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The Role of Secularization in Remaking Christian Theology.
An Analysis of Edward Schillebeeckx

di Corneliu C. Simuţ (20-21 marzo 2009)

Edward Schillebeeckx's thought is a tremendous effort to reinterpret traditional Christian theology so that it should be comprehended by modern people. Schillebeeckx is convinced that Christian theology in its traditional format is no longer useful in explaining the realities of the world to the people living today. This is why he defends the idea of a general re-assessment of the entire Christian theology by leaving aside the traditional formulae as well as the traditional way of approaching Christian theology in general. He suggests that we promote a different perspective on Christianity in such a way that it should be relevant to the men and women of today's society. In short, if society and its evaluation of the world have changed, then Christian theology should change as well if it still wants to be useful in today's society.1 Society has become secularized, so Christian theology should undergo a similar process of secularization in order to find proper answers to the secularized minds of contemporary people.

1. Secularization and Rationality

Schillebeeckx approaches Christian theology from a sheer natural -- as opposed to supernatural -- perspective, which is draws heavily on the idea of rationality.2 He notices that the world has changed dramatically and the people of today face issues which require a specific answer from Christianity, answers which have to be in accordance with what their reason tells them.3 This is why he takes nearly for granted the fact that Christian theology should take off its traditional interpretation of its doctrines so that it should be able to illuminate the world when it comes to theological issues.4 According to Schillebeeckx, traditional Christianity seems to be totally incapable of providing adequate reasonable answers to the problems of today's people, which prevents the church as well as Christianity in general from sharing into the construction of today's modern society.5

Thus, Schillebeeckx warns that the men and women of today have questions concerning their existence and, when they turn to Christianity for an answer, the traditional approach to their burning problems is completely unsatisfactory. Modern people also have questions about God but, if we are to believe Schillebeeckx, the traditional Christianity appears to be overcome totally by the burden of an answer which needs to please the ears of today's technologized and rationalized society.6 The novelty of contemporary society, given mainly by the seemingly unstoppable scientific progress, needs an equally informed reply which should be also characterized by novelty.7 This prompts Schillebeeckx to postulate the necessity of a radically different impetus given to Christian theology to the point of transforming it into a different theology, namely a theology which is fit to offer answers that meet the rationalized expectations of modern people.8 Schillebeeckx is convinced that unless the church does so, the world will detach itself from the church forever and the church will permanently loose touch with the realities of today's society.9 In other words, the church will continue to use traditional theology for its own narrow use while the world will loose even the last drop of respect for the church's credibility.

Schillebeeckx highlights the fact that the church must not close itself to the realities of the modern world and explain the word of God in a way which turns out to be fundamentally relevant to the men and women living today.10 The church's traditional interpretation of the word of God must also be given up in favour of a brand new interpretation which sheds light on modern expectations. Modern people are eager to understand their own world and especially their place in the world and this is why they seek answers in Christian theology.11 It is very likely that Schillebeeckx refers to Western society in general where the secularization of life due to scientific progress led to the obvious technological progress which forces people to reconsider religious and theological mattes in light of the newly-established scientific, urbanized and technologized way of life.12 In spite of the outer technological progress, modern men and women seem to have an urgent need to find answers for their inner existential questions which cannot be solved by science and technology. Scientific progress does not necessarily help people existentially and this is why religion or theology is seen as a prospective source for existential answers.13

2. Theology and Science

Schillebeeckx seems to be acutely aware of the contemporary situation of the modern man who lives in our scientifically dominated society.14 This is why he recommends that theology should adapt its message in such a way that its traditional message should be turned into a totally new proclamation which is scientifically relevant and existentially appealing:

It is clear that Christian revelation in its traditional form has ceased to provide any valid answer to the questions about God asked by the majority of people today, nor would it appear to be making any contribution to modern man's real understanding of himself in this world and in human history. It is evident that more and more people are becoming increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied with the traditional Christian answers to their questions. It is their questions about God himself which are involved above all, and there is unmistakable evidence of a growing desire everywhere for new answers to be given to new questions concerning him. The situation requires us to speak of God in a way quite different from the way in which we have spoken of him in the past. If we fail to do this, we ourselves shall perhaps still be able to experience God in outmoded forms, but clearly our own witness of and discussion of God will be met by most people with headshaking disbelief as mumbo-jumbo. It is party because we are blind to the "signs of times" that God's word, in all that we say of him, is returning to him void [...] .15

