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Rahner, Karl (1904–84)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K076-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

Rahner sought to offer an account of the Christian faith that would be credible to the modern mind. His early philosophical works lay the foundation for this theological project. Using both the method and categories of the early Heidegger, Rahner placed the thought of the medieval philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas in conversation with modern philosophy. He asked of Aquinas’ epistemology Kant’s question about the conditions of human subjectivity which make knowledge possible. Rahner argued that Aquinas’ description of knowledge and human freedom requires, as its necessary condition, that the subject possess an openness to a universal horizon of being, an openness to God. There is, in the structure of subjectivity, a constitutive, experiential, a priori relationship with the divine mystery. While this openness occurs within an individual’s self-awareness, it is always mediated by and interpreted through the objects, people, language and ideas that make up one’s historical context (the categorical). In his theology, Rahner argued that the true nature of humanity’s relationship with God had been revealed by Jesus to be one of absolute nearness. Rahner rendered Christian doctrines credible by correlating them with the transcendental experience of a God who is near.

Citing this article:
Bonsor, Jack A.. Rahner, Karl (1904–84), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K076-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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