HUMAN DESTINY AND RESURRECTION IN PANNENBERG AND RAHNER (ANTHROPOLOGY, TRANSCENDENTAL, HEGEL, THOMISM, MARECHAL)
BRIDGES, JAMES TERRELL, JR.
Doctor of Philosophy
Wolfhart Pannenberg and Karl Rahner argue for an "opening" of theology to broader intellectual input. The similarity of their positions derives from the foundational status accorded anthropology and from common opposition to literal, supernatural and positivist interpretations of Christianity. The critique of Neo-orthodoxy and Neo-Thomism that they reduce theology to anthropology is unjustified. Their anthropologies show a marked difference which derives from two sources. Pannenberg and Rahner have different conceptions of theology's task: Pannenberg writes apologetics for a non-Christian academic audience; Rahner writes philosophical dogmatics for Christians. Pannenberg interrogates secular anthropology for its Biblical foundation. Rahner embraces a Christian anthropology founded upon the experience of grace. Secondly, their doctrines of eternal life evidence their philosophical heritage. Rahner applies the conception of transcendental subjectivity found in Marechal's and Heidegger's reinterpretations of Kant to basic Thomistic commitments. Pannenberg accepts Hegel's understanding of reality as historical expression. This difference in orientation accounts for the underlying structural differences which surface in the individual components of their doctrines of eternal life. Rahner focuses on the hiddenness of transcendental subjectivity; Pannenberg on the unity and expressiveness of history. Rahner links eternity to an analytic of human freedom: eternity is the fruit of time. For Rahner, the surplus of meaning which supports the Christian hope lies hidden in the depths of the experience of grace. Pannenberg begins with time and builds a doctrine of eternity as the unity of history with Hegel's temporalized interpretation of the part/whole distinction. The modern concept of reason implicitly anticipates the whole of eternity. For Rahner, the real is the creative ground behind appearance, an impenetrable mystery which manifests itself in categorical determinations. Truth is disclosure of the transcendental conditions which underlie experience. For Pannenberg, the appearance of the entire temporal span provides the content of eternity. Truth is the coherence and coordination of historical appearances. For Pannenberg, the surplus of meaning upon which the Christian hope is dependent lies in the future. Reality is incomplete and truth provisional until the end of history. Rahner focuses on the vertical dimension of reality; Pannenberg on the horizontal.
Religion; Biblical studies