A postscript

In my previous post on determining the method for finding essentials, I discussed two steps in the process I think we need to follow to carry out my proposal: we first read for explicit statements that state what I defined as essentials, and then deduce what is implicit in such statements.

One step I overlooked is something not quite covered in either of the above: non-explicit statements of essentials in the words of the apostles. In other words, we also need to take into account the non-explicit communicative intent of the apostles when doing our survey. It is possible, for example, that the structure of a Gospel might communicate something about the essentials of the faith in a manner that is not stated explicitly. I actually don’t have any such example in mind at the moment, but I am just pointing out that it is possible the apostles could communicate this way.

This is obviously an area where things will quickly get complicated and contested, as the more subtle communication becomes the more difficult it is to be sure one is not reading into the communication something is not there. But nevertheless, we should ultimately take such things into account.