By Craig A. Evans
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Additional info for The Historical Jesus: Jesus' Mission, Death, and Resurrection, Vol. 3 (Critical Concepts in Religious Studies)
I have no doubt that some words do evoke special effects and that our main intention in using certain words or terms is to move others in a specific way. However, I would question whether pictorial or poetic uses of language function in this way alone. I would suggest that pictorial and poetic approaches to language can actually bring out a deeper and richer meaning than a bland definition in ordinary prose. This would apply especially in the case of poetic meaning, where it is questionable whether we can translate metaphorical and symbolic terms precisely, without remainder.
The two forms of language are distinct, but not radically separate. As our author expresses the point: Conceptual language tends toward univocity, toward clear and concise meanings for ambiguous multi-levelled imagistic language. In 20 Rights and Christian ethics this process something is lost and something is gained: richness and multivalency are sacrificed for precision and consistency, (p. 26) But, anxious to avoid the radical separation of the two forms, she hastens to add that: The relationship, however, is symbiotic.
We need moral and legal systems to ameliorate our human predicament as G. J. Warnock might say. 40 Rights have value and derive some of their meaning from the situation of conflict in which we find ourselves in social relationships. If we never had to face differences of interest, scarce resources, animosity, then the language of rights would simply have no application. From the point of view of Christian living and theology we might naturally say that the terminology of rights has Metaethics: meaning and justification 13 application precisely as a response to human sinfulness.