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Title: Tussen traditie & situatie
Subtitle: Edward Schillebeeckx voor een volgende generatie
Author(s): VAN ERP, Stephan
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Theologie
Volume: 50    Issue: 1   Date: 2010   
Pages: 6-26
DOI: 10.2143/TVT.50.1.3203424

Abstract :
What is the influence of Edward Schillebeeckx in contemporary theology? In Dutch theology, Schillebeeckx has had no successors of similar stature. The author of this article argues that current theologians have ignored the tradition of modern theology. The result, he claims, has been a fragmented theology without direction that has lost its urgency and its critical role in church and society. The question is whether a rereading of Schillebeeckx’ theology could offer an alternative for this theological constellation. To consider the influence of Schillebeeckx, this article offers a short theological biography in two parts. The first part discusses the period up to the Second Vatican Council. In this period, Schillebeeckx developed a theology of the sacraments, based on a reading of Thomas Aquinas. Schillebeeckx was still influenced by Aristotelian- Thomist metaphysics and the Neothomist approach in theology. Yet, he was also interested in the spirit of the times and the culture of his age. That theological engagement prepared him for the Second Vatican Council, at which he was present as the advisor of the Dutch bishops. The second part of his theological biography starts right after the council, after which Schillebeeckx, influenced by hermeneutics and critical theory, developed a whole new type of theology. From now on, concepts like history and experience became ways of reflecting on historical sources for theology. This led to his Christology in three parts, in which he developed a systematic theology based on historical- critical exegesis and anthropology. It has resulted in his critics categorizing him as a liberal and heterodox theologian. On three occasions, the church started an investigation into his work. The last one, into Schillebeeckx’ ecclesiology, was not completed and ended with a notification written by Joseph Ratzinger, who was then the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. Schillebeeckx was never convicted, however. In the last part of this article, the misunderstandings in the reception of Schillebeeckx’ theology is discussed. It remains to be seen whether he was an orthodox theologian or not, and future research will have to clarify his theological position.

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