- Theological Investigations. Volume XIX. Faith and Ministry by Karl Rahner, and: The Practice of Faith. A Handbook of Contemporary Spirituality by Karl Rahner (review)
- The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 48, Number 4, October 1984
- pp. 662-663
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS Theological Investigations. Volume XIX. Faith and Ministry. By KARL RAHNER. Trans. Edward Quinn. New York: Crossroad, 1983. Pp. 304. $19.50. The Practice of Faith. A Handbook of Contemporary Spirituality. By KARL RAHNER. Edited by KARL LEHMAN and ALBERT RAFFELT. Trans. Robert Barr et al. New York: Crossroad, 1983. Pp. 316 + xv. $19.50. The nineteenth volume of Theological Investigations (T.I.) completes the English translation of volumes thirteen and fourteen of Rahner's Schriften zur Theologie (S.z.T.). S.z.T. XIV was to have been the final volume of Rahner's writings (S.z.T. XIV, p. 7), but the publication of a fifteenth and a sixteenth volume will keep English translators busy for some time. Edward Quinn has produced' a fine translation, despite wellknown difficulties with Rahner's technical and ordinary language. Rahner's recent death will surely give rise to a number of competing, posthumous readings of his theology-based largely, I suggest, on which of the several kinds of Rahner's occasional articles are given hermeneutical priority. To cite some topics from T.I. XIX, is the "real" Rahner the Rahner of "foundations of Christian faith" (3f), eternity and time (169f), the problem of evil (194f), the historical Jesus (24f), theology and the natural sciences (16f), and similar efforts in philosophical theology? Or is the real Rahner concerned more centrally with the broad outlines of essential Christian teachings, even when they have to do with the technicalities of the status naturae lapsae (39f), angels (235f), Mary's virginity (218f), the Sunday precept (151f), and purgatory (181f) ? Or is the real Rahner concerned with those practical issues primarily neither philosophical nor doctrinal but "pastoral "-concerned with the spiritual condition of our basic communities (159f), our worship (141f), our pastoral ministries and work (73ff), our priests (103f; 117f), our women (211f)? All of these, surely. But which Rahner norms the others? Or, if there seems to be no need to ask this question, will Rahner have bequeathed a textual corpus equally subject to a number of readings? Given this problem, Lehmann's and Raffelt's collection of sixty-five published and unpublished pieces from Rahner's sundry writings provides the best single place for anyone, whether rudus or peritus, to gain access to the " spirit" of this man. Organized around the themes of faith and hope and love, this anthology offers a superb icon of Rahner's characteristic weave of appeals to deep-seated affections, Church teaching, and meta66 ~ BOOK REVIEWS 663 physical vision. As the editors note (p. xiv), it is not always easy to see why one selection was included under faith and another under hope or love. But the focus on these virtues yields a new angle on Rahner, even for those already familiar with most of the articles individually. The " spirituality" of the subtitle is experience of and reflection on our (Rahner supposes) self-transcendence into holy mystery-a self-transcendence which yields diverse and conflicting spiritualities (pp. 19-20; cp. T.I. XIX, p. 103). Rahner's resolution of this diversity and conflict is evocative description of the "circle," the "synthesis" (pp. 7, 87, 141, 136) of our self-transcendence in spirit and matter and God's self-impartation in Word and Spirit. Is there really a "circle" here-or does Rahner have a "starting point" (e.g., "transcendental experience") ~ If it really is a "circle" does Rahner end up eompromising self-transcendence or self-impartation-or is the circle a sui generis synthesis, foreshadowing a new Catholic spirituality~ I suspect something like these questions will divide us for some time to come. Lehmann and Raffelt have done an excellent job of seeing to it that the debate includes not simply esotericists but all "those concerned with the practical molding of their faith, and who wish to make use of reflection and meditation in order to do so" (p. xiv). Loyola College in Maryland Baltimore, Maryland JAMES J. BUCKLEY The Glory of the Lord: .A Theological .Aesthetics, I: Seeing the Form. By HANS URS VON BALTHASAR. Translated by Erasmo LeivaMerikakis . Edited by JOSEPH FEssro, S.J. and JOHN RICHES. San Francisco, Ignatius Press and New York, Crossroad Publications , 1983...