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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 32, Issue 1/2, 2020

Bernard J. Verkamp
Pages 193-225

Karl Rahner and Religious Agnosticism

Back in the early 1960s, Karl Rahner acknowledged that ‘religious agnosticism’ (‘religiöse Agnostizismus’) did have “some truth” in it [meint etwas Richtiges] (Rahner and Vorgrimler, Kleines Theologisches Wörterbuch, 13; Theological Dictionary, 16). On the Hegelian assumption that a thing being defined involves as much what it is not, as what it is, this paper will explore in what sense Rahner thought that religious agnosticism does contain an element of truth, by contrasting his interpretation of its component parts to that of the nineteenth century agnostic trio of Herbert Spencer, Thomas H. Huxley, and John Tyndall.

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