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What exactly does the so-called 2nd naivety promise in terms of solutions and why? The duplicate of the blog post translates into simple language. An inclusive attempt.

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Magic key 2. Naivety? What does he open? (simple version)

How can deconstruction of ancient sacred texts succeed?

This is a more commonly understood version. A scientific version of this text you can find it here.

It has long been clear that the literal interpretation of the Holy Scriptures creates more problems than solutions, at least since the debate about Rudolf Bultmann from 1941 (see below).

It was only in the late 1990s, with the advent of the international emergent discussion, that this became postmodern concept of Deconstruction1 of our great stories, such as the story of “Adam & Eve up to Jesus and the effect of salvation”.

This concept has now reached widespread awareness and also among post-evangelicals.

In the discussion of “Hossa Talk” e.g. b. from min. 59 The question was raised as to whether there would be a second naivety after deconstruction. The idea of “as if” was introduced, that is, believing “as if it could be true.” However, it remains unclear how this second naivety is filled, as there are very different views on it.

The word “second naivety” is a good term because it can contain many different paths to the goal.

The modernity shock

In 1941, the New Testament scholar Rudolf Bultmann opened the dispute about the so-called de-mythologisation with provocative sentences.This dispute has led to various readings, including - in addition to the historical-critical one - liberation theological, feminist, mystical-meditative, symbol-didactic, post-colonial, post-evangelical-emergent and now also our, the historical-narrative reading.

Bultmann's statement that one cannot simultaneously use modern technologies and medical resources and believe in the miraculous world of the New Testament led to bitter debates. His “demythologizing” of the New Testament was the central theme of this dispute.

One understands that Bultmann had to find a solution in view of the clearly perceived tension between pre-modernity (ancient-mythical worldview) and modernity (or late modernity with the materialistic-scientific worldview). His obvious solution approach is to de-mythologize the biblical texts, to free the view from the offensive myth for what the texts can still or once again say to people today if they are freed from their ancient mythical disguise can also tell people today or again when they talk about theirs ancient mythical disguise be freed. Bultmann tries with the method of the so-called “existential interpretation“ of the New Testament. We cannot analyze or evaluate them further here.

What solution does the term “second naivety” offer us?

Inspired by Prof. Joachim Nagel, I would like to focus directly on that exciting keyword that emerged in the context of the deconstructions that are still controversial today (e.g. demythologization).

“Second naivety” is a term that is often used in theological and religious education circles. He was introduced by the French philosopher Paul Ricœur into the debate that was then initiated by Bultmann. It seems as if this term could easily solve the unresolved problems of demythologization. But what does “second naivety” actually mean? Does this mean that one can eliminate the concrete and offensive parts of the biblical stories in order to then still preserve the childlike faith in Adam and Eve in paradise, in the virgin in the little chamber and the shepherds in the field? In general, the “second naivety” is described as the appropriate attitude of faith of an adult person who, despite all the doubts and questions of modernity, has reached a new, self-reflective attitude of faith, after the pre-critical immediacy of faith, i.e. a way of believing in which the critical doubts retain their place.

But how does one come to such a belief? And what price does theology have to pay once it has begun to strive to gain such a “second naivety”? So what do we lose or must we give up?

I will now briefly summarize what is in the 30-page lecture Exciting information was compiled by Joachim Nagel, a Catholic professor at the University of Freiburg (Switzerland). He refers to the originator of the term in the 1925s, the religious philosopher Peter Wust (1884–1940) and then the Jewish reform educator Ernst Simon (1899–1988), before talking about the filling by Paul Ricœurs.

Peter WUST is the first to speak of the second naivety in his work “Naivety and Piety”. For him, this describes the attitude of a person who still believes, but not out of tense defiance, but rather out of a wise attitude of questioning and astonishment, sometimes shy and humorous, but always grateful astonishment at this strange existence that has been imposed on us without question. This elaborated form of being-affirming naivety leads to an attitude of “pious veneration of the unsearchable,” which finds its purest and probably most beautiful form in the “docta ignorantia“ of Nicholas Cusanus finds, in an “instructed ignorance” (also about himself).

His short definition goes like this:

"Second naivety - that would be the attitude of the adult human being that has been wrested from life and suffered, but at the same time transformed into a quiet trust towards life and its unsolvable riddles, a pious equilibrium of skepticism and regained being."

WUST emphasizes that in this attitude the big questions are not easily solved, but they are have found peace.

For him, a “second naivety” carries with it a mystical moment that can only be experienced but not explained. It is also aware of its temporary nature, which is why you have to constantly strive for it. So there remains a constant struggle for the second naivety.

The exciting thing about this target description is that it is formulated for various critical seekers who oscillate in their minds between views of the modern Enlightenment and those of the traditional spirituality of sacred texts. Even if in the following decades different “critical lenses” were applied or different perspectives and philosophical-scientific assumptions were assumed in order to manage this tension. So this target description from 1925 also fits our current one Post-Christianity's way. Our path is perhaps more radical than many critical predecessors because we want to leave the Christian framework in order to deconstruct the Enlightenment itself and to pave a new historical approach to the holy scriptures and their contextual truths.

But the key question always remains the same for all searchers: What can the texts (using whatever method) still do for people today - or better: again - say? And what not?