Schillebeeckx's interest in modern society is commendable and so is his desire to help today's men and women in their quest for existential meaningfulness.16 It seems, however, that his observation that modern people need modern answers while traditional answers should be left aside as they were good only for the people of the past is predominantly empirical, not theological. The fact that modern society has become secularized as well as highly rationalized and technologized due to scientific progress does by no means imply a readjustment or even a total re-branding of the entire traditional theology.17 Society may well change from today's scientific progress to an even greater social progress in future or, one can never know this for a fact, lapse into a total disaster because of the fatal misuse of science. Regardless whether the world is heading towards scientific progress or a generalized social collapse the inner constitution of humanity seems to remain unchanged. This may also be inferred from Schillebeeckx's own words because modern people still seek answers which can only be provided by theology or religion, not by science and technology.18

The conclusion can be drawn quite easily, namely that despite his evident progress in science the modern man has remained the same unique being in constant search for non-scientific answers that do not concern his external life in society but his internal state of affairs or his own inner relationship to himself (which eventually defines his outer relationship to society). Therefore, if the essential core of the inner life of the modern man has remained unchanged, why should we want to change theology from traditionalism to modernism? Society and science may have reached their "modern" stage of historical development but the inner being of man seems to have remained existentially unchanged. If this is true, then Schillebeeckx is wrong in trumpeting the necessity to change traditional theology for the sake of the modern man's scientific mind. Or it may well be the case that Christian theology addresses issues that are not concerned with science and technology; they are not anti-science and anti-technology but they are just not preoccupied to provide illumination in scientific matters. Having said that, one could rightly ask whether Jesus died for our future scientific progress. Did he suffer death so that we could enjoy the much later progress of science and technology? Or did he die in order to redeem us from sin, namely from an inescapable state of total transgression and opposition to God? If this is the correct answer -- and it is indeed the answer of traditional theology -- then the essence of theology is totally irrelevant to the progress of science and vice versa. Man's relationship to himself will be forever a matter which will find proper answers only in theology -- traditional theology -- regardless whether science progresses or not.

3. Science and Man's Quest for Meaning

As for Schillebeeckx, he is convinced that this is not the case: man is so anchored in society and its daily reality informed by the almost unbelievable progress of science that whatever he seeks for his inner life must also have an influence or at least a connection with his external life.19 Thus, he strongly believes that the modern man needs to find a way to make his life meaningful exclusively in terms of the modern science which dominates our secularized world:20

The criticism of the traditional way of speaking of God which s now being voice within the Christian churches, both Protestant and Catholic, arises, on the one hand, from the deepest values which these churches really aim to embody and, on the other hand, from the new, rational and secular sphere of understanding within which people are now seeking a meaning for human life.21

Schillebeeckx is so preoccupied to see Christian theology turn its traditional clothing into modern garments that he loses sight of the fact that the meaning of life may well go beyond a merely and purely scientific approach to life. What if, for instance, some people -- even in the West -- will never be able to find the meaning of life in scientifically informed answers? What if they prefer traditional theology? What if traditional theology not only gives them a satisfactory existential answer for their relationship to themselves but also a powerful impetus to transform modern society? It is a very likely scenario to have at least a bunch of modern people who like traditional values as well as traditional explanations of life and they would still be more than merely interested in working for the benefit of their fellow human beings. It is possible that this handful of people would never entrust their souls to machines and technology; a "spiritual" answer would therefore suffice in order for their lives to be meaningful, so they will probably never sense any urgency for the traditional theology to be changed into a scientifically oriented religious approach to deeper human concerns.

