The Development of Dogma examines the nature of dogmatic statements and the causes of development. It devotes particular attention to the emergence of the form of dogmatic statements at the Council of Nicaea, but notes how this form is anticipated in the New Testament. It situates dogma and its development within the matrix of the great fundamental theological realities of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium. Fr. Mansini examines at some length how the Church comes to recognize a development as a genuine development rather than as a distortion of the word of God. The Development of Dogma is especially valuable today for its discussion and defense of the philosophical presuppositions of dogma, which are often simply presupposed but should not be ignored in a complete account of development. These presuppositions touch on fundamental philosophical issues, including the nature of knowledge, the objectivity and trustworthiness of names, and the various logical forms employed in understanding how development is related to a closed revelation. The historicity of human knowledge is also addressed, and the role of dogma itself in heading off the extreme relativism the historical nature of man is supposed to imply for ecclesial faith and life. The Church's dogma about dogma enunciated at the First Vatican Council is also examined. The role of certain fundamental concepts in understanding the possibility of the irreformability of dogma it speaks of is expressly addressed—concepts in principle accessible to all human beings and that enable a trans-cultural, trans-temporal proposal and reception of revealed truth.
"A serious work of theology undertaken by a well-respected theologian. Not everyone will agree with every detail of his proposal, but all will grant it a serious challenge to standard contemporary Catholic thinking on the topic."~James Keating, Providence College