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Christian faith & human understanding

studies on the Eucharist, Trinity, and the human person

Robert Sokolowski

Publication Year: 2012

In this collection of essays, renowned philosopher Robert Sokolowski illustrates how Christian faith is not an alternative to reason, but rather an enhancement of it.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Provenance of the Essays

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pp. xi-xvi

“The Autonomy of Philosophy in Fides et Ratio” appeared in Restoring Faith in Reason, edited by Laurence Paul Hemming and Susan Parsons (London: SCM Press, and Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 2002), pp. 277–91. “Philosophy and the Christian Act of Faith...

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pp. 1-6

We are distinguished as human beings by our ability to think. Our reason is the specific difference that makes us human and thus differentiates us from the other animals. Furthermore, distinctions in the quality of a person’s reason make him stand out among...

I . Faith and Reason

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1. The Autonomy of Philosophy in Fides et Ratio

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pp. 9-24

Reason in its widest scope can be considered to be the insertion of syntax or categoriality into human experience.2 To move from simple experience into rational experience is to introduce—and to become explicitly...

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2. Philosophy and the Christian Act of Faith

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pp. 25-37

How is Christian faith related to philosophy? What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens? Does our engagement in the one compromise our pursuit of the other? The first thing to be determined is the difference between...

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3. Creation and Christian Understanding

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pp. 38-50

Creation can be understood in a narrow and in a wide sense. In the narrow sense, Creation is the divine activity in which the world—everything that is not divine—is made to exist. In this narrow sense, Creation refers only to the beginning of the relationship...

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4. Christian Religious Discourse

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pp. 51-66

Christian religious discourse is not the same as religious discourse in general. It would not be accurate, however, to say that the latter is simply a genus for the former. Nor is religion simply a genus for Christianity as a species. The way Christian religion and its discourse differ from religion...

II . The Eucharist and the Holy Trinity

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5. Phenomenology and the Eucharist

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pp. 69-85

The Eucharist calls for two kinds of response from us. It calls for the piety of prayer and the piety of thinking, of theological reflection. It is obvious why the Eucharist makes these demands. In our Christian faith, the Eucharist reenacts the central action that God performed...

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6. Praying the Canon of the Mass

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pp. 86-94

The priest celebrating Mass should try to fit his thoughts and sentiments to the words that he says. His internal dispositions should match the external expressions of the liturgy. In addition to the words, however, the structure of the Eucharist also provides a pattern...

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7. The Eucharist and Transubstantiation

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pp. 95-112

Christian theology is reflection on the faith of the Church. The Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, receives and teaches her faith and when necessary defines it. Theology reflects on this faith, in a manner analogous to the way in which philosophy reflects...

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8. The Identity of the Bishop: A Study in the Theology of Disclosure

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pp. 113-130

I would like to define the theology of disclosure as a form of theological thinking that makes use of phenomenology. Why should theology make use of this philosophical form? Not just in order to connect theology with a recent and contemporary...

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9. The Revelation of the Holy Trinity: A Study in Personal Pronouns

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pp. 131-148

In this essay, I wish to use the theology of disclosure to reflect on the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The theology of disclosure is a form of theological thinking that makes use of phenomenology. It may seem strange to invoke phenomenology to speak about the Trinity...

III . The Human Person

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10. Soul and the Transcendence of the Human Person

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pp. 151-164

What do we mean when we say that human beings have a spiritual dimension? We mean that in some of our activities we go beyond or transcend material conditions. We go beyond the restrictions of space and time and the kind of causality that is proper...

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11. Language, the Human Person, and Christian Faith

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pp. 165-178

The word personfunctions in an unusual and interesting way. It is not what philosophers call a “sortal” noun. It does not mark off a species or a genus in the way that terms like tree or animal or house or even...

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12. The Human Person and Political Life

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pp. 179-198

I wish to discuss the relationship between the human person and political life, with some reference to the way this relationship has been understood by Catholic thinkers. My remarks will be a venture into political philosophy, but it would be appropriate...

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13. The Christian Difference in Personal Relationships

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pp. 199-213

We wish to discuss the difference that Christian faith makes in the relationships that occur among persons. In order to develop this issue, we first should explore the understanding we have of persons. There are, of course, persons in God—the three persons...

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14. What Is Natural Law?: Human Purposes and Natural Ends

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pp. 214-234

Ethics in general, and medical ethics in particular, are obviously related to human self-understanding, to what we could call philosophical and theological anthropology. Our understanding of what is ethical and unethical is connected to what we take ourselves to be...

IV. Faith and Practical Reasoning

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15. The Art and Science of Medicine

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pp. 237-249

Just as a mathematician is most fully himself when he is calculating, so a physician is most fully himself, as physician, when he is engaged in medical activity. Medical activity is the actuality of medicine, and both the art and the science are to be defined...

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16. The Fiduciary Relationship and the Nature of Professions

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pp. 250-267

It has not proved easy to determine what a profession is. There is no problem about the existence and definition of skills and arts: clearly, some people know how to repair refrigerators, treat sick animals, cut hair, and the like. They have cultivated these skills...

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17. Religion and Psychoanalysis: Some Phenomenological Contributions

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pp. 268-285

How is the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion to be examined? It might seem that the best approach would be to study what each of them has to say about the human condition. We might compare religion and psychoanalysis as two theories...

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18. Church Tradition and the Catholic University

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pp. 286-298

There are a number of things that are obviously required for a Catholic university to remain and to flourish as a Catholic institution. It must have a suffcient number of faculty and students who share the Catholic faith and an even greater number who are dedicated...

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19. Philosophy in the Seminary Curriculum

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pp. 299-310

The determination of a seminary curriculum is not primarily the work of the faculty, but of the institution that sponsors the seminary. To use modern secular categories, a seminary provides a professional formation...


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pp. 311-320

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216584
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214443

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Faith and reason.
  • Catholic Church -- Doctrines.
  • Lord's Supper -- Catholic Church.
  • Trinity.
  • Theological anthropology -- Christianity.
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