Arthur, James Bryson
Revelation and religious pluralism in the theologies of John Macquarrie and Karl Rahner.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis is a study into the foundational elements of the theologies of John Macquarrie and (in comparison and contrast) Karl Rahner, in respect of their differing concepts of the Self-Revelation of God, in the context of their particular validations of the authenticity of the religious pluralism of World Religions.
Both Theologians are, in essence, ontological and anthropocentric in respect of their methodology and largely concerned with the immanence of God in the beings of creation (principally human beings). The contrast arises in respect of the particular method of theological development. Macquarrie's concern is with the phenomenology of Holy Being as present and manifest in the particular existential symbols of divergent cultures, whereas Rahner's concern is wholly epistemological in respect of the 'universal logos'; and therefore his development is along metaphysical lines.
The basis of Macquarrie's religious pluralism lies in a synthesis of ontological unity and cultural diversity; symbolic and psychological. Holy Being (God) reveals itself to different cultural groups through the essential, existential symbols of the particular cultures. The principle of unity is the universality of Being and the admissible principle of diversity appears in terms of the different symbols. The different symbols themselves, then, including the hermeneutic in respect of them, results necessarily in religious pluralism. The basis of Rahner's religious pluralism lies in his understanding that the human constitution includes a pre-concept of all being, including the Being of God; and a supernatural element whereby all men are necessarily epistemically oriented towards God. As with Thomas Aquinas knowledge and Being are equated therefore Rahner's whole theology is grounded in a universal epistemology of both an ordinary and a supra-ordinary nature. These factors give rise to Rahner's doctrine of 'Anonymous Christianity' through which all men are implicit Christians, and other religions are, to some degree, perversions of Christianity.
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