Not a dialogue, but a somewhat chaotic symposium on the two most famous and (at the moment) most persecuted contemporary...


CONSENSUS IN THEOLOGY: A Dialogue with Hans KÃœng and Edward Schillebeeckx

Not a dialogue, but a somewhat chaotic symposium on the two most famous and (at the moment) most persecuted contemporary Catholic theologians. KÃœng opens the book with a warm appreciation of Schillebeeckx' work, and various proposals for a new ecumenical consensus in theology, but Schillebeeckx could not reply because his health had broken down under the inquisitorial pressures of the Roman Curia. Following KÃœng, 17 other theologians, mostly Catholic or Protestant liberals, but including a Greek Orthodox, a Jew, a Muslim, and a Hindu, pronounce their (generally favorable) judgment on the consensus. This structure leads to messiness and repetition, but the issues here are big ones, and the level of discussion pretty high. KÃœng sees Christian theology as flowing from two sources (or constituted by two poles): God's ""revelational address"" in the history of Israel and the life of Jesus, and the everyday world of human experience. To help elaborate this theology he advances ten basic principles, which would presumably meet Schillebeeckx' approval, e.g., the supreme criterion must be the Gospel, not ""some ecclesiastical or theological tradition or institution""; a denominational ""ghetto mentality"" must be avoided, etc. Most of the commentators go along with this, while proposing various shifts in emphasis. David Tracy observes that the historico-critical method which KÃœng champions is not enough by itself to open up the worlds of meaning contained in scriptural texts. Avery Dulles and Nikos Nissiotis take KÃœng to task for neglecting the importance of religious tradition--since even the New Testament is a product of tradition and not a divine absolute. Most devastatingly of all, Rosemary Ruether analyzes the KÃœng-Vatican conflict as a power struggle rather than a philosophical dispute, and denies the likelihood of any meaningful consensus as long as the schism continues. The only really false note is Paul van Buren's nasty, holier-than-thou article blaming KÃœng (unjustly) for ignoring the Holocaust. Otherwise, a timely, thoughtful presentation.

Pub Date: April 14, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Westminster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980