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Payment methods. Consequently, the Cartesian idea of a divine causa sui the Kantian 'absolute totality' appears to be a placebo-iike variable 'etwas - X' , 46 which may support our trust in the reli- ability of theories about the world, but whose significance is no longer immune to the suspicion that it is nothing but an idee fixe. To be sure, Kant tried to convince his contemporaries that we are morally obliged to trust in the idea of an absolute reality.

However, it is highly questionable whether this proposal was suited to save the legacy of Christian orthodoxy, given that even Kant eventu- ally admitted that his moral justification of Christian faith was not cogent.

The Assignment: A Self Revelation by Midchild Carter, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

It is precisely this response that leads u s to the modern concept of self-revelation. Hegel agreed with Kant's conviction that everything is what it appears to be for us, and that everything which transcends these limits is, considered as such, nothing but an empty idea. However, he differed from his predecessor in arguing that Kant's problem already includes its Solution; it already includes the response Kant was hunting for in his vain attempts to save the Christian legacy.

Roughly speaking, this response to the Kantian challenge runs as follows: Considered as such the Cartesian idea of the 'absolute' is indeed empty; but this idea is not simply an invention of mod- ern philosophers. It is deeply rooted in the dialectical history of the human spirit, and the narrative of this history recalls nothing other than the mode in which the absolute really became manifest.

Even more than this, the universal-historical narrative of 'the spirit' reveals nothing other than the mode in which God reveals himself to himself as a Trinitarian Absolute which diaiectically relates itself Father to itself Son through the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Absolute is not an empty idea.

God is what he appears to be for us in the history of salvation, and he appears to us in this narrative as that which he essentially is. Christensen ed. Nijhoff, pp. Hodgson; trans. Brown, P. Hodgson et al. However, as Pannenberg points out, it would be quite wayward to base a systematic-theological basic principle on a marginal patristic source, which moves, in its use of the relevant concept, disturbingly close to the Gnostic tradition. See Wolfhart Pannenberg ed.

His approach to the concept of self-revelation was based neither on some sort of speculative dialectic nor on a urii- versal-historical narrative. Departing from the Word-of-God idea of dialectical theology as in Bultmann and Brunner, Barth's theology focused directly on the biblical encounter with Christ. However Barth interprets this encounter as an event of 'self-revelation', and he acknowledges, at least implicitly, the Hegelian background of this proceeding in that he repeatedly refers to a particular sentence on self-revelation written by Hegel's disciple Philipp Marheineke.

It is significant to stress the double sense of this genitive, since the human knowledge of the Absolute as object coincides with the self-knowledge of God as absolute subject. On the other hand, seen from an orthodox point of view, it is vital to preserve the Christian legacy from becoming reduced to a merely symbolic Illustration of a speculative philosophical 'idea'.

However, this did n o t prevent the magisterial teaching of the R o m a n Cath- olic C h u r c h from adhering to the logocentric paradigm of early m o d e r n extrinsecism until the Second Vatican Council. Since God is essentially w h a t he appears to be for us, the truth of God becomes increasingly conceived as a T r i n i t a n a n movement of self-revelation in history; only this prevents us from deaiing with 'empty concepts'.

This last point is most important. Barth, for example, keeps his concept of the threefold ' m o d e s ' of the Trinity as close as possi- ble to Hegel's dialectical idea of a Trinitarian self-movement, even though he never forgets to underline the priority of the eternal i. The distinetion between Trinity and economy evaporates to a theoretical background assumption. Pre-modern o r t h o d o x y moved in the opposite direction. T h e eter- nal mystery of the three hypostases was not primarily considered to 52 See Graham Ward, , 'Barth, Hegel, and the Possibility of Christian Apologetics', in john C.

As for the priority of the eternal Trinity, see Paul D. As for Barth's concept of self-revelation, see also Eicher, Offenbarung, pp. Rather it wras considered as the terminus ad quem limit to which of the sacramental trans-substantiation or transfiguration of the universe. It received its significance not from a historical narrative which culminates in Christ, but from the doxologically grounded conviction that 'the Logos of God had become man so that you might learn from a man how a man may become God'.

