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Title: Nature, Grace and a Pagan's Salvation: Adomnán's Vita Columbae as a Possible Historical Antecedent to Rahner's Theology of the Anonymous Christian
Author(s): O'SULLIVAN, T.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 29    Issue: 1-2   Date: Spring-Summer 2004   
Pages: 131-146
DOI: 10.2143/LS.29.1.505251

Abstract :
This paper attempts to discern whether certain narratives concerning the baptism and death of “naturally good” pagans which are found in Adomnán of Iona’s Vita Columbae can be seen as providing an historical antecedent to Karl Rahner’s theology of the “anonymous Christian.” Following a brief elaboration of Rahner’s thought, one key narrative is examined in depth. It is suggested that this narrative, when understood in the light of the theologies of nature and grace propounded by Augustine of Hippo and John Cassian, reveals itself to be an anti-Pelagian tract in which the presentation of grace, as pervading the life of the non-Christian, is in remarkable harmony with Rahner’s thought. The paper concludes with a discussion of the consequences of this correlation.

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