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LouthAs Gadamer puts it, “The truth of experience always contains an orientation towards new experiences.  The perfection of this experience, the perfect form of what we call ‘experienced,’ does not consist in the fact that someone already knows everything and knows better than anyone else.

“Rather the experienced person proves to be, on the contrary, someone who is radically undogmatic; who, because of the many Gadamerexperiences he has had and the knowledge he has drawn from them is particularly equipped to have new experiences and to learn from them.

“The dialectic of experience has its own fulfillment not in definitive knowledge, but in that openness to experience which is encouraged by experience itself.”

This growth in experience is not primarily an increase in knowledge of this or that situation, but rather an escape from what had deceived us and held us captive.

It is learning by suffering, suffering the process of undeception, which is usually painful.

Andrew Louth, Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology,  p. 37 (quoting Hans-Georg Gadamer,  Truth and Method, p. 319)

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.