Prof Negel analyzes the history of the term from the 1925s onwards and shows how different philosophical and exegetical assumptions shape this conceptual content, using Wust, Simon and Ricœur as examples. If the previous thoughts are enough for you, you have definitely understood the price that this theology pays:

It is always a strenuous journey Love of modern doubt towards one enlightened faith, who endures tensions and doubts and no longer has to fight them.

Do you want to continue reading? Now more about the details of this exciting portmanteau:

Narrative structures of symbol didactics

Symbol didactics, suggested by Ricœur z. B. deals with the symbolic meaning of sacred texts. It's about not just telling the stories themselves, but also telling them To be told (which she is told about).

  • First, the texts are subjected to a historical-critical analysis in order to examine their possible historical content.
  • Then the same stories are read again, but this time as if they were true. This approach is called “second naivety.” Questions about historical accuracy are no longer taken into account.
  • The result is that many biblical stories that are historically inaccurate become theologically relevant.

The “second naivety” here describes a hermeneutic perspective in which the texts are interpreted with regard to their symbolic meaning in order to get to their poetic core.

Narrative structures of our historical-narrative exegesis

We at In the historical-narrative reading, they also agree not only to tell the story itself, but also to understand why it is being told.

  • We link the reflection on the telling with the group that handed down the story and its addressees (the people of Israel in the 1st century AD, i.e. a Jewish perspective and their world).
  • We interpret the statements that make sense in their world based on their stories and Jewish meanings.
  • However, we do not attempt to theologically or symbolically open up the symbolic world, which is no longer valid for us today, but on the contrary: we observe the historical reality of the time, which these symbolic worlds influenced or created. For example, the imperial overthrow in the Roman Empire in 313 AD by the God of Israel and his Messiah Jesus.

The Christian narrative has been shaped by persecution, suffering and martyrdom over three centuries. The question then arises as to how this narrative reached us and which one Similar narrative patterns make sense to us today could do.

Longing for redemption as the origin of a new, second naivety: Ernst Simon

The Jewish reform educator Ernst Simon dealt with the concept of “second naivety” in 1931. He first used the term in an essay on the idea of a “Free Jewish Teaching House,” which was propagated by Franz Rosenzweig. Rosenzweig wanted to give the assimilated German Jewry in Frankfurt a new approach to tradition, which, however, should be critical and reflective. Simon emphasized that despite all odds, faith is not a fixed possession and that fractures and doubts about faith are always present. For him, the “second naivety” means continually overcoming these breaking points in a reflected life practice. Simon was aware that this must apply not only to the secular world but also to them. So he had an interest in imparting this knowledge. He believed that the question “What can modern man believe?” only can be answered satisfactorily if one focuses on the situation of a world that has become secular radically admits.

The main question is not what an enlightened person can “still” believe, what is compatible with a modern consciousness and what he can accept from the biblical message. Rather, for Simon, the focal point is a "religious conversion." Such a second conversion (μετάνοια/conversio) usually means that people who are unsure of their religious identity first have to say goodbye to beliefs they hold dear. But this loss can be the beginning of a new religious faith if it is transcended with confidence in the greater mystery of God. This new belief is characterized not least by the fact that it leaves room for doubt.

People can embrace the biblical-messianic perspective of hope in the sense of a critical hope of redemption (even despite demythologization), and thereby provide an indispensable service for the world. Because politics is subject to the demands of its hectic daily business, but the person of the second naivety represents the standard of the distant future.

Both Wust and Simon believe that the painful experience of the questionability of all faith certainty and the longingly anticipated hope for a final redemption become one new form of religious experience can lead, be it in the longing form of critical hope of salvation or in the pious, knowledgeable calm of the Cusan “docta ignorantia”.

While Wust one existential-personalistic metaphysics (dualistic-platonic), Ernst Simon came up with a concept inspired by Martin Buber dialogue-oriented adult education developed, the ethical-religious basis of which lies in Jewish humanism.

Summary by Paul Ricœur: "The symbol makes you think"

In his proposal for the second naivety, Paul Ricœur deals with the concept of "symbolic hermeneutics" as a performative process of discovery in order to understand the "poietic truth". He argues that the second naivety is caused by a phenomenology can be understood, which he describes as “Symbol hermeneutics" designated. His approach involves treating the biblical texts as true, even though, when analyzed historically and critically, they do not appear to have “really” happened. On the contrary, through the “as if perspective,” according to his reading, many biblical texts reveal a hidden deep structure that Ricœur describes as “symbolic.” His maxim "Le symbole donne à penser" became the guiding principle for his interpretation of biblical texts. Ricœur has this performative one2 Process demonstrated using the biblical symbols of guilt and evil. Walter Wink later referred to this in his trilogy on the “powers” in the Old and New Testaments. Compare, for example, one Review of Wink.

  1. Caputo says, among other things, “Deconstruction is not destruction. It's not about the negative destruction of meaning, but about an always constructive movement towards a deeper knowledge of the truth." Dietz comments on this: "In this respect, the deconstruction of the church is not an attack on the church, but rather a service to its liberation: liberation from the truncations and distortions of their testimony.”
    Or here too: de-/re-construction. From Markus, an ex-ICF pastor
  2. simultaneously performing an action described with a linguistic utterance (e.g. I congratulate you)

One Reply to “Zauberschlüssel 2. Naivität? Was öffnet er? (einfach)”


Thanks for the translation"!

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