Friday, 26 October 2012

Ormerod's 'Introducing Contemporary Theologies'

I found this with one of our students: Neil Ormerod. Introducing Contemporary Theologies: The What and the Who of Theology Today. Enlarged and revised. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1997.

Part A: The What of Theology
What is Theology
Philosophy and Theology
Contemporary Theologies Compared with Previous Theology
Method in Theology

Part B: The Who of Theology
Kung, Moore, Schillebeeckx, Pannenberg, Rahner, Lonergan, Metz, Moltmann, Gutierrez, Boff, E. Schussler Fiorenza, Ruether, E. Johnson, Soelle, Meyendorff.

Both Rahner and Lonergan are listed as Transcendental Theology. The Liberationists are obvious, so are the Feminists. Meyendorff - Orthodox Theology. Soelle: A Contemporary Theodicy. Moore, interestingly, Psychological Theology. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Religious experience as experiential and as explanatory

I have been forgetting the distinction between experiential and explanatory conjugates, in the study of Ratzinger / Balthasar. The distinction is tricky, especially in Lonergan's later phase, when the basic terms and relations are experiential. However, one can use experiential terms and relations in an explanatory way, and in a non-explanatory way, I suppose. How exactly do Balthasar and Ratzinger use them?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ratzinger on person and relation

An earlier jotting re Ratzinger's article on the Person:

  1. Substance (Boethius) vs existence (Richard of St Victor)
  2. Augustine makes the link person = relation, but encompasses God within the mind in his analogy
  3. Aquinas limits relation to God; does not extend it to man
  4. Aquinas separates the doctrine of one God from the doctrine of God as Trinity
  1. Ratzinger is not aware of how Aquinas modifies Boethius, esp. intellect as open to all reality
  2. Ratzinger is not systematic (at least in this article). He gives large openings
  3. Ratzinger gives references to Conrad-Martius, von Balthasar, B. Welte. Perhaps these are more systematic. Perhaps Conrad-Martius' Das Sein might provide a Begrifflichkeit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Person and Relation, for a conclusion

For a conclusion to my paper on Person and Relation.

Augustine made the link between person and relation, and introduced the category of pure relation into thought. His failure, at least according to Ratzinger, was that he did not see how this category carried over into the human person.

Aquinas saw that the person has to be on the level of existence (esse) rather than substance or essence, but restricted this to God, and failed, again according to Ratzinger, to transfer this to the rest of reality, and especially to human persons. He also treated Christ as an ontological exception. Christ is, instead, the pattern and model for human persons.

De Smet and Lonergan see the intellectual nature of the person as actually opening all persons, including human persons, to relationship. They also see the property of incommunicability as involving relationship and communication. De Smet observes that this intrinsically social nature of the person was lost in the modern period of the West, though this loss had roots in Duns Scotus.

From the turn to the subject in the modern period - a turn about which Balthasar is deeply suspicious - Lonergan gets inspiration to make a shift from metaphysics to method, or rather, to a general method which includes metaphysics, not however as primary and basic.

All three are open to learning from the contemporary period. Lonergan integrates considerations of Existenz into his discussions of the human person. He sees clearly that our emergence as persons is a process of mutual self-mediation with other persons and with society and tradition. Ratzinger probably uses contemporary insights to find that the concept of person, which emerged under the impact of revelation, was dialogical from the beginning. He also sees that we grow as persons in mediation, in interaction with other persons, and ultimately in interaction with the Other that is God. He sees in Christ the ultimate instance of this. And he clearly recognizes that the Christian revelation pushes us to recognize not merely an I-Thou relationship between God and human beings, but a We-We relationship. Christ is the space where the We of human beings is gathered into the We of God. This helps us find leads in Lonergan...