Or more precisely, it was to be located in the beatific Vision of God, which means, it was not to be considered in narrative but in doxological and liturgical terms. It is one thing to adhere to the sacramental body of Christ here and now, and another to reach the point where God manifests himself 'face to face' i Cor. Synthesis or Distortion? See De virtutibus q.

The following section is immensely indebted to my conversations with Professor Weidemann. His analysis commences with a profound discussion of the t w o most significant biblical concepts suitable to support the m o d e r n reading: T h e con- cept of apokalypsis, which has, as in Barth, an intellectual meaning; and the concepts of epiphany or parousia, which focus on the encounter with Christ here and now. Petersen interprets Barth's coneept of self-revelation as a typi- cally Kantian amalgam of these t w o concepts.

Gott ist ein Begriff, der an Christus anschaulich wird. Furthermore it is significant to notice that, unlike in Barth, Christ's epiphany is not intrinsicaliy connected to an intellectual attitude. Bockmuehl, , 'Art. Offenbarung IV. This form- ulation does not hit Barth's position exactly. The latter rather argues, inversely, that the unknown Christ becomes known through the father. This is precisely what Peterson's objeetion is aiming at: the acknowledgement of Christ qua epiphany becomes fused with a mode of apoca- lyptical knowledge - at the expense of the biblical proclamation that the wisdom of God is only revealed 'in a mystery' 1 Cor.

We must persevere in the direction we are ied by the erotic attraction of Christ, though the essence of this destination remains, for the time being, hidden.

Self revelation whether it be in the clothes they

As distinct from this epiphanic dimension of the encounter with Christ, the concept of revelation as apocalypse primarily concerns the unveiling of the truth about this encounter, which is eventualiy accomplished at the 'day of judgement'. This 'day' will not disclose anything de facto new; it will only retrospectively disclose whether we have adhered to the mystical presence of Christ or have fallen into 'condemnation'. Unlike in Luther's simul iustus et peccator 'at once justified and sinner' , the members of the body of Christ are not expecting a State of innocence; they are already liberated from sin.

The 'final judgement' will not add anything to the State of those who have walked under the mystery of the cross. It will only retro- spectively disclose what the sign of the cross has become to them; namely either a real power or nothing but a theoretical folly. Faith is not the theoretical conviction that God will save the sinner; it is the perseverance in a State of innocence, in other words, the perse- verance in the State of salvation regained in baptism and confirmed by faith.

Barth's intellectual con- cept of revelation ieads, so Peterson insists, to an 'Idealist distortion' of Christianity which 'kills the nerve of early Christian faith'. Koester and R. This concept of self-revelation is no longer focused on the imme- diate encounter with Jesus. As in Hegel it is again based on a concept of revelation as history the Hegeiian re-narration of the prehistory of Kant's 'X' , though it differs from Hegel in enhancing the apoca- lyptic roots of Christianity and the open end of history there is no absolutes Wissen to be achieved here and now.

Accordingly, the event of Christ, in particular his resurrection, is to be herme- neutically contextualized from the outset; it has the character of a decisive revelatory event of universal significance only insofar as it anticipates the open end of the universal history of human- ity. God's self-revelation is not to be reduced to what the early Barth called the 'bomb crater' of his gracious self-manifestation in Christ.

Rather it is the climax of a universal-historicai, eschatologi- cal narrative. Such a response to the challenge of post-Kantian philosophy is without doubt the most consistent. This is not surprising, since it is also dosest to the roots of the Hegeiian turn of modernity. However, Pannenberg's account of the apocalyptic concept of temporality is philosophically and hermeneutically questionable. Althaus traces the modern 'infiation of revelation' back to the Kantian Hegelianism of Alfred Ritschi and Ritschl's disciple Wilhelm Herrmann , who was as indicated above also the teacher of Karl Barth.

Furthermore, Althaus rightly enhances the impact of Rudolf Bultmann's biblical exegesis.


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Comparable with Pannenberg, though more ieft- Hegelian in orientation, Moltmann's concept of self-revelation is focused on a narrative account of the history of salvation. It is precisely this narrative approach wThich underpins Moltmann's objection to Barth, that Barth 'developed the doctrine of the Trinity out of the [mere] logic of the concept of God's self-revelation'. Did Barth really base the whole edi- fice of this comprehensive undertaking on nothing but the abstract speculations of philosophical idealists?

