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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 23, Issue 2, 2011

Peter Joseph Fritz
Pages 317-332

“I Am, of Course, No Prophet”
Rahner’s Modest Eschatological Remark

This article argues that Karl Rahner’s theme of “eschatological ignorance” should be retrieved to facilitate and to fortify the enactment of Catholic theology’s prophetic commitments in a U.S. context. First, the article presents and defends Rahner’s famous distinction between eschatology and apocalyptic. Second, it characterizes Rahner’s distinction as representative of his conviction of a need for docta ignorantia futuri, which stems from his theology of God as Absolute Mystery, and which, though Rahner recommends it to twentieth-century Europeans, seems particularly well suited for theological application in the twenty-first-century United States. Third, it suggests how Rahner’s eschatological ignorance might make a prophetic impact on the American socio-religio-political climate.

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