XVII-2 - Au nom de la vérité (2012)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Pierre Gibert - Autobiography and truth: a literary illusion?

Memories, intimate diaries, confessions.... Is not each one of us best fit to truly be able to speak of himself or his own life? And France which makes of the autobiographic order, in all its forms, the most honoured of all literary orders, even created in Amberieux a genuine conservatory of autobiographical archives. Thus any Frenchman can hand his own production in. However, among the great masterpieces that make up the literature of a language, the autobiographical order is that which supplies the smallest quantity, in France as elsewhere. Threatened by triteness and insignificance, the boredom it generates most often confirms its literary mediocrity. Notwithstanding that, history and historians savour to the utmost this literature borrowed not as much from the dull authors but rather from the unconscious witnesses that, they sometimes may be. Is not the game lost beforehand? This is unless reasons other than oneself, other literary virtues, somewhere between humour and wrath, demand here an urgency which is ultimately justified.

Jean-Pierre Pierron - Bearing witness or the reality of the truth

In present times, when scientific proof and the strength of what is demonstrable are prevailing, it may be surprising to associate testimony to truth. Still, it is precisely because it lacks proof and that it calls less on knowledge than on confidence that testimony calls upon our attention. What proof brings to truth is born by testimony. It is less in the sphere of knowledge as is proof, than it is in that of acknowledgement. Testimony is a test of truth. In its witness, testimony brings about a fact so that it testifies in it a truth that goes beyond its existence. Thus, today's valorisation of testimony - from genocide survivors to evidence from the sick - stands out revealing a mode of truth, declining dogmatism and relativism belonging to our time. Testimony would be the reality of truth in its witness that is the position upheld in this article. In other words, it would be a privileged but fragile mediation to present truth without being able to demonstrate it. It is a way not to forego the universal that is present in the idea of truth, without for all that, giving in on the historic singularity of existence and situations.

François Durand - Bearing witness to the truth

Understood in its theological meaning, truth is of a relational and factual order. It goes beyond the adequacy of a language to a targeted reality. It may not be reduced to the form of an external knowledge, easy to systemise in a logical sequence of concepts. Those who seek it must wholly commit themselves in the quest. They reach this purpose by assuming the condition of witnesses. Testimony does not pretend to capture truth, but to be in a place where it durably bears testimony in history, in a place where the unutterable is expressed. It is proffered in a fragile account to which divine reality joins the field of experience and offers itself to be met. In Christian theology, the loved and hoped for raw truth is a living personality, i.e. Jesus Christ. In his book Dogmatic Karl Barth states that Christ is the only true Witness of the Revelation. Indeed Christ is living in his Church and is keeping on talking and acting through his witnesses. Christian testimony is steeped in faith and humility. Borne by the Spirit of truth, it offers to the Word of God the possibility of coming to the world and being received there. His truth into which the witnesses are personally involved is valid in a universal way.

Pierre Gire - Testimony and truth. Epistemological perspective

Testimony and truth in their rendering refer to different levels of reality and intelligibility. These levels may not be mingled unless their manifestation should be corrupted. The implication of human presence in mediating the affirmation of truth demands a clarification of testimony types that summon the dynamism of human life in a specific way. This results in the fact that the intertwining of testimony and truth appears as a relation which is biased by an infinite complexity. This shows that truth in its demand for expression may not be separated from testimony in its historical contingency.