What should we make of these people? Do they not use their reason if they prefer to believe non-scientific explanations concerning their existential fears? In other words, which is the correct approach to personal belief or faith? Is it absolutely necessary for us to have a faith is dominated by reason, namely the scientifically informed reason? Do we have to profess a faith which is moulded by the scientific reason of our times? As far as Schillebeeckx is concerned, the answer seems to be positive:

[...] Theology is always the basis of anthropology. We are humans living in the world, in history. On the other hand, faith in revelation is transmitted by the mediation of all human traditions. We are faithful to tradition by making a rupture; there is no such thing as a smooth growth from revelation into theology. The content of revelation is always explained in human concepts, namely is historically conditioned. We always have the revelation of God which is absolute, but religion is not absolute. There is a difference between the living God and our answer to God. Our answer to God is religious and embedded in culture. God is the basis of our faith; our answer is to trust God. [...] Trust is the nucleus of faith, but what Jesus means for us today is the result of our thinking.22 Faith is trust in God cum cogitatione, with thinking, with reflection. Without reflection we are fundamentalists.23

One important aspect must be clarified here. Schillebeeckx talks about reflection or reason as a compulsory component of our faith.24 Nevertheless, while faith remains the same as a religious feeling, it constantly changes as it is informed by reflection.25 Reflection is never the same throughout history; it changes as time elapses and scientific progress occurs in society.26 Thus, in the past man had the same faith as a religious feeling but his faith was fueled by a certain type of scientific reflection which was totally unaware of our contemporary scientific discoveries. This is why the faith of the people in the past, though genuine and useful for that time, is no longer relevant for today.27

Why is that? Because today our faith is shaped by the reflection of our contemporary scientific, technological and industrialized society, so our faith is more rationalized than the faith of the past. According to Schillebeeckx, the faith of the past is good for the past while the faith of the present is good for the present; they are both good but the faith of the past does not work in the present because it is totally irrelevant to the present due to its outdated reflection.28 What happens then if a man who lives today embraces the faith of the past? Is he a fundamentalist? He seems to be so if we are to believe Schillebeeckx because the faith of the past seems to contradict the faith of the present because of the totally different types of reflection that inform the two faiths. Consequently, if the faith of the past seems to contradict the faith of the present, then it follows that the faith of the past is irrelevant to the present and it cannot offer meaningful answers to the problems of the present. Schillebeeckx does not favour the faith of the past because the reflection that informed it was the result of a rationality which had not yet reached its true intellectual capability.29 This is what Schillebeeckx has to say about the faith of the past, which he associates with traditional Christianity:30

In the biblical, patristic and medieval periods, man viewed and appraised everything directly in the light of the [...] "first and last cause", following the Augustinian world-view. Medieval wisdom and science had little to offer him in the way of improving his life in this world, which was filled with the church's ethical and explicitly religious values and the ultimate perspective of a happy existence hereafter. This was the real horizon of his life. The church tried, of course, to alleviate misery in this world by works of charity, but man's intellect seemed not yet to have discovered its special task and its possibilities for the future.31

So, in Schillebeeckx, everything pertaining to pre-modern times, namely to pre-industrial, pre-technologized and pre-urbanized -- in a word, to pre-scientific -- society is, if not bad, at least not worthy of the present.32 This also applies to faith, so the faith of the past which is the foundation of traditional theology needs to change and readjust in order to turn itself into modern faith.33 Consequently, traditional theology -- which is informed by the outdated faith of the past -- needs to turn itself into some sort of scientific theology in order to make sense today.

However, it has to be stressed here that no matter how appealing Schillebeeckx's view seems to be, it is way too optimistic and hopelessly overconfident in the rational capacity of the modern man to foster the progress of humanity as well as to confer meaning to modern life.34 What if the world is destroyed by a nuclear cataclysm so that human society is thrown back into another Stone Age? Regardless whether such a scenario is unlikely to happen -- even if the theoretical possibility is always valid given that the future is hidden to the present, the question still remains: what if, as a result of the misuse of scientific discoveries, modern society is literally swept away? This will definitely disannul the state of contemporary progress and personal comfort as well as dramatically enhance daily misery, suffering and death.35 What then? It would be interesting to know how would Schillebeeckx reply to such a question but his answer is unfortunately not available. In the likelihood of such a scenario, however, the modern faith so dear to Schillebeeckx will suddenly become irrelevant to the new disastrous situation. It does not mean that traditional faith would necessarily replace it but the modern faith in progress and the annihilation of human misery will have to find a meaningful answer to a new situation dominated by misery, suffering and death -- all caused by scientific progress.

