A journal of academic theology

Volume 83 Number 4

From the Editor’s Desk

From the Editor’s Desk – December 2022

In the discussions that preceded my becoming editor of this journal, I raised the issue of journal “fit”: What are the characteristics that should define articles published in the journal? There was general consensus that even if an article were broadly theological and exhibited top-rate scholarship, it might still not be a good fit for

Research Article

De Lubac and Suárez: A Reappraisal

Because of his hostility to pure nature theory, Henri de Lubac has typically been viewed as opposing Francisco Suárez’s metaphysics. His proximate target was the neo-Suárezianism to which he was exposed during his Jesuit formation. Suárez was the Jesuit order’s intellectual founding father and his ideas continued to shape Jesuit philosophy and theology, sometimes in opposition to neo-Thomism. Although de Lubac contested Suárez’s promotion of new and modern theology, Suárez positively informed his approach to key topics: appetite and its end; nature, desire, and the supernatural; the perfection of nature; essences as unique existents; eclecticism; and political resistance.

Research Article

Rethinking Gregory of Nyssa’s Mystical Theology: The Role of Hostile Powers in Homilies on the Song of Songs

The aim of this article is to rethink the way scholarship conceives Gregory of Nyssa’s so-called mystical theology by directing attention to his account of hostile powers in the Homilies on the Song of Songs. In recent decades, debates on “divine darkness” have governed scholarly readings of Christian progress in the homilies. However, through his allegorical commentary, Gregory also provides an extensive account of the history, ontology, and activity of the devil and demons, while also instructing Christians on how to defeat them. According to this account, only Christ is victorious in the proper sense. Therefore, believers must participate in Christ’s victory by journeying the way of the Homilies on the Song of Songs. This begins with baptism and continues with self-knowing, prayer, pure thoughts, and correct worship. Therefore, these homilies—communicating Gregory’s vision of “divine darkness”— also provide an extensive account of how to overcome adversarial powers whose goal is to prevent the bride’s union with God.

Research Article

Ignatius Loyola’s “Hierarchical Church” as Dionysian Reform Program

This article argues that Ignatius Loyola, in proposing the “hierarchical Church” as norm for judgment and feeling, meant to evoke and commend aspects of the Dionysian tradition—especially its principle of hierarchical mediation and its affective portrait of spiritual perfection. Supporting this interpretation are considerations of the world behind the text (the reforming Dionysianism abroad in Ignatian Paris), the world of the text (the culminating position and concerns of the “hierarchical Church”), and the world in front of the text (its reception by Peter Faber and Jerome Nadal). Interpreted against a Dionysian backdrop, Ignatius’s hierarchical church becomes a charter for ecclesial mysticism.

Research Article

Turning toward a Theology of Transformation: Notes from the Borderlands

This article brings Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa’s notion of “self” and “borderlands/mestiza consciousness” into conversation with M. Shawn Copeland’s call to “turn theology toward persons.” After tracing Anzaldúa’s critical rethinking of José Vasconcelos’s understanding of mestizaje, as well as the political implications of borderlands/mestiza consciousness as theorized in the work of María Lugones and others, the article examines Copeland’s engagement of decolonial theory in her attempt to “turn” theology. Both Copeland’s and Anzaldúa’s writings teach nos/otrx that theology can only be both transformed and transformative if the persons doing theology engage in critical self-reflection and build this critical reflexivity into the theologies they create.

Research Article

Race, Gender, and Christian Mysticism: The Life of Zilpha Elaw

Drawing on the spiritual autobiography of the nineteenth-century Black female preacher Zilpha Elaw, this article argues that it should be included in the canon of Christian mystical texts because it sheds light on questions about race and gender relevant to current conflicts in both church and society. Elaw’s story demonstrates that while the grace of divine union promotes social transformation, it may not immediately free one from structures of sin. Mystical spirituality requires ongoing critical discernment.

Editor's Note

In Memoriam: John O’Malley, SJ, on Vatican II and Ecclesiology

In the wake of the passing of John W. O’Malley, SJ, one of the greatest church historians of our time, the journal invited Massimo Faggioli to reflect on O’Malley’s contribution to contemporary theology. Analyzing his major works on Vatican II and ecclesiology—in particular, What Happened at Vatican II—Faggioli argues that O’Malley perceived a new phase in the history of the hermeneutics of the council and responded with a historicization of the conciliar tradition between Trent and Vatican I.

Scroll to Top