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A World of Grace

An Introduction to the Themes and Foundations of Karl Rahner's Theology

Leo O'Donovan, SJ, Editor

Publication Year: 1995

Organized as a companion volume to Karl Rahner's master work, Foundations of Christian Faith, this book, now again available, also provides the most useful introduction to his theology as a whole. Each chapter presents a broad commentary on the corresponding chapter of Foundations, beginning with Rahner's method and anthropology and concluding with his theology of the church and eschatology. It includes a separate chapter on Rahner's moral thought. Valuable for classroom or individual use, this volume provides questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading, and an extensive glossary of specialized terminology.

Published by: Georgetown University Press


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pp. 1-5


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pp. v-vi

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Preface: With a Note on Using This Book

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pp. vii-xiv

We live in a world that is growing at the same time ever closer and yet further apart. On the one hand there are astonishing new technologies for communication and travel, for industry and leisure. We can dial a business call direct to another continent. On American television we can see a baby being born tomorrow in Japan. ...

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1. Theology in a New Key

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pp. 1-16

To appreciate Karl Rahner's theological method we must understand where in human experience he finds a starting point for theology. This leads us to an overview of how he sees the situation of the human person before God. It also addresses the relation between the reflection on human experience found in philosophical thought ...

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2. Starting with the Human

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pp. 17-30

Discussion of Rahner's thought should begin at his own starting point: human experience as a whole. This look at Rahner's anthropology, his understanding of the human, analyzes five basic dimensions of our experience: subjectivity or personhood, the horizon of knowledge, freedom and responsibility, salvation in history, and dependence. ...

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3. Within the Holy Mystery

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pp. 31-49

The constant questioning in human experience leads us to talk of God—-for God is the context of all reality and experience. The language we use to talk about God, and the knowledge we claim to have, are the subject of this essay. ...

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4. The Bonds of Freedom

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pp. 50-63

The search for meaning is carried on in freedom—the scope and goal of this freedom are characterized here as nothing less than the totality of our lives in union with God. In the process of trying to arrive at this goal, we are confronted with a fundamental option: a "yes" in openness to our shared humanity or a denial of ourselves. ...

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5. The Invitation of Grace

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pp. 64-75

Rahner's vision of the relationship between God and the world is centered in his theology of grace. He sees grace primarily as the offer of God's own life to humanity, an offer which promises fulfillment to what is most fundamental in our experience. This conception is developed in ways that are important for our understanding of God as Trinity ...

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6. A History of Grace

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pp. 76-91

Now we turn to consider how the self-gift of God is revealed in history. Grace and salvation are seen to be operative throughout—from the dawn of human time, through a multitude of religious movements, towards a climax in Christ. Revelation is the realization of how God's grace acts in history, ...

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7. Discovering Jesus Christ: A History We Share

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pp. 92-106

In the first of two essays on Christology, the distinction between historical and essential (or transcendental) Christology is explained, and the first of these is discussed. Starting with living faith, we follow the path of the first disciples and learn to confess Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ of God. ...

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8. Anticipating Jesus Christ: An Account of Our Hope

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pp. 107-119

"Essential" or transcendental Christology relates our historical faith in Jesus to the transcendence ingredient in our concrete human experience. In Jesus, God has united human experience and God's self-giving love, for in Jesus the two are made one. ...

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9. On Being Christian—Together

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pp. 120-137

This essay discusses the Church as the collected gathering of all those blessed with faith to see God acting in Jesus Christ. Seven specific questions about Church are addressed, among them the founding of the Church, the diversity of church organizations and traditions, belonging to a particular church, and scripture and church teaching. ...

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10. The Realism of Christian Life

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pp. 138-152

Rahner's reflection on the daily life of Christians is distinguished both by his humanism and by a sober realism. He sees the Christian sacraments as distinctive help for that life, the way grace is embodied and shares our history at key moments. The traditional Catholic sacraments are here interpreted in this context. ...

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11. The Hope for Humanity

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pp. 153-168

Traditional teaching on the "four last things'' —death, judgment, heaven, hell—has been significantly reshaped by Rahner's emphasis on the instinct for fulfillment in all human experience. This essay presents his interpretative principles, showing how they relate to his thought on Christ and humanity ...

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12. An Ethics of Faith

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pp. 169-184

Our fundamental option of response to God's self-gift is expressed in concrete historical acts. Whether those acts can be considered good or bad relates to how they fulfill the basic moral ideal: love of God and love of neighbor. This essay suggests how traditional Catholic natural-law thinking may be revised and renewed by Rahner's theology; ...

Basic Bibliography

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pp. 185-186


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pp. 187-198

E-ISBN-13: 9781589012288
E-ISBN-10: 1589012283

Page Count: 214
Publication Year: 1995