Sunday 21 May 2006

The God of history

“Jesus, who was Israel’s son, reveals God’s power over history, but he does not do this in one or another form of rule or supremacy, such as kingship, priesthood or even abstract human ideals. He does it rather in the form of impotence—the impotence of one who was crucified. God identified himself with someone who was crucified, someone who died as one who had been rejected by society and by the religious leaders of that society. That history is liberating.... God’s last word about human history is not a word of condemnation or anger—it is a word of mercy and liberation.”

—Edward Schillebeeckx, God Is New Each Moment (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1983), p. 51.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this excerpt, Ben. Though post-Moltmann we are now used to the language of God's "powerlessness", the synonymous "impotence" carries a greater rhetorical wallop, does it not?

By the way, I thought of Schillebeeckx (a great name for a spelling bee on theologians!) when you posted your recent survey on contemporary Roman Catholic theologians. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, I remember this warm and humane Belgian Dominican being right up there with Küng as major post-Vatican II spokesmen, in terms of public visibility in the English-speaking world more so than Rahner, the third member of the short-lived Concilium triumvirate.

Schillebeeckx's Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (1974) and Christ: The Christian Experience in the Modern World (1977) had a major impact on my theological formation during the early years of my ministry, and his Ministry (1980) stands side-by-side with T. F. Torrance's Royal Priesthood (2nd ed. 1993) in the "Ordained Ministry" section of my library.

I hope Hans remembered Edward to Benedict (née Joseph) in their recent conversation!

Fred said...

Schillebeeckx made my eyes bleed :)

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