Revelations of Humanity
Anthropological Dimensions of Theological Controversies
Thomistic Ressourcement Series
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
Revelations of Humanity brings together essays into the history and actuality of how our searches for God and for our own humanity are interwoven. They argue that the revelation of God is possible only when accompanied by a revelation of what it means to be a human being. Revelation implies that the truth is not fully evident in either case.
This quest is aided in many of the essays by a recollection of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. As opposed to simple memory, recollection implies that memory has been lost or become clouded, here by the misrepresentation of Thomas’ view of humanity’s relation to God as harmonistic, at best semi-Pelagian, often even naturalistic. This difficult recovery is made possible by historical research that alone can escape the easy systematic alienation that supporters and critics of Thomas have often brought to their interpretation of his works. Thomas’s sense of a real but finite capacity of human beings for God, his grace and revelation, anticipates in more ways than is commonly known much of contemporary suspicion about human capacities, but in ways that are open to God. That programmatic insight into the historical Thomas, keenly aware of human entanglements, limits and hopes, offers on many contemporary issues a ressourcement of systematic thought.
Revelations of Humanity revolves around three clusters of issues. The first asks about the reality and limits of the human capacity for truth: in metaphysical, moral and political matters and in relation to the disputed issues of analogous reason and faith. The second cluster is structured around the four involvements that the Second Vatican Council identified as the human face of genuine Christian existence: participation in the legitimate joys, hopes, sorrows and fears of the contemporary world. These are refracted in the broken light of the human proprium of risibility, the abiding uncertainty addressed by hope, the disputed question of a suffering God and the recollection of Christ’s anxiety in the face of death. The final cluster brings together anthropological dimensions of current ecumenical and interreligious disputes: the need to complement affirmation with admonition in ecumenical conversation, exemplified by the ambivalence towards sacrifice in a genuinely Catholic theology and the need to avoid the excesses of univocity, equivocity or an all too facile analogy in the determination of interreligious relationalities.
"These dozen essays are gems of theological thinking. Schenk manages to tackle topics of interest at once to students of Scripture and the Christian tradition as well as contemporary philosophy and religious studies and theology."~James Buckley, Loyola University Maryland
"Few scholars in our day can match the breadth of Richard Schenk’s theological and philosophical culture. This delightful new collection of essays, marked by Schenk’s typical fusion of deep historical learning and theological creativity, provides building blocks for a new apologetics, an alternative approach to ecumenism and the renewal of classical Catholic theology."~Bernhard Blankenhorn, author of Bread from Heaven: An Introduction to the Theology of the Eucharist
"These luminous essays by Richard Schenk really are, in their own way, ‘revelations.’ We see ourselves, humanity, with new eyes and new vision, uplifted, elevated, in the incisive and elegant theological meditations presented by one of the world’s leading theologians. They will amply repay reading and re-reading for specialists and non-specialists alike."~John C. Cavadini, University of Notre Dame
"Richard Schenk has crafted a unique combination of specialized research in historical theology and fundamental questions of modern theology. The range of topics is considerable: for example, from anthropological studies to interpretations of the Christian faith with respect to both its specific content and its worldview; and from sacramental theology to cultural theory. What is particularly remarkable about his work is that he frequently addresses contemporary issues while examining them in the light of faith. In so doing, he does not merely add yet another response to the well-known accumulation of attempted answers, but he modifies and corrects the question itself. Although the Christian faith in the modern age is often reduced to sentiment and subjective mindset, Richard Schenk has affirmed it as a shining light."~Rolf Schönberger, University of Regensberg, Germany