J.W. Olson argues that recent Christian theologies of divine revelation, though often centered on the irreducibility of the incarnation, have not taken incarnality sufficiently into account as the mechanism for the knowledge of God in Christ. Addressing this problem within a secular context in which the viability of religious truth is under increased scrutiny, Olson engages with the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger to suggest that Christian language and belief are shaped at the precognitive level of embodied involvement long before they ever take mental, conceptual form. He then offers an original interpretation of the Eucharist as the material epicenter of Christian epistemology. In the sacrament, Christians are swept up into a dynamic world that reveals itself as the very person of Jesus Christ, so that Christians come to know Christ most fundamentally through the movements of the body. Recasting the parameters for identifying Christ’s sacramental presence, Olson reiterates the Christian focus on the incarnation as not just the medium of God’s self-revelation but as the very content of Christian faith. Christ is known in act, and so God is revealed where Christ lives in us.
J. W. Olson is departmental lecturer in Historical and Systematic Theology at the University of Oxford, based at Oriel and Trinity colleges.
Chapter 1. Revelation Revisited
Chapter 2. Understanding
Chapter 3. Language
Chapter 4. Personhood
Chapter 5. Eucharist as Revelation
Chapter 6. Eucharist as Hermeneutic
For many Christians, the Eucharist provides a defining focus of their lives and, many would say, offers a direct and embodied experience of the living Christ. That much is simple. Attempting to show how this account is not just defensible but also inspiring is, in a secular and pluralist age that denies appeal to any transcendent reality, to embark on an intellectual obstacle course of endless challenges—doctrinal, philosophical, and experiential. In Taste and See, J. W. Olson confronts these challenges head on, engaging sources as varied as Heidegger and Dom Gregory Dix to provide a lucid, lively, and humanly as well as theologically persuasive argument that is essential reading to all those seeking a deeper understanding of their lived sacramental experience.