Tuesday 4 July 2006

Getting over Rahner?

Over at Pontifications, Al Kimel suggests that the Catholic Church needs to “get over” Karl Rahner. The Church’s future, he suggests, lies with Balthasar rather than Rahner.

Personally, I think it would be better to get back to Rahner. After all, hasn’t he already become a theological “classic,” i.e., someone whose books are always mentioned but never read? And is it a good thing if we “get over” a thinker like Rahner without first coming to terms with him for ourselves?

So although I feel perfectly happy about the current Balthasar renaissance, my own suggestion is that we should get “back to Rahner” as well—just as some Protestants (yes, even Barthian Protestants!) are now starting to get “back to Schleiermacher” in new and fruitful ways.


Mike L said...


In my two comments on the post you've linked, I've explained why I agree with Al Kimel. That Rahner is indeed a "classic" constitutes for me no more reason to "get back" to him than Luther's being a classic makes me think we should get back to him.

Of course, I'm a Catholic—unlike the majority of Jesuits I know. ;-)


guanilo said...


Agreed. For multiple reasons (influence on Vatican II and his book on the Trinity for starters) Rahner's influence is going to be felt for a long, long time. It's a shame he's so overlooked these days for HUvB.

Certainly he's difficult, as is Schleiermacher, but by any standard that's a poor reason to dismiss a theologian. (Due respect to Al Kimel, but I find his admission that he doesn't understand Rahner a bit disconcerting for the argument he's making)

Fred said...

And when will Baptists get back to Harvey Cox?


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