4. Secularization and Faith

Resuming Schillebeeckx's undeterred confidence in the possibilities of a new faith, which is not informed by the rationality of the past but by the scientifically based rationality of the present, he believes that the new situation of humanity needs to give reasonable answers to questions that concern man's relationship to the world and to himself.36 The new faith has to be thoroughly rational in order to be applied effectively in society with view to the improvement of man's life, present and future.37 At the same time, it should be noticed that Schillebeeckx equates this new faith to secularization, a social process which he regards as profitable to humanity because it can establish the universal values of justice, peace and love.38 Despite his optimistic view of contemporary society, Schillebeeckx does not foolishly believe in a perfect society; he knows that human freedom may be misused and some people will always be ready to do so:

As a result of the later developments in the West of rationalization in the service of mankind, modern man began to discover the world, and thus himself as well, in an entirely new way; that is, as a situated freedom which, through the collaboration of men, must give itself its own definite character in a task which gives meaning in this world, within a rational sphere of understanding, so that justice, peace and love may prevail among men. Man has now begun to plan himself, looking towards the future. Although it may or may not be explicitly formulated, it can scarcely be disputed that his is the new pattern of mankind's life today. But we must be critical in our attitude towards the possibility of its total realization. It is, after all, obviously marred by equally unmistakable abuses of freedom and ultimately also by the "sin of the world".39

Schillebeeckx is convinced that secularization and its new faith based on modern rationality reached an important stage in the contemporary world after the process itself had gone through a series of historical developments which all prove that the rationality which fueled theological faith widened gradually.40

Thus, from the Middle Ages and the period of the Reformation to the early pre-modern period and the Enlightenment, human reason acquired step by step a wider range of insights which transformed the original human belief in the vertical and external relationship between God and man into a horizontal conviction which connected men and the idea of God in predominantly internal terms.41

Schillebeeckx does not harshly criticize the faith of the past with its not so widened rationality -- and he clearly refers to medieval42 and Reformation faith -- but he rather takes a condescendent approach instead; thus, he is magnanimously willing to accept that this represented the beginning of the process of secularization which -- like any other starting point -- was characterized by certain flaws.43 According to Schillebeeckx, the first concepts which marked the beginning of the process of secularization in the church were "natural law",44 the growing importance of "man's conscience",45 "active intellect",46 "pure nature"47 and the Reformation's conviction that the reality of God is beyond the sphere of human understanding48 -- a position that, for Schillebeeckx, is unmistakably secular because it strengthens man's trust in himself when it comes to defining his human position in relationship to God.49

Then, the Enlightenment came with its belief in "pure reason"50 and "practical reason",51 which cemented the idea that God, or the concept of God, cannot be rationally proved by empirical data; God is utterly transcendent and, as his existence cannot be proved rationally, the only reasonable way to speak of God is to consider him, or the idea of God, in the more practical terms of morality.52 Therefore, theology and philosophy began to manifest an increasingly evident confidence in man's capacity to use his reason as well as his feelings in order to ponder the reality of what had been traditionally called the transcendent, meta-historical and ontologically real God.53 Traditional Christianity continued nonetheless to exert its influence in the world but not in the newer way of the prevalence of human reason but in the older manner which distinguished between the out-of-the-world reality of God and into-the-world reality of man.

