MEMORY AND HOPE by Dietrich Ritschl


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The basis of Dr. Ritschl's book is the belief that theology today is characterized by a note of helplessness, a condition engendered by a state of theological separation between Christ and the Church. Such separation, of course, is the effect of a long tradition in the mainstream of Western theology, according to which the post-Easter Christ is conceived of as a ""Christ of the past"" (a sort of modified Augustinian position). The need today, however, as Ritschl points out at some length, is a belief in ""the presence of Christ"" (Christus praesens), and his purpose is first to provide a critical view of the Western theological tradition of the former, and then to establish a christologieal view which will overcome the present theological impasse. In the first part of the book the concept of Christ is examined in sacred scripture and in tradition, in patristic thought, and in its formulation in the various doctrines of Justification. The second part formulates the principle that the only legitimate starting point for christological thought is neither scripture, nor the historical Jesus, nor the Risen Christ-of-the-past, but the Christus praesens, and that principle is pursued through its implications and manifestations in atheistic Christology,"" in the New Morality and the so-called anonymous Christianity, and in priestly activities of the Church as an extension of the presence of Christ. Though scholarly, detailed, speculative and often poorly formulated to the point of dullness, Dr. Ritschl's work is an important and original contribution to the new theology. It may be highly recommended as an intelligent, practical Statement of direction for clergymen, Catholic as well as protestant.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1967
Publisher: Macmillan