A journal of academic theology

Volume 80 Number 1

From the Editor’s Desk – March 2019

This issue, the first of volume 80, marks a milestone. This year, 2019, is the 80th anniversary year of the journal’s founding in 1939. Actual publication began in 1940. As my predecessor David S. Schultenover will recount in an upcoming article, Theological Studies was founded at a relatively inauspicious time. The Great Depression was still underway, yet,

The Birth of American Catholic Theology

The eighty years of Theological Studies bear witness to the birth of American Catholic theology. This article traces that development through five stages. During its first two decades scholasticism reigned and authority was watchful. Vatican II then introduced a period of change, followed by a thirty-five-year creative phase in which a modern consciousness discussed new issues. By the final period corresponding to Francis’s papacy, an American Catholic theology was in place.

Dragon Myths and Biblical Theology

A recurrent myth in the Bible about God “slaying a dragon,” primarily in the Old
Testament, provides a test case for using the “study of Scripture as the soul of
theology” without depending on historical accuracy or indeed on “salvation history”
at all. Freeing us from the dangers of a resurgent focus on history in theological
interpretation, this article shows how the dragon-slaying myth speaks powerfully to
theodicy and the problem of evil.

Karl Rahner’s Theological Logic, Phenomenology, and Anticipation

This article provides an update on the logic undergirding Karl Rahner’s theology
of mystery through a dialogue between Rahner and Jean-Luc Marion. It focuses on
Rahner’s account of truth in Aquinas and Marion’s Gifford Lectures on revelation.
Marion’s distinction between “alethic” (modern-epistemological) and “apocalyptic”
(phenomenological-Christian) logics elucidates anew Rahner’s commitment to
mystery as deep, abiding truth. Also addressed is Marion’s Balthasarian concern about
Rahner and “anticipation,” expressed as criticism of the “anonymous Christian.” The
article aims to encourage future, robust theological reflection on truth, an always
timely endeavor.

Cruciform Encounter in a Time of Crisis: Enfleshing an Ethics of Alterity

This article connects the work of M. Shawn Copeland to a dialogue between Bernard
Lonergan and Emmanuel Levinas. Exploring these authors’ insights on intersubjectivity,
alterity, dialectic, and embodiment, the article develops a framework for engaging
and overcoming contemporary crises of relationality. These resources are then used
to reframe questions of otherness in terms of the imitation of Christ, advocating
encounter grounded in open, prayerful engagement with the marginalized.

Pope Francis and the Christological Dimensions of Solidarity in Catholic Social Teaching

Solidarity is a central aspect of the Catholic social tradition and yet it is difficult to
capture in a simple definition. Building upon his predecessor’s examination of solidarity,
Pope Francis develops solidarity’s christological character, a previously underdeveloped aspect of Catholic social teaching. Francis’s use of place and proclamation
in public ministry calls for an ethic of inclusion and encounter. Francis turns to the
Incarnation as informing a theology of solidarity focused on both Jesus as model of
solidarity and of lived solidarity as an encounter with Christ.

Integral Human Development: From Paternalism to Accompaniment

This article traces the development of Catholic treatments of integral human
development from Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio to the writings of Pope Francis
on accompaniment. The author argues that community organizing is an important
avenue for promoting the political dimension of accompaniment as understood in the
teaching of Pope Francis.

Making Sense of Eighty Years of Theological Ethics

This article surveys all the contributions in ethics on these pages over the past eighty
years and is divided into four historical parts: the first three years; the years from
1943 to 1964; the years Richard McCormick wrote from 1964 to 1984; and the years
beyond McCormick. It surveys a period from neo-Scholastic manualism at the eve of
World War II to the contemporary era, where methods for attaining moral objectivity
are complex. This survey notes shifts in theological method, the movement of the
center from the personal to the social, the transition from an exclusively clerical
authorship to a much broader array of authors, and a shift in readership from priest
confessors to professional theologians.

Just War, Pacifism, Just Peace, and Peacebuilding

While Roman Catholic ethics of war and peace develops more restrictive criteria of
just war and reprioritizes nonviolence, an important strand of Protestant theology
defends war as a God-given instrument of government’s multiple ends. A newer ethics
of just peace and peacebuilding emerges from Christian initiatives to transform armed
conflict at intra-state and cross-border levels. This essay assesses these approaches
and pacifism, concluding with a perspective from the Global South.

Pope Francis and Catholic Healthcare Ethics

This article examines the influence of Pope Francis on Catholic healthcare ethics. The
first section offers an analytical summary of his ethics. The second section reviews
a “Franciscan” approach to Catholic healthcare ethics, which situates that field
within the broader context of Catholic social teaching. The third section analyzes
the implications of three of Francis’s most powerful metaphors: his injunction to
“go to the peripheries”; his contrast between a throwaway culture and a culture of
encounter; and his comparison of the church to a field hospital.

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