But above all, Lonergan might challenge the excessive suspicion that people like Balthasar have about the turn to the subject, to consciousness. He would at least oblige us to ask: what is the notion of consciousness, and of knowing, being, objectivity, that this particular theologian has? 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tritvam saranam gacchami

Tritvam saranam gacchami: "taking refuge in the eternal subjects." A pregnant phrase found in Lonergan's The Triune God: Systematics (CWL12: 409)

More completely: there are also obstacles to the achievement of authenticity, among them the ambivalence that marks both the belief and the friendship of temporal subjects. Because of this, “we must take refuge in the eternal divine subjects. Let our belief, then, be in the eternal Word made flesh, let our friendship be in the Holy Spirit; and in the Spirit through the Son let us dare to cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (The Triune God, CWL 12:409) 

Myron Pereira on De Smet

Email to me from Myron Pereira, SJ, 9 Oct 2012

Dear Ivo,
                  You may remember me from a brief visit to Divyadaan several years ago to address your students of philosophy. We met briefly then; you went on later to become provincial; and I see that now you’ve returned to your first love, philosophy.

I’m writing to compliment you for your biographical note on Father Richard de Smet SJ (Divyadaan, vol. 23/ 1). I came upon your article by sheerest chance, browsing in the reading room of a local seminary, and moved by curiosity I went it through it at one sitting. You have been very thorough, not just in noting his academic accomplishments and his intellectual contributions, but also in recording the details of his personal life much of which I was unaware of, even though I always had a great affection for him. For he was a significant influence on me as a young Jesuit several decades ago.

I was Fr De Smet’s student during my years at JDV (then the Athenaeum), 1964 to 1967, as an uncomfortable student of philosophy. But somehow we struck up a relationship right from my first year, and I would love to listen to him talk and ask his opinion on various issues. In this, as I realize now, he was filling in the role of mentor, of the Jesuit teacher, something which has always been a glorious part of our tradition. Fr De Smet too acknowledged this himself, speaking of his early years as a schoolboy under Father Rene Debauche,  “the most gifted Jesuit teacher I have ever met”.

Incidentally, the excerpt about his teacher quoted by you from Jivan, was sent by him to me, sometime in 1991, when as editor of  that magazine, I had requested an article from him on ‘Excellence’  Simultaneously I had also asked for a contribution from Father Josef Neuner, and both Neuner’s and De Smet’s autobiographical details are memorable: De Smet spoke of Debauche (“Subjugated by his excellence, I became a Jesuit.”), and Neuner spoke of the young Karl Rahner who taught him for one memorable year in the juniorate  (“he encouraged us to ask him many questions…”).

Not for the first time, the influence of the Jesuit teacher on a young mind and heart made all the difference. It was like that with me and De Smet, and though our paths diverged completely after I left Poona, the memory of those times has never faded.

You rightly locate De Smet within the grand tradition of  Christian  approaches to  Hindu philosophy and theology, a tradition which began with De Nobili, Beschi, Coeurdoux and others, and whose more recent mainstay was the ‘Calcutta School’, Belgians all of them -- Johanns and Dandoy, Antoine and Fallon, and  others. In this Richard De Smet, erudite, polymath, but always accessible, was the true jnana-yogi. Today as you pointed out, with the rise of ‘subaltern studies’, such classicist approaches interest us less and less.

This is why I’m grateful that you chose to remember De Smet and record his accomplishments, when so many of his own Jesuit brethren have failed to do either.


Myron J. Pereira SJ

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Balthasar's rejection of the psychological analogy

From Neil Ormerod I learnt something new this morning:
Hans Urs von Balthasar has been particular scathing of the approach of the psychological analogy. [18] According to Hunt, Balthasar “eschews a consideration of human consciousness as primary analogy for the Trinity of divine persons, and is deeply suspicious of any kind of turn tothe subject”.  Balthasar rejects any analogy based on “the human mind and its acts of intellect and will” since “both processions must be understood as processions of love”. [19] For Balthasar, “only love is credible”.  In its place Balthasar seeks to find analogies for the Trinity in the paschal mystery, in the death, descent into hell and resurrection of the Son. [N. Ormerod, "The Psychological Analogy for the Trinity: At Odds with Modernity," Pacifica 14 (Oct 2001) 286-87. See as of 2 Oct 2012.]
Perhaps Ratzinger's remarks on the person need to be understood also in the light of Balthasar's rejection fo the psychological analogy.