A Thomistic Christocentrism
Recovering the Carmelites of Salamanca on the Logic of the Incarnation
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
Saint Thomas Aquinas famously held the opinion that, in God’s actual plan for the world, the Word would not have become flesh except to redeem us from sin. Conversely, Blessed John Duns Scotus argued that God intended Christ first, such that Christ would have come even if there had been no sin. While Aquinas and Scotus were far from the first to consider this question, they became emblematic of two seemingly irreconcilable approaches. In this book, Father Dylan Schrader recovers the thought of the Salmanticenses, the Discalced Carmelites writing at the University of Salamanca in the seventeenth century. The Salmanticenses argue that Christ is primary in God’s intention precisely as redeemer, so that it is true both that God has made everything else for the sake of Christ and that Christ’s coming is essentially redemptive, connected with sin. In this way, the Salmanticenses offer a Thomistic Christocentrism.
This book summarizes the historical background to the Salmanticenses, from the time of Anselm up through the early-modern period. Next, it presents and defends the Salmanticenses’ argument for the primacy of Christ the redeemer. A Thomistic Christocentrism then turns to two key post-conciliar figures, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Rahner sees Christ as the culmination of the world’s opening up to God. Balthasar sees Christ as the reconciler of divine and human freedom through his cross, descent, and resurrection. Both Christocentric approaches have good aspirations but suffer from serious flaws. In its final chapters, this book applies the Salamanca theory to Rahner and Balthasar, showing its enduring value for post-conciliar Christocentrism.
" A Thomistic Christocentrism is significant both for bringing into play the theology of Salamanca and for showing how well it serves to clarify and criticize the enormously influential but complex theologies of Rahner and Balthasar...I don't know of anything quite like this book, or anything that would compete with it."~Guy Mansini, OSB, Ave Maria University
"Every Christian theologian seeks to secure the centrality of Christ. Ever since the fourteenth century the debate has been framed as one between Scotists and Thomists. Fr. Dylan Schrader shows us how these two schools became mutually informing in the early modern period. He further demonstrates the resulting christocentrism of the Discalced Carmelites of Salamanca has much to commend it. Yet their position is overlooked by the leading voices of modern Catholic theology. This is essential reading on a fundamental dogmatic question."~Justus Hunter, author of If Adam Had Not Sinned: The Reason for the Incarnation from Anselm to Scotus
"A welcome contribution to a fuller rediscovery of the theology of the Carmelites of Salamanca and their remarkable capacity to illumine, deepen, and even correct modern theological proposals of consequence. Schrader succeeds admirably in offering a lucid interpretation and a persuasive defense of the profound Salmanticensian account of the rationale for the incarnation. Their way of integrating a central Scotist insight within a fundamentally Thomist approach influenced Matthias Joseph Scheeben in the nineteenth century and Charles Cardinal Journet in the twentieth century. Schrader successfully displays the ongoing fruitfulness of the superior Salmanticensian proposal by putting it into a highly instructive dialogue with the recent accounts of Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. A ‘must read’ for teachers and students of theology who care about a fresh ressourcement of contemporary Catholic Christology"~Reinhard Hütter, author of Bound for Beatitude: A Thomistic Study in Eschatology
"This is a fascinating study which shows that the seventeenth- century Salmancan Carmelites offer a nuanced Christocentrism that rivals leading twentieth-century theologians. Fr. Schrader rediscovers the lost treasure of Salamanca."~Ulrich Lehner, University of Notre Dame
" A Thomistic Christocentrism is a well-written and well-argued book. It convinces. Fr Schrader has a detailed historical approach, but one that is not content with mere history. He is always concerned with what is theoretically true and real. The main point of the work could easily be incorporated into Christology courses of various levels. A Thomistic Christocentrism would be my first recommendation to someone conversant in classical Catholic Christology who wants a deeper understanding of the theology of God’s intention behind the incarnation."~Heythrop Journal
"A splendid example of how insights from seventeenth-century Thomism can be communicated in a succinct and readable fashion today."~New Blackfriars