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Pro Ecclesia Vol 21-N1: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology

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Pro Ecclesia is a quarterly journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It seeks to give contemporary expression to the one apostolic faith and its classic traditions, working for and manifesting the church's unity by research, theological construction, and free exchange of opinion. Members of its advisory council represent communities committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, ecumenical dogmatic teaching and the structural continuity of the church, and are themselves dedicated to maintaining and invigorating these commitments. The journal publishes biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal articles that promote or illumine its purposes.

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4 Articles

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Hope and Optimism in Straitened Times

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Hope and Optimism in Straitened Times

Markus Bockmuehl

In a late modern world that has grown disillusioned and cynical about utopias, let alone about humanity’s ability to solve its own and the planet’s problems peacefully, societies and churches no longer share the assumption that hope is clearly a Good Thing.1 The great twentieth-century utopian ideologies all collapsed in a pile of ruins. And the current crisis of North Atlantic capitalism signals global future which, whatever it holds, no longer self-evidently promises the triumph of the West. Life in reduced circumstances, indeed in old-fashioned poverty, is on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe’s public social spending teeters on the brink, while one in six Americans struggles to secure enough food. And after the Pyrrhic War on Terror, what scope remains in the politically and economically straitened electronic surveillance society for aspirations to life or liberty or justice? Certainly all of these now lie much less obviously in the gift of markets, of technology, of government, or of the individual pursuit of happiness.

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On Truth and God: 2. The Triunity of Truth

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On Truth and God: 2. The Triunity of Truth 1

Robert W. Jenson

This is the second—and as it turned out much shorter—part of an essay, the first part of which appeared in Pro Ecclesia 20, no. 4 (Fall 2011). Readers who skipped that piece are likely to find this one obscure. Skip it too, or go back.

Thomas in the Summa contemplates just two possible ontological locations of truth: it can be in intellectu or in re; with God and only with God is it simultaneously in both. And his analysis in these terms has carried us far. Nevertheless, the Summa omits what seems to me truth’s decisive location: in sermone, “in speech.” An actual utterance is both a thought and a res, which I would have thought is just what is needed.

Notoriously, Latin offers two translations of Greek logos: verbum and sermo. For the Latin Vulgate Jerome chose verbum to translate logos in John 1:1–2, and this translation of a key text has determined much theological history in the West, in my view to its detriment. The difference—or at least the difference that matters at this point—is that a verbum2 is a concept or proposition or trope that can indeed come to speech but need not, that can remain unspoken in intellectu,3 whereas a sermo is an occurring address. I do not note this phenomenon in the Summa as part of any general critique of Thomas; I do it simply to segue to the following.4

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The Analogy of Faith: Likeness to God from Faith Alone?

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The Analogy of Faith: Likeness to God from Faith Alone?

Gottlieb Söhngen (translated by Kenneth Oakes)

Translator’s Introduction

Gottlieb Söhngen (1892–1971) is perhaps best known in English-speaking theological circles for having supervised both Joseph Ratzinger’s doctorate and his Habilitation at the University of Munich. His other minor claim to fame might be Hans Urs von Balthasar’s occasional references to him in his 1951 book on Karl Barth. It seems, then, that Söhngen is primarily known for those he taught and influenced, not for his own contributions to fundamental and systematic theology. This unfortunate situation may be rectified somewhat by the translation into English of two seminal articles by Söhngen on analogy, which originally appeared in the journal Catholica in 1934.1 This was two years after the publication both of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics I/1, with its notorious declaration that the analogy of being is the invention of anti-Christ, and also of Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis, a work which we now know Barth most likely never read.2

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Love and Knowledge of God in the Human Life of Christ

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Love and Knowledge of God in the Human Life of Christ

Jeremy Wilkins

And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?”1

It is also called mystical theology—that is, the secret or hidden wisdom of God, where, without the sound of words, or the intervention of any bodily or spiritual sense, as it were in silence and in repose, in the darkness of sense and nature, God teaches the soul—and the soul knows not how—in a most secret and hidden way.2

Ever since the question came into focus in the ninth century, the virtually unanimous consensus of theologians affirmed that Christ, even in his earthly life, enjoyed immediate knowledge of God. That consensus lasted nearly up to the present day. Now, however, a new consensus seems to have emerged. The new consensus holds that the old position is implausible, mythological, perhaps even implicitly heretical; immediate knowledge of God is incompatible with human functioning and development, and to affirm such knowledge in Christ is to remove him from history, to make him an abstraction.

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