identical with his Word.  The idea that everything is linguistically mediated has its genesis not in modern philosophy of language, but in Christology.


  1. Bobby Grow wrote:


    I agree . . . Christ is the Logos of God, and words (language) find their ultimate referent and framework in the WORD OF GOD (cf. Jn. 1:1).

    Friday, July 20, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  2. adamsteward wrote:

    I think that alot of the discomfort with this idea comes from the fact that language can never be a personal posession, but is always the common property of a given culture. Thus, if knowledge is always linguistically mediated, then we cannot own our own private nuggets of knowledge that we can control. It makes sense that this would be discomforting for some folks.

    Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  3. Chris wrote:


    Excellent reflection. I’d love to talk about this sometime. I haven’t spent much time with this subject since finishing my dissertation.

    By the way, I am looking forward to meeting again now that I have made my way to Eugene and to an editor position at W&S. We met briefly in DC last November.

    On the topic at hand, I have always wondered what direction our reflections might go if we note the connection you have made – “the world is constituted by the God who is identical with his Word” – as well as the Ephesian idea that the church is the body of Christ. The communitarian approaches to language and meaning are appealing to me, especially in light of (pardon the shorthand) God=Word/Christ=Church. It seems to me that a christological starting point forces the issue for both the foundationalist/objectivist and the communitarian/pragmatist/subjectivist.

    Thanks for the wonderful blogging. I enjoy reading your posts.

    Chris Spinks

    Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  4. Halden wrote:

    Hi Chris,

    Yes, I too look forward to meeting. I’ll be bringing another load of books down for the bookstore at some point, so perhaps we’ll see each other then.

    I certainly agree about the God-Word-Christ-Church correlation. Thanks for the comment!

    Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  5. freder1ck wrote:

    and yet, Jesus is the Word-made-flesh. He brings a presence and a certainty beyond the measure of (mere) human words…

    Monday, July 23, 2007 at 7:40 am | Permalink

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