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BOOK REVIEWS The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith. By AVERY DULLES, S.J. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Pp. xii + 299. $35.00 (cloth). The world of Roman Catholic theology has benefited enormously from the impressive and always impeccable scholarship ofJesuit Father Avery Dulles. His most recent effort offers a comprehensive account of the theological virtue of faith. Thirteen of the chapters discuss the main elements of biblical (chap. 1), historical (chaps. 2-7), and systematic (chaps 8-13) understandings offaith. The final chapter supplies a concise synthesis ofthe hook's contents. Anyone unfamiliar with the complex issues that fuel theological debates about faith, its act, and its object might find it helpful to read this chapter first. Since the thirty-six theses that make up chapter fourteen summarize the hook's systematic structure in an illuminating way, the reader will know beforehand the main themes that are treated in the hook, and so will profit more from the wealth of erudite research that Father Dulles has garnered into this little classic. In short, this volume represents Jesuit pedagogy at its best. Father Dulles remains eminent both for his learning and for his clarity of express10n. At the 1995 convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America, many scholars, after hearing Father Dulles speak on the nature of Catholic theology, agreed that he ranks among the great Jesuit theologians of the period , whose contributions to the theology of faith, moreover, Dulles carefully explains in the present volume. More than a few members of the Society of Jesus-Nostri, as they call themselves-figure prominently in Dulles's account of the theology of faith. This review will focus on the hook's historical overview of the development of the theology of faith in which Jesuit theologians played a crucial role in the post-Reformation era. Let me cite some of the major figures: Luis Molina (1536-1600), who advanced innovative views about "acquired faith," for example, that it is essentially the same as supernatural faith; Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), who, besides producing the first treatise on faith not in the form of a commentary on Lombard or Aquinas, taught that "the immediate object of faith ... is not the infinitely simple divine essence hut created truths, such as those contained in the creed and others defined by popes and councils" (p. 56); Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), who, as a curial cardinal, vigorously defended the truths of the Catholic religion in the turbulent post-Tridentine period; and Juan de Lugo (1583-1660), who held that "faith rests on a kind of rational discourse" (p. 57, emphasis mine) wherein God makes his authority present 645 646 BOOK REVIEWS and known. The view that human reason grounds Christian belief affected the way in which later theologians developed their rational apologetics, a story that Father Dulles has chronicled in one of his earlier books, A History ofApologetU:s (1971). It moves from personal to propositional theology. De Lugo's concern "to ground the act of faith in speculatively certain knowledge that would infallibly guarantee the truth of the assent" (pp. 5758 ), it should be noted, was taken up by other seventeenth-century Jesuits, such as Juan Martinez de Ripalda (1594-1648), who elaborated on the theme of naturally knowable truths in order to provide a plausible explanation as to how God saves unevangelized pagans. He argued that such persons are saved through faith in a broad sense (fides late dU:ta), even though they do not accept any revealed truth on the authority of God as witness. Not much creative theology occurred in the eighteenth century. But de Lugo's emphases re-appear in the writings of nineteenth-century Jesuits, such as Johann Baptist Franzelin (1816-1886) and Joseph Kleutgen (1811-1883), both of whom were professors at the Roman College, now known as the Gregorian University. This is the same Joseph Kleutgen whom Alasdair Macintyre considers "the single most important influence upon the drafting of Aetemi Patris" (Three Rival ~rsions of Moral Enquiry, p. 73). As Dulles dryly observes, "The Jesuit theologians of the Roman College made an important contribution to the theology of faith in the nineteenth century...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 645-648
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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