2019 Symposium Paper Abstract 2: Ephraim Radner - "There Is No Desire Out of the Desires of Scripture"

THE PURPOSE of this talk is to provide an alternative to the general modern claim – shared by many Christians – that human beings are bundles of desires, some good, some bad, some to be refashioned, and that our identity as human beings is defined by these desires (good or bad, godly or sinful). In place of this desire-inflating claim, I want to suggest that our identity as human beings is given in our conformance to the stories of Scripture, and thus that our desires are not things in themselves, but aspects of these stories. There are, for instance, a variety of stories about sexual desire; it is in these scriptural stories, not in the desires described, that reality lies. Faithfulness, then, is not about ordering our desires – they do not exist as things on their own – but about embodying the figures of Scripture, something that is accomplished, in the Spirit, in the context of the Church’s common life and relations.

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