Drama in the Courtroom...
Costas Douzinas, professor of law at Birkbeck University in London, comments in his inaugural lecture, The Legality of the Image,
The Reformation and the ascendancy of print turned the legal ritual from total into restricted theatre, from trial by ordeal into trial by argument and persuasion. Law took a predominantly textual form, although its insistence on oral as against written procedure indicates its unceasing hostility towards anything that may detract from immediate communication or lead to semantic uncertainty.
Imagine a courtroom where instead of written legal code providing the foundation for sworn verbal testimony marshalled by attorneys seeking to persuade jurors, trials consisted of opposed theatrical productions designed to win the hearts of jurors.
We would call it a sham, nonsense, a travesty to truth.
Yet hasn't this happened in many Protestant churches over the last half century? Aren't sermons and services increasingly viewed as narrative, departing the realm of propositional truth for the subjective realm of story? Even theatre proper enters the church when we seek to win the lost not through the sharp knife of the Word but through the rusty sickle of sentimental drama.
We would be outraged, I think, at any such rejection of propositional truth in the courtroom. Is the Church less based on propositional truth than the average municipal court?