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Document Details :

Title: Between Transcendence and History, Trauma and Grace
Subtitle: Rahner's Anthropology Revisited
Author(s): MARMION, Declan
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 37    Issue: 4   Date: 2013   
Pages: 309-326
DOI: 10.2143/LS.37.4.3047123

Abstract :
This article examines the tensions between transcendence and history in Rahner’s theology, specifically in relation to his theological anthropology. After an introduction to his thought and its philosophical underpinnings, Rahner’s theological-anthropological starting-point is discussed in response to criticisms of his transcendental project. It will be shown that Rahner’s transcendental-anthropological insights are not limited to his early philosophical writings but permeate his work. A lesser-known piece on the theology of childhood will be seen to exemplify many of Rahner’s basic theological-anthropological convictions. The second part of the article looks at how some of these convictions have been called into question in a recent work by Jennifer Erin Beste on grace and trauma that critically engages with Rahner’s theology of grace and freedom from the perspective of victims of trauma whose ability to respond to God’s grace can be seriously damaged as a result of their experiences. It will be argued that Beste’s critique reflects a more general limitation of transcendental theology, namely that it is too abstract, makes false claims to universality, and is insufficiently political and contextual. At the same time, it will be claimed that there are resources within Rahner’s theology to deal with some of these issues including his theology of suffering, the historical mediation of grace, and his stress on the unity of the love of God and neighbour.

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