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Title: Naar een ontologie van de liefde
Subtitle: Publieke theologie als verlichting van het seculiere
Author(s): HÜBENTHAL, Christoph
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Theologie
Volume: 58    Issue: 1   Date: 2018   
Pages: 62-79
DOI: 10.2143/TVT.58.1.3278603

Abstract :
Various signs seem to indicate that the consolidation of public theology has been completed. Yet, some authors have rightly pointed out that public theology still consists of radically different schools and that no consistent paradigm can be identified. This article argues for a continued discussion about the foundations and the profile of public theology, rather than hastily striving for a unified paradigm. The proposal developed in it should therefore be considered as a contribution to this intellectual struggle. The basic assumption is that public theology should be founded on an ontology of love. However, two different conceptions of this ontology can be distinguished, viz. a sacramental conception and a conception focussing on freedom. Following on postmodern criticism of the great Christian narrative of love, it is shown that the conception focussing on freedom seems rather more convincing than the one focussing on the sacramental. This conclusion is affirmed from a historical point of view. After all, even Duns Scotus already showed – for example by means of his Christology – that the relationship between God and man had been intended as a relationship of love right from the start. To be able to enter into this relationship, we have to assume a strong conception of freedom on the side of humanity. For Scotus, the ontology of love is a relationship which comes about as a result of the mutual recognition of divine and human freedom. Therefore, Scotus seems to have developed the theoretical foundations of a conception of the ontology of love, focussing on freedom. At the same time, his innovations appear to have started a historical process from which the secular developed as a domain that is independent from God and which needs to be organized by human freedom. This makes it possible to regard public theology as a branch of theology that enlightens the secular by explaining that human freedom only comes into its own in the acceptance of the divine offer of love.

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