In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 741 pointedly, what he is asking for is " the ' planned dissolution ' of the Latin Church into a considerable number of distinct, autonomous ' patriarchates ' " (p. 132) . These suggestions, although not original, are intriguing. They deserve, however, more than three pages. What is needed is a detailed presentation of these changes, indicating their historical context, their advantages and disadvantages, and their practical implementation. Despite the criticisms given above, there is much good material to be found in this crisply written book. I agree in general with Hill's judgment that Church authority should embody a collegial rather than a monarchical ecclesiology. He shows that the MC ecclesiology has a solid foundation in scripture and tradition and its cornerstone is the theology of the local Church. Furthermore, he is correct in insisting that the doctrines of collegiality and the priesthood of the faithful are urgent questions in contemporary ecclesiology and that they have broad ecumenical ramifications. He speaks convincingly of greater lay participation, local autonomy, consultation, and accountability. At the same time, his partisanship leads him to caricature the MP view. He will not persuade many MP supporters by criticizing their "highhanded authoritarianism and paternalism " (p. 53) and " ecclesiastical dishonesty " (p. 127) or by claiming that the Roman Curia " is neuro· tically obsessed with the matter of papal authority" (p. 114). Hill makes many valid and important points, but, on occasion, he weakens them by exaggeration. At times his partisan style overcomes his theo· logical substance. The Catholic University of America Washington, D.C. pATRICK GRANFIELD Many Paths: A Catholic Approach to Religious Pluralism. By EUGENE HILLMAN. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1989. Pp. 95. A Christian theology of religions raises fundamental epistemological and methodological questions. Hillman comes to the debate from what Lindbeck has called an " experiential expressivist " background, that is, there is a tacit assumption that reality is experienced and then expressed , that reality precedes language rather than being disclosed and shaped through language. When such an outlook is applied to the theology of religions, the outcome is often the " discovery " of a common experience underlying all religions, despite their different expressions . The latter can be seen to vary according to climate, history, temperament, and so on. Such expressions are loose symbols for a 742 BOOK REVIEWS greater reality, which takes on an increasingly vague shape with the demise of the signifier. History can offer very little resistance to such a model, and the conflicts, differences, intractabilities, and real problems of religious plurality are slowly silenced, almost numbed into a drowsy calm. That history refuses to play this role, while theologies of religion are often demanding it, is indicative of the difficulties with such a model. Hillman's first book on this topic (The Wider Ecumenism, 1968) showed him to be a follower of Rahner. He stressed the universality of grace and its mediation through the historical and particular; he thereby argued for a wider ecumenism with regard to the world religions , in a model analogous to intra-Christian ecumenism. In this book, Hillman advances the same position, but now infused with a strong dose of Wilfred Cantwell Smith. He does not confront the theological criticisms made against either of his mentors. The book is divided into four lucid chapters. The first considers the meaning and role of religion, and much of Hillman's discussion is helpful. However, as the chapter proceeds, one finds that the definition of religion is not controlled by the particularities and intractable dif. ferences presented by the subject matter but rather by an experiential essentialism. Hillman uses Smith's distinction between "faith" and " belief " to two ends, one descriptive, the other evaluative. However he, like Cantwell Smith, conflates description with evaluation. Furthermore , he is untroubled that the subject matter under inspection does not easily yield to such distinctions. Descriptively, " belief " or the " cumulative tradition " involves the " myriad historico-cultural par· ticularizations " that go to make up a religion such as liturgies, doc· trines, ethical systems, practices, histories, and so on {20). Faith is basically an experience of " the tr,anscendent, which is presumably the same for every person," and can be distinguished from the "cumulative tradition, which is different for each people, nation or...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 741-744
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.