It is worth noting that Moltmann's objection does not escape the Idealist drift either. As for Zizek's use of placebo-like variables, see Johannes Hoff, , 'Rez. At the very least it is difficult to see how Moltmann's narrative account of the 'economy of salvation' may be able to deal with the late modern suspicion that the whole building of modern theology is grounded on a placebo like the Hegelian 'nothing' the 'absolute' of Zizek's sober neo-Marxist recycling strategy.

On the other hand, John Webster provides a serious response to Moltmann's objection in arguing that Barth's concept of self- revelation was deeply rooted in the performative practice of an unconditioned confession. To commence with this confession is5 indeed, perfectly consistent with the biblical 'principles of Christian theology', 68 but this does not explain wrhy the confession 'Jesus is the Lord' Rom. Why do we need this concept if the primordial confession of Christ could be interpreted otherwise just as well? Viewed against this background, it is remarkable that Webster's defence of Karl Barth includes a significant concession, namely that Barth's Interpretation of the early Christian confession does not exclude the alternative of rooting the significance of this confession in worship rather than in self-revelation.

Such was the Interpre- tation of pre-modern orthodoxy, which rooted everything in the 67 John B. Webster ed. Many thanks to Kate Butler and David Dusenbury for proofreading this essay so carefully. Even more than this, only the tradition of pre-modern orthodoxy includes a response to the challenge of post-Kantian philosophy which avoids the trap of modern theology.

To vary Cusa's idiom, only a cautious return to the sources of Christian orthodoxy may prevent us from ascribing to the creations of philosophical master-thmkers that which befits only the reality ltself. Related Papers. By Josh de Keijzer. Van Til as Critic of Barth's Christology. By James Cassidy. Karl Barth's Conception of Revelation. By Sean Carroll. A Trinitarian Bibliography. By definition, revelation requires someone who apprehends it. These insights, gained through my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important for me at the time of the conciliar discussion on revelation, Scripture, and tradition.

Because, if Bonaventure is right, then revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture, but is not simply identical to it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written down. The act of reception is, according to Ratzinger, the act of faith, and is part of what actually constitutes revelation. It is this notion of faith as the subjective response to revelation as a key component to revelation itself that was, no doubt, the cause of some consternation by Rev.

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Michael Schmaus, his supervisor. In his thesis, Ratzinger presses into the mystery of revelation according to St. Bonaventure, and makes clear the distinction between revelation and Scripture. Furthermore, we can see why it is that for Bonaventure, Scripture, simply as a written document, does not constitute revelation, whereas the understanding of Scripture, which arises in theology, can be called revelation, at least indirectly.

The increasing popularity of contemporary historical critical methods of Scriptural exegesis in the early-mid 20th century seems to have been among some of the principle concerns of the drafters of the Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Verbum. The heresy of modernism, which had been of considerable concern to the Church earlier in the 20th century, had seen an emphasis on the use of the social sciences and scientific methodologies to interpret, or debunk, the Scriptures in a way that treated them, not as the divinely revealed word of God for all men of all times, but as merely human writings of their time.

Bonaventure, became tremendously influential for him in his assignment as a conciliar peritus , or theological expert, at the Second Vatican Council To achieve some understanding of how this notion of revelation came to influence the young Fr. Ratzinger, and subsequently his work on the Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Verbum , it is helpful to look at some of the texts by Ratzinger as peritus, both before and during Vatican II.

These ideas come to the fore immediately in the Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Verbum. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity, and tend toward the same end. Jared Wicks, S. But Fr. While not absent from spiritual writings within the Church prior to the Vatican II Council, it was, for the most part, absent from the manuals of theology, which were fundamental to the seminary curriculum at the time.

Their discovery was, perhaps, more rightly considered a re-discovery. This is seen in the quotation of St. He not only reveals the Father to man, but invites man to enter into the very life of the Most Holy Trinity, which is an eternal communion of love. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and, thus, become sharers in the divine nature.