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Foundations of Christian Faith: Introduction to the Idea of Christianity Paperback – 31 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Co ,U.S.; New edition edition (31 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824505239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824505233
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 462,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 21 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Set the controls for the Heart of the Son 6 Sept. 2005
By Xon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Foundations of Christian Faith' is a deceptive title for a book which is in fact an overview of the whole field of Rahner's catholic progressive theology and it is no easy read; I gave an Italian version to a doctor friend who gave up reading it after the first 50 pages because 'it was too difficult'! It is however compulsory reading for anyone interested in the perennial conflict within catholicism between a theology inspired by St.Thomas(based on Aristotle) and St.Augustine(based on Plato). The representative of this latter theology is the Swiss theologian Von Balthasar who wrote his magisterial 'The Glory of the Lord' in response to what he saw as Rahner's 'dilution of the concept of Revelation' amongst other things. The current Pope Benedict XVI, a major theologian himself, is a firm supporter of Von Balthasar's theology which makes Rahner somewhat unpopular in Vatican theological circles today. Rahner, in contrast to the entire catholic approach to theology of the past 2000 years does not start his understanding of Christianity by elaborating upon the tenets of revealed faith, but starts from 'below' ie. from mankind as a species which is open to the supernatural in its very essence and then goes on to show how 'faith' fills this need or 'spiritual vacuum'; the point of conflict here is whether faith is inherent in human nature or is an act of grace (a created spiritual reality which is granted to Man but is not part of his natural constitution). Rahner, amongst other things, even opens out to Eastern religious ideas by stating that 'purgatory' might even be worked out over a series of successive reincarnations - something which clearly has the 'traditionalists' tearing their hair out!! A further difficulty, for the traditionalists, is that he tries to make evolution an integral part of an aspect of his understanding of faith - here I think he's on shakier ground. Placing a/any scientific theory as an integral part of theology exposes it to the risk of collapse should the theory prove (over time) to be false or is replaced by another theory (look at what happened with Galileo!!) - anyone interested can read Kuhn's 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions'. Rahner's major works are currently out of print - so the 'Foundation' is indispensable reading if anyone wants to come to grips with one of the two 'giants' of modern theology (the other being Von Balthasar).I found this English translation to be excellent and its words have a very strong emotional as well as intellectual impact, which is why I invested in a copy despite having an Italian version. One last thing, Rahner's Jesuit biblical training can clearly be felt. Behind every concept he develops there is always a NT scriptural root, this is not stated explicitly, so be sure you keep the NT firmly in mind when you read him.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding introduction. . . 5 Dec. 2000
By David Zampino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
. . .to the theology of the foremost Catholic theologian of the 20th century.
I'll admit up front that I am not a "Rahnerian" in my thinking. Nevertheless, the contributions this man made to philosophy and theology in the 20th century cannot be measured. In "Foundations of Christian Faith", the reader can gain an understanding of Rahner's beliefs presented in a more or less systematic fashion. This is refreshing, because most of Rahner's writings are preserved in collections of essays -- very valuable in and of themselves, but not systematic in their presentation.
This volume is a systematic presentation. Rahner begins from a philosophical perspective informed primarily by St. Thomas Aquinas, but filtered through the lens of German idealism. He begins with discussions on such subjects as Man as Person, Man as Transcendent Being, Questions of Personal Existence, and moves first to God as Absolute Mystery, Guilt, God's Self-Communication, and leads naturally into soteriology, Christology, and ecclesiology.
Whether at the end of the day one find's Rahner's arguments convincing (I don't fully) they are nevertheless compelling and should be studied by Protestants as well as Catholics.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Excellent - but hardly introductory in the usual sense 8 Oct. 2000
By Elizabeth G. Melillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Karl Rahner's brilliance in presenting systematic theology is well-illustrated in this work, the material of which will give those with such an interest much food for thought, reflection, and (in the outcome) prayer. Of particular interest is Rahner's theology of the Church, critical in an era when too much of what passed for spirituality was seen as totally personal.
Place this book on the shelf of anyone with an interest in systematic theology. However, it is not an "introductory" text in the sense of a catechism at all, nor is it a reflective work for spiritual reading. It assumes a knowledge of Scripture, doctrine, and the like, and could be very confusing for those who do not have a previous background.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This is the culmination of Rahner's life 23 Sept. 2004
By B. E. Sharrow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Karl Rahner is confounding to most people who only touch him and veer off looking for a more acceptable theology. If you read the early Rahner, you will have difficulty. If you read Rahner's last tome, you will be treated to the fullness of his spiritual development. William Dych is the best English translator of Rahner, bar none! In "Foundations . . . ," Karl Rahner lets down his guard and reveals to the reader, who he has become in his lifetime. He is no longer speaking about God but rather, is telling the listener who God is. There is still the extensive backgrounding and rambling German sentence structure, but once you understand that this text, like all of Rahner's published works, was written from dictation, you will begin to understand just what is missing from the printed word. Even though Dych translates brilliantly and with great insight, not even he can capture the characteristic vocal inflections that made the rambling sentences concise and clear. The reader must supply the drama of the words, understanding that not a word that was uttered has been left out of print. Thus, Karl Rahner is not to be read so much as to be experienced, and this will take some work. But in this way, the reader will suddenly discover what Karl Rahner, in his persuasive and vastly diverse way is attempting to say. This book is well worth hearing, for those who have ears.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A book which started my interest in theology 22 May 2001
By Anthony L. Macri, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though densley packed and, at least at the outset, entirely too "transcendental" to be understood in a proper light, Rahner's "Foundations" provides an excellent introduction to his themes and ideas. Written in the latter part of his life, it is amazing that he was able to condense his more than 50 published works into one 400 page book.
This is a fantastic book for the late undergraduate or early graduate student who studies theology. It is particularly useful having read Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre, from whom Rahner borrows heavily (amazing, to have a Catholic theologian borrow from two atheists and an agnostic). Though it is devoid of the normal scriptural references found in a theology book, and it does not treat the foundations of Christianity in Judaism in a fair way, it is nevertheless an important and vital work of philosophical catholic theology.
Rahner will argue that God is the constitutive element of man... and after reading the book it is hard to truly disagree.
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