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CHRISTOLOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF EXPERIENCE: ON THE INTERPRETATION OF CHRIST BY E. SCHILLEBEECKX MAKING A CRITICAL JUDGMENT of Schillebeeckx 's Christology is difficult. He has not dealt with it in a comprehensive and formal manner, but rather in association with other topics or under certain restricted aspects. Secondly, his remarks on Christology are only partially systematic in character, being marked by a methodological pluralism which includes exegetical, dogmatic, and empirically descriptive methods. This pluralism does not make for the desired comprehensive presentation; it can blur ideally distinct, though not separate, aspects and dimensions, and this can prevent the attainment in turn of all the truth accessible to any one of the given methods, rigorously pursued. Finally, there are certain divergences among the author's many scattered statements over the years in which a critical reader might see contradictions but which the author presents as the continuous development of a single, constant, and valid basic thought. If one were to try to bring these statements into some sort of unity, one could single out the dimension of experience, especially in the more recently formulated positions. The author is primarily seeking an interpretation of Christ which stems from present experience and aims at new experience. I. "Precritical" Presentations and Positions Among the many early presentations of his position, one deserves special attention. The author himself called it a "christological sketch", and it is paradigmatic for the dogmatic and systematic point of departure of the whole way of thought. In SSS 384 LEO SCHEFFCZYK his essay on " The Mysteries of Christ and the Trinity " from the volume of collected writings Revelation and Theology,1 the author displayed special interest in the condition hurnaine of Jesus Christ. This interest is related in turn to the influence of phenomenological philosophy and modern anthropology and is called (not without a touch of exaggeration) a revolutionary impulse for dogmatics (328) . Yet it was then quite clear to the author that Jesus in his humanity is only " interesting" in the end if the mystery of his personal union with the divine person is taken seriously, and this mystery implies the mystery of the Trinity as well. Thus Schillebeeckx rehabilitates the classical christological development of dogma as he identifies the underlying impetus of this development with the principle "that Christ is not a human person alongside a divine person " (ibid.) and yet that the human nature of Christ must not be understood as " depersonalized " (which corresponds fully to the traditional doctrine of the Enhypostasis of the human nature of Christ). One could argue that the statement concerning the human form of God's appearance is not quite precise and that the thesis of a continuous, progressive incarnation over the whole length of Jesus's life can hardly ground all that is claimed for it as explaining the growth of Christ's humanity. Nevertheless, nothing could be found in the descriptions drawn from phenomenology which would be unfitting in principle to explicate the life of Christ. Other statements of this period 2 proposing a theology of the sacraments rooted in Christ as the Ursakrament point in much the same direction (25) . Here too the author remains within the basic framework of the Chalcedonian dogma and its definition of Christ as" one person in two natures" (23). Entirely 1 E. Schillebeeckx, Offenbarung und Theologie I (aus dem Niederlandischen iibersetzt von H. Zulauf) Mainz, 1965, 328-331. The translation and pagination of this work and all the following am based on the German editions cited. 2 ut all interpretations the basic hidden catalyst 398 LEO SCHEFFCZYK and the standard of measure for legitimizing or denying any experiences of Jesus. It is the subjective significance for people today and for the modern self-understanding, as is shown by the final statement about Jesus's signs and miracles: "Even had Jesus historically and literally done all of this, still how could that be of meaning for us today? What does a social worker in the third world of today care about the miracles of Jesus from way back then?" (16). Here it is clear that the author is not concerned in the end with gaining access to the historical Jesus, who despite all...


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