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41. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
David Coffey Rahner’s Theology of Fundamental Option
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This article shows that in Rahner’s theology fundamental option is related to the exercise of the moral virtues via the act of love of neighbor. Further, it explores whether a specific act of love of neighbor is possible, and finds that in an important sense it is. Finally, it examines the question of change of fundamental option,and shows how this investigation holds promise for the theory of moral development and a renewal of the practice of penance in the Church.
42. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Jean Porter A Response to Brian Linnane and David Coffey
43. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Mark D. Gedney Reasonable Faith and Faithful Reason: The Central Role of Freedom in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion
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In this paper I have attempted to develop Hegel’s philosophy of religion in light of his critical appropriation of both Kant and Schleiermacher. My purposes for doing so are two-fold. On the one hand, I think that many of the difficulties in interpreting Hegel’s philosophy of religion stem from a failure to see his position as a response to both of these key figures. On the other hand, I wished to give emphasis to the fact that Hegel’s philosophy of religion can only be understood as a continution of Kant’s and Schleiermacher’s attempts to reinterpret religion in the light of the strong notion of subjective freedom arising out of the Enlightenment. In short, my position is that Hegel’s conception of religion presents a clearer and more coherent account of God’s aseity or transcendence and of his relation to the world in general and humanity within the limits imposed by the Enlightenment understanding of human subjectivity and freedom.
44. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Avery Dulles The Cognitive Basis of Faith
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This article indicates the light that an epistemology like Newman’s, with its stress on the convergence of probabilities, the experience of conscience, and the presence of grace, can shed on the problem of faith and reason. The longstanding controversy over this problem between evidentialists and fideists has found new echoes in recent disputes between foundationalists and nonfoundationalists. It is necessary to distinguish between different aspects of the approach to faith—-the metaphysical, the historical, the religious, and the theological—-each with its own logic and distinct style of epistemology. Examination of these aspects indicates that neither evidentialism nor fideism, neither foundationalism nor nonfoundationalism, does justice to the complexity of the matter. Faith arises out of a process in which human reason, in a large and comprehensive sense, is involved at every step of the way. Faith is not above or beyond reason, even though it depends for its origin and existence upon the grace of God.
45. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Philip J. Rossi Editor’s Page
46. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Thomas Krettek The Moral Argument For The Non-Existence Of God
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I highlight a dimension of the debate about the problem of evil and the existence of God that has loomed on the periphery and consider how, if at all, a specific consideration of that dimension can move the debate forward. My contention is that there is specific version of moral argument for the non-existence of God that is implicit in the problem of evil. This argument is a strategic but suppressed premise that strengthens or undermines the persuasiveness of arguments for or against the existence of God. This argument needs to be thematized if the debate between theism and atheism is to move forward.
47. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Giovanni B. Sala Bernard Lonergan’s Method in Theology: A Theologian Questions His Own Understanding
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Fr. Sala attempts in this article to provide readers and students of Lonergan with a clear, precise, and condensed presentation of his conception of method in theology in today’s context. He does this by sketching the most important stages in the evolution of Lonergan’s thought. The core of this presentation is the analysis of the “human subject in its subjectivity.” Lonergan deals primarily not with the content of theological science but with the operations theologians perform in constructing theology. He endeavors to clarify this subjectivity in all its dimensions. Having given us an analysis of Lonergan’s Verbum articles, Sala goes on to present Lonergan’s Insight under three headings: knowledge, objectivity, and reality. This done, he proceeds to summarize Method in Theology under these headings: the religious dimension of the subject, the structure of theological method, the specific theological principle of a method in theology, and the authentic subject as the foundation for theological reflection.The article is a masterly presentation of a vast area of research and a good introduction to Lonergan’s works.This article appeared in Theologie und Philosophie 63 (1988) 34-59 and was titled: “B. Lonergans Methode der Theologie: Ein Theologe hinterfugt seinen eigenen Verstand.” Von Giovanni B. Sala, S.J.
48. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Ingeborg Berlin Vogelstein Reformation Pamphlets: Expressions of a Society in Search of New Moorings
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By way of introduction, this paper points out inherent problems in attempting a comprehensive social history of the Reformation, due to the complex dynamics at work in sixteenth century European society.Contemporary pamphlet literature, a resource as yet not intensively explored, reflects in a unique manner the rich variety of the Reformation experience in all walks of life, from both sides of the schism. By examining a representative sampling of such tracts, the essay strives to establish some immediacy to that experience. The nearly 300 pamphlets held by the Ambrose Swasey Library at the Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, served as source material to help straddle the 500 year gap. The abbreviation ASL is used to identify pamphlets in the text.
49. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
J. P. Moreland Naturalism and Libertarian Agency
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While most philosophers agree that libertarian agency and naturalism are incompatible, few attempts have been offered to spell out in some detail just why this is the case. My purpose in this article is to fill this gap in the literature by expanding on and clarifying the connection between naturalism as it is widely understood today and the rejection of libertarian agency. To accomplish this end I begin by clarifying different forms of libertarian agency and identity the key philosophical components that constitute libertarian agency per se. Second, three different aspects of contemporary scientific naturalism are analyzed and the relations among them clarified: the naturalist epistemic attitude, etiology, and ontology. This is followed by a presentation of six arguments for the claim that libertarian agency should be rejected by advocates of scientific naturalism. Finally, I criticize a recent attempt by Randolf Clarke to reconcile libertarian agency and scientific naturalism.
50. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Michael Purcell Grace and the Experience of the Impossible: Blanchot’s “Impossible Relation” as a Prolegomenon to a Theology of Grace
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Karl Rahner distinguishes “the experience of grace” and “the experience of grace as grace.” How is the experience of grace to be understood? How is grace experienced? This article attempts to understand the experience of grace in terms of Maurice Blanchot’s thought of the impossible. “Human life is impossible,” as Simone Weil reflects. Blanchot, particularly through a reflection which echoes that of Levinas, seeks to reverse the relationship between possibility and impossibility. Whereas, for Heidegger, the subject is to be understood in terms of possibility, Blanchot stresses the impossibility of human life which is only rendered possible through an initiative which is prior to the subject. The impossible relation with the other is the context for any possibility the self may have. With regard to grace, we argue its prior necessity, and its experience as impossible. Like suffering and death, the experience of grace is not the possibility of impossibility, but the impossibility of possibility. Maurice Blanchot himself remains relatively unfamiliar, he and his thoughts remaining in themselves inaccessible. Michel Foucault quite simply writes, “so far has he withdrawn into the manifestation of his work, so completely is he, not hidden by his texts, but absent from their existence, that for us he is that thought itself—its real, absolutely distant, shimmering, invisible presence, its inevitable law, its calm, infinite measured strength” (Foucault: Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from the Outside, 19). To a world espoused to philosophies of light and systems of integration, Blanchot’s thought presents itself as a “thought from outside” of any philosophy and any system, and refuses, as Levinas, says, to “see in philosophy the ultimate possibility.”
51. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Lieven Boeve Critical Consciousness in the Postmodern Condition: New Opportunities for Theology?
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In an attempt to clarify our present-day postmodern context and to ascertain the critical consciousness of our time, I study a number of main lines of thought in the work of the postmodernist thinkers Wolfgang Welsch, Jean-François Lyotard and Richard Rorty. Afterwards, I elaborate on the position of Jürgen Habermas in the postmodern debate. In the second section I present a schematic overview of this postmodern panorama, pointing out the main similarities and differences of the theorists under consideration. A critical discussion of and with these authors, in the third section, yields the model of the “open narrative” as a possible form of contemporary critical consciousness. This model will help me to recontextualize the Christian narrative in our postmodern context. In the conclusion I shed some light upon this recontextualization.
52. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul S. MacDonald Philosophical Conversion
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Although the concept of conversion is usually encountered in religious contexts, the main contention of this paper is that there is a genuine significance in the concept of philosophical conversion. The scene is set by considering the New Testament meaning of epistrepho, “to turn away from,” and the Platonic use of the term in the Republic. The underlying concept here is that one must lose the old world in order to gain it anew. Through the process of conversion, both the person and his world are transformed: but where the religious believer accepts the experience as beyond his ability to account for its power, the philosopher must always be able to account for the grounds and results of this transformation. There are some historical instances of philosophers who have gone through such a process and demand it of their readers. The two principal case studies of this are Descartes’ enterprise for a universal science and Husserl’s project in the foundation of pure phenomenology. Detailed attention is paid to a number of key texts in order to elucidate the rhetorical imagery and argumentative ‘moments’ in this process.
53. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Marie Baird Death Camp Survival and the Possibility of Hope: A Dialogue with Karl Rahner
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This paper will argue that many survivors’ ability to take up their existence hopefully is rooted in the deeply visceral and unintegrable memory of “living the existence of a walking corpse” (Niederland 1968b, 12) that constitutes the ontic basis for their most fundamental presence to self, others, and God. I will show, secondly, that Karl Rahner’s theological formulation of witness as “an act of self transcendence in which the subject reaches up to the unsurpassable and sovereign Mystery which we call God” (TI 13, 155-6) does indeed provide the basis for some survivors’ hopeful decision about and disposal of the self in relation to God to the extent that hope inscribed in the memory of “living the existence of a walking corpse” does become expressed as the “one, unifying ‘outwards from the self’ attitude into God as the absolutely uncontrollable” (TI 10, 250) by sustaining the commitment to witness. However I will also argue, finally, that the unintegrable nature of such memory prevents survivor hope-as-witness to be completely reconciled with the theological sense of witness that Rahner proposes because his vision of witness has not taken adequately into account this unintegrable memory and its long-term effects.
54. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Andrew J. Dell’Olio God, the Self, and the Ethics of Virtue
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One motivation for the recent interest in virtue ethics in contemporary moral thought is the view that deontological or duty-based ethics requires the notion of God as absolute law giver. It has been claimed by Elizabeth Anscombe, for example, that there could be no coherent moral obligation, no moral ought, independent of divine command, and that, in the absence of belief in God, moral philosophy best pursue an ethic of character or virtue over an ethic of obligation or duty. The underlying assumption here is that an ethics of virtue, unlike an ethics of duty, is best developed independently of a conception of God. In this paper I argue that this view is misleading and obscures the need of virtue ethics for the concept of God. In making my philosophical point, I look to the work of Charles Taylor and suggest that any contemporary ethics of virtue, in order to meet its own desired aim of retrieving a viable moral self, requires a “deep” conception of the good, and that the most viable source for this conception is the theistic notion of God. On this account, the ethics of virtue turns out to be no more independent of the concept of God than an ethics of duty or obligation.
55. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Philip J. Rossi Fides et Ratio: An Opportunity
56. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Leo J. O’Donovan Two Sons of Ignatius: Drama and Dialectic
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Reflection on the encounter with theologians as significant as Rahner and Balthasar can lead to a new appreciation for their personal and ecclesial influences. Each saw his work not as a final system but as a limited and relative contribution to the Church’s theology. While Rahner took a concretely dialectical approach to transcendence in history, Balthasar’s cultural theology has a dramatic center of gravity, most obviously in his great final trilogy. For all the difference between their respective horizons, however, both theologians remained fundamentally rooted in the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola.
57. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Thomas F. O’Meara Teaching Karl Rahner
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This essay, beginning with pastoral and theological reasons why Karl Rahner is still important fifteen years after his death, discusses how his theology figures explicitly in a graduate course, and implicitly in an undergraduate course. Special attention is paid to the transcendental, categorical and historical modalities of grace and revelation.
58. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Philip J. Rossi Editor’s Page
59. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Peter Casarella Analogia Donationis: Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Eucharist
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The essay surveys the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar on the theology of the Eucharist and the eucharistic theme in theology. After an initial presentation of the distinct contribution of a theological aesthetics to the theology of the Eucharist, these issues are addressed from the vantage point of von Balthasar’s thought: 1.) Discerning the reality of Christ’s activity in the Eucharistic form of the Church, 2.) the meaning of the eucharistic sacrifice, 3.) Marian assent in the eucharist, 4.) a trinitarian spirituality of the Eucharist, 5.) the event of the Eucharist as de-privatizing prayer. By way of conclusion, a comparison is drawn to the life and thought of Dorothy Day.
60. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Vance G. Morgan Cognitive Science, Naturalism, and Divine Prototypes
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A new vision of the human being is emerging from the cognitive sciences. A number of philosophers have recently argued that traditional, rule-oriented models of the moral life are unsuitable for this vision. They prefer an ethical naturalism that, among other things, eliminates from moral theory any element of transcendence or reference to the divine. In this paper, I argue that any model of the human being is incomplete unless it includes reference to the spiritual aspects of human nature, then sketch an outline of one possible new image of God implied by cognitive science research.