This situation was perpetuated until the present time even though Schillebeeckx nurtures hopes that it will be changed in the future to the detriment of the church's so-called old way so that the new way of the world could become dominant.54 Schillebeeckx expresses once again his distrust in the traditional faith of the church, which in his view is oriented towards the past, and his utmost confidence in the modern faith of the world, which is reportedly oriented towards the future, a future which -- by means of love -- permeates the entire rationality of the present situation including the traditional teachings of the church on God:55

The long process of secularization meant, in fact, that religion, the churches and theology suffered a functional loss. A new, independent world came into being alongside the church. But the church continued to live in her old world until she was forced to realize that hers was a totally different world from the one in which very many people now live. The cleavage between the church and the world has thus given the impression that there are two different worlds -- the world of the past memory, the church, and the world of the future, that of dynamic mankind living within an all-embracing rational sphere of understanding.56

This paragraph is of crucial importance for Schillebeeckx's understanding of reality because though it presents the possibility of the existence of two different realms of reality -- the church of the past and the world of the present but also of the future -- it nonetheless contains his evident belief in the objective existence of a singular world only, which is the world of the present and of the future.57 The church of the past does exist in history but its understanding of the world and of reality in general seems to be fatally flawed. The church's traditional theology, which contained its perspective on reality, was dominant for hundreds of years but this does not mean it was the right belief. Schillebeeckx seems to be convinced that the church did not manage to convey a real image of the world because of the traditional doctrine of God -- which influenced every other doctrine. The true and the real explanation of reality has always been there even if it was not promoted by the church; in modern times though, due to the widening of man's rationality which resulted in scientific progress, the true perspective on the world -- which is exclusively rational and empiric -- has managed to make its way out through the traditional doctrines of the church into a belief which is no longer oriented towards the past but only towards the future and its infinite possibilities.58

What is the functional loss Schillebeeckx mentions in connection to the church's orientation towards the past as contrary to the worlds discovery of the new humanized reality? The functional loss seems to be the church's so-called incapacity to provide reasonable answers to man's growing rationalized questions about his place in the world. Thus, for Schillebeeckx, as the church lost its capacity to provide reasonable explanations concerning man's increasingly rational awareness, man himself lost his trust in the church and decided to find the answers the needed in the world with its pluralistic religious composition.59

5. The Re-Definition of God

The world is crucial for Schillebeeckx because it is the locus of the concept of God. Thus, the world is so heavily permeated by the idea of God that, despite the church's inability to explain it in rational terms that could have made a difference in the life of the modern man, cannot be simply given up so it has to undergo a process of dramatic reinterpretation.60 It so happened that God, who until then had been thought of in terms of theology and religion, began to be seen from the perspective of the non-theological aspects of human culture.61 Therefore, God lost his transcendental and meta-historical dimension which presented him as a personal being with an ontological status in the above-the-world reality in order to become a mere concept that was approached in scientific, technological and social terms.62 God was no longer the sole property of the church which had formally the right to disseminate its interpretation of him; God became privatized in the sense that every other non-theological science had an equal as well as valid right to approach and explain God in its own particular way.63 Schillebeeckx embraces this new situation because it represents a scientific politic oriented to the future with virtually infinite possibilities to present the idea of God in order to make it relevant to humanity, present and future. As far as Schillebeeckx is concerned, the church had formally had the disadvantage of being the captive of its own traditional interpretation of God, which was vertical and external. Things seems to have changed now, and Schillebeeckx is clearly in favour of the new situation, in the sense that the church can break free from its past traditionalism and accept the rational liberation provided by the present and future modernism.64

According to Schillebeeckx we must not promote a difficult understanding of God, and he clearly hints at traditional Christianity. Why is traditional Christianity difficult and what exactly makes its approach to God a difficult task for the modern man? The answer lies in the very concept of rationality. Rationality is nothing more than the use of human reason as informed by the surrounding reality. Thus, rationality is man's capacity to perceive and understand the world in accordance with the verifiable realities of the world.65 Traditional theology did not use this pattern of thought if Schillebeeckx is right, because its presentation of God as a being that exits beyond the limits of perceivable reality left human rationality without the capacity to check the veracity of its claims. If God exists beyond the grasp of reason, it means that he cannot be verified and then it means that he does not exist (at least in empirical terms).66 This was actually the clash between traditional theology with its vertical concept of God and modern thought with its horizontal understanding of God. As the phenomenon of having God interpreted by various non-theological sciences gradually intensified, we are now in the situation that God is thought to be more legitimate in the non-theology of the present than it was in the theology of the past.67

