Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Person and relation

Jose Kuttianimattathil has asked me to contribute to a Festschrift for Dominic Veliath. The topic suggested is Person and Relation - perhaps because of the Brahman and Person book. I have been collecting matter, mostly from the encyclopedias, on Person, before tacking De Smet and Lonergan.

Something very surprising and unexpected has turned up: Ratzinger criticizing both Augustine and Aquinas for sort of excluding the idea of relation from the definition of the human person - or not allowing the idea of relation, which pervades the concept of divine persons in God, its full and proper generality. Person as intrinsically relational, or, as Zizoulas, an Orthodox theologian, says: Being as Communion.

This makes things interesting and even exciting. What might Lonergan and De Smet, both of whom are soundly Thomist and, as far as I know, do not depart from Thomas, what might they have to say to the provocations of Ratzinger?

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything more substantial in Ratzinger than his “Zum Personverst√§ndnis in der Dogmatik” (1966), published as  “Zum Personbegriff in der Theologie" in  Dogma und Verk√ľndigung (1973, 4th ed. 2005) and in English translation as "On the Understanding of ‘Person’ in Theology" in Dogma and Preaching: Applying Christian Doctrine to Daily Life (2011). 

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