This is why Schillebeeckx himself notices that theology -- which suddenly turns into religion if approached scientifically -- has reached a particular situation as interpreted by non-theological sciences. Because the traditional interpretation of God given by theology has been recently perceived as being so unreliable by comparison to modern rationality, non-theological sciences began to investigate critically not only the concept of God as reflected in traditional theology but also traditional theology itself.68 In scientific terms, traditional theology -- now seen as religion or a dominant feature of the past -- has grown to be regarded as utterly suspicious, probably because of its seemingly non-rational or even irrational tenets.69 To quote Schillebeeckx:

The confidence that men in need had previously paced in the church was transferred, because of this functional loss, to the sciences, technology, politics, welfare work and so on -- all of them activities and institutions realized within a rational sphere of understanding. The traditional way of speaking of God and to God thus became gradually more difficult. Specialists in the new sciences also began to concern themselves with the phenomenon of religion, a field in which previously only the theologian had been held to be competent. The psyche of religious man was scientifically interpreted by depth-psychologists -- whose interpretation of faith and religion is, moreover, at its own relative level, quite legitimate. In the same way, sociologists also began to interpret religion. Thus modern man was confronted with a certain ambiguity in his thinking about faith and his practice of religion. Religion had become "suspect".70

Unfortunately, Schillebeeckx seems to take for granted the fact that traditional theology is no longer relevant to modern people.71 At the same time, he also seems to take for granted the right of non-theological sciences to judge traditional theology competently. The last but not the least, he is more than willing to accept the interpretation of traditional theology by non-theological sciences as objective, valid and correct simply because non-theological sciences are more prone to use human rationality than traditional theology. Schillebeeckx is surprisingly optimistic once again concerning the natural capacity of human reason to investigate the not so physically evident aspects of the inner reality of man.72 While traditional theology does nothing to deny the capacity of human reason but only to highlight its limits because of sin, Schillebeeckx displays an overrated confidence in the power of human reason to investigate the reality which lies both beyond man's physical body and within the inner structure of the individual person. It is clear that Schillebeeckx's approach is fundamentally existential or experiential and psychological as informed by reason;73 he, however, does not seem to promote the validity of the individual rational experience but the sum of the personal experiences of each human being. Thus, he trusts that this community of individual experiences -- which is in fact the collective experience of society -- is perfectly entitled to judge the validity of the traditional claim of theology.

Copyright © 2009 Corneliu C. Simuţ

Corneliu C. Simuţ. «The Role of Secularization in Remaking Christian Theology. An Analysis of Edward Schillebeeckx». Elaborare l'esperienza di Dio [in linea], Atti del Convegno, Parma 20-21 marzo 2009, disponibile su World Wide Web: <>, [51 KB].


  1. Schillebeeckx promotes a theology of historical change. See also Neil Ormerod, ""The Times They Are a 'Changin'": A Response to O'Malley and Schloesser," Theological Studies 67.4 (2006), 834. Testo

  2. Kathleen A. McManus, Unbroken Communion: The Place and Meaning of Suffering in Edward Schillebeeckx (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), 85. Testo

  3. Daniel Guerriere, Phenomenology of the Truth Proper to Religion (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990), 164. Testo

  4. In other words, doctrines should develop in time to fit the mindset of every age. For details about the development of doctrine in Schillebeeckx, see Daniel P. Thompson, "Schillebeeckx on the Development of Doctrine", Theological Studies 62.2 (2001), 303, Mary Ann Donovan, "The Vocation of the Theologian," Theological Studies 65.1 (2004), 3, Christopher Kaczor, "Thomas Aquinas on the Development of Doctrine," Theological Studies 62.2 (2001), 283. Testo

  5. Erik Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx: A Theologian in His History (London: Continuum, 2004), 110. Testo

  6. Philip Kennedy, Schillebeeckx (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1993), 45. Testo

  7. This is against the theological convictions of Ratzinger, who believes that novelty and innovation must have certain limits. See Ronald Modras, "In His Own Footsteps: Benedict XVI from Professor to Pontiff," Commonweal 133 (21 April 2006), 12. Testo

  8. Mary K. Hilkert and Robert J. Schreiter (eds), The Praxis of the Reign of God: An Introduction to the Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 63. Testo

  9. Marguerite Thabit Abdul-Masih, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Frei: A Conversation on Method and Christology (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2001), 77. Testo

  10. Aloysius Rego, Suffering and Salvation: The Salvific Meaning of Suffering in the Later Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 50. Testo

  11. Edward Schillebeeckx, The Eucharist (London: Continuum, 1968), 17. Testo

  12. David Regan, Experience the Mystery: Pastoral Possibilities for Christian Mystagogy (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995), 48. Testo

  13. McManus, Unbroken Community, 25. Testo

  14. See also Joseph D. Ban, The Christological Foundation for Contemporary Theological Education (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1989), 175. Testo

  15. Edward Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1968), 53. Testo

  16. Abdul-Masih, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Frei, 89. Testo

  17. For further details, see Thomas P. Rausch, Reconciling Faith and Reason: Apologists, Evangelists and Theologians in a Divided Church (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000), 22-23. Testo

  18. See also Wessel Stoker, Is the Quest for Meaning the Quest for God? The Religious Ascription of Meaning in Relation to the Secular Ascription of Meaning (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996), 31. Testo

  19. For a contrary position see Marcel Lefebvre, Open Letter to Confused Catholics (Herefordshire: Gracewing Publishing, 1986), 114-116. Testo

  20. Rego, Suffering and Salvation, 55. Testo

  21. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 53-54. Testo

  22. For a popular approach of Jesus' identity, see Martin B. Copenhaver, "Who Do You Say That I Am," The Christian Century 111 (24 August 1994), 779. Testo

  23. Schillebeeckx, Ramona Simuţ (ed.), "Reinterpreting Traditional Theology", 278. See also Corneliu C. Simuţ, A Critical Study of Hans Küng's Ecclesiology, 178. Testo

  24. Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx, 39. Testo

  25. Hugo T. Engelhardt, The Foundations of Christian Bioethics (London: Taylor and Francis, 2000), 10. Testo

  26. Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx, 292. Testo

  27. See also Eamonn Mulcahy, The Cause of Our Salvation: Soteriological Causality according to Some Modern British Theologians 1988-1998 (Roma: Editrice Pontificia Universitŕ Gregoriana, 2007), 342-343. Testo

  28. Also check Thomas Groome, "Shared Christian Praxis: A Possible Theory/Method of Religious Education", in Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis (eds), Critical Perspectives on Christian Education (Herefordshire: Gracewing Publishing, 1994), 218-237, especially 236 n. 32. Testo

  29. For details about man's capacity to know God, see Nancy A. Dellavalle, "Feminist Theologies", in Declan Marmion and Mary E. Hines (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Karl Rahner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 333-335. Testo

  30. See also Vincent J. Miller, Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consuming Culture (London: Continuum, 2004), 196. Testo

  31. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 54. Testo

  32. For the conflict between pre-modernity and post-modernity or the present, see Paul D. Murray, Reason, Truth and Theology in a Pragmatist Perspective (Leuven: Peeters, 2004), 53. Testo

  33. For an excellent analysis of the relationship between traditional faith and the challenges of modernity/post-modernity in Schillebeeckx, see George M. Newlands, Christ and Human Rights: The Transformative Engagement (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 103. Testo

  34. For instance, this can be applied to the life of Jesus and its relevance for us today. See, for details, Michael M. Winter, The Atonement (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995), 24. Testo

  35. For details about suffering in Schillebeeckx, see Kathleen Mcmanus, "Suffering in the Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx," Theological Studies 60.3 (1999), 476. Testo

  36. Hilkert and Schreiter (eds), The Praxis of the Reign of God, 31-32. Testo

  37. See also Johan De Tavernier, "Love for the Enemy and Nonretribution: a Plea for a Contextual and Prudent Pacifism", in Roger Burggraeve and Marc Vervenne (eds), Swords into Plowshares: Theological Reflections on Peace (Leuven: Peeters, 1991), 159. Testo

  38. Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 351. Testo

  39. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 56. Testo

  40. See also Roger Haight, "The American Jesuit Theologian", in Francis X. Clooney (ed.), Jesuit Postmodern: Scholarship, Vocation and Identity in the 21st Century (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006), 91. Testo

  41. After the Enlightenment, Romanticism seems to have diluted man's perspective on marriage, see Kenneth R. Himes, and James Coriden, "The Indissolubility of Marriage: Reasons to Reconsider," Theological Studies 65.3 (2004), 453. For details about Schillebeeckx's view of marriage, see Lisa Sowle Cahill, "Marriage: Developments in Catholic Theology and Ethics," Theological Studies 64.1 (2003), 78. Testo

  42. Despite his criticism of medieval theology, Schillebeeckx is placed among the theologians who "enhanced the theological comprehension of Aquinas". See Thomas F. O'Meara, "Jean-Pierre Torrell's Research on Thomas Aquinas," Theological Studies 62.4 (2001), 787. Testo

  43. Also check Johannes A. van der Ven, God Reinvented? A Theological Search in Texts and Tables (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 147. Testo

  44. Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx, 274. Testo

  45. John J. McNeill, My Spiritual Journey: Both Feet Firmly Planted in Midair (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 122. Testo

  46. Kennedy, Schillebeeckx, 125. Testo

  47. See also Susan K. Wood, Spiritual Exegesis and the Church in the Theology of Henri de Lubac (London: Continuum, 1998), 123. Testo

  48. Cf. Rudolf Schnackenburg, Ephesians: A Commentary (London: Continuum, 1991), 335-336. Testo

  49. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 57-59. Testo

  50. Rego, Suffering and Salvation, 68. Testo

  51. Philip Gibbs, The Word in the Third World: Divine Revelation in the Theology of Jean-Marc éla, Aloysius Pieris and Gustavo Guttiérez (Roma: Editrice Pontificia Universitŕ Gregoriana, 1996), 321. Testo

  52. See Abdul-Masih, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Frei, 57-58. Testo

  53. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 60. Testo

  54. Bernard L. Ramm, An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1993), 187. Testo

  55. Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 116. Testo

  56. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 61. Testo

  57. See also Jerry L. Walls (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 226. Testo

  58. McManus, Unbroken Community, 21. Testo

  59. For a discussion about reasonable believing in pluralistic society, see Gregory Moses, "Faith and Reason: Naturalised and Relativised", in Anthony Fisher and Hayden Ramsey (eds), Faith and Reason: Friends or Foes in the New Millenium? (Hindmarsh: ATF Press, 2004), 41ff. Testo

  60. Kennedy, Schillebeeckx, 4. Testo

  61. For Schillebeeckx, dedication to human culture does not oppose dedication to God because dedication to God is actually dedication to culture; this means that God can be found in culture. See Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx, 94. Testo

  62. Hilkert and Schreiter (eds), The Praxis of the Reign of God, 69-70. Testo

  63. See also Craig A. Satterlee, Ambrose of Milan's Method of Mystagogical Preaching (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002), 315. Testo

  64. Paul F. Knitter, "Religion and Globality: Can Interreligious Dialogue Be Globally Responsible?", in Arvind Sharma and Kathleen M. Dugan (eds), A Dome of Many Colors (London: Continuum, 1999), Testo

  65. Schillebeeckx, God is New Each Moment, 109. Testo

  66. See Abdul-Masih, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Frei, 157. Testo

  67. For a general discussion about the legitimacy of God and man's quest for God, see Stoker, Is the Quest for Meaning the Quest for God?, 205-206. Testo

  68. Kennedy, Schillebeeckx, 37-38. Testo

  69. Borgman, Edward Schillebeeckx, 130. Testo

  70. Schillebeeckx, God the Future of Man, 61. Testo

  71. See Engelhardt, The Foundations of Christian Bioethics, xiv, and Abdul-Masih, Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Frei, 130. Testo

  72. Russell F. Aldwinckle, Russell F., Jesus -- a Savior or the Savior? Religious Pluralism in Christian Perspective (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1982), 95. Testo

  73. Rego, Suffering and Salvation, 202. Testo

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