Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

Abstract

This dissertation argues that there is a need for Christian theology to critically re-examine human existence through social and structural categories in response to the current direction of globalization which threatens the humanization of human existence. Specifically, there exists a need for a contemporary Christian theological anthropology that is in dialogue with the social sciences and that attempts to develop an understanding of human sin, grace, and redemption in structural and social categories in order to offer an alternative vision of what it means to be human in light of the prevailing anthropology that is at the heart of the current trajectory of the globalizing world. This alternative vision of human existence will have to meet the challenge of a globalizing world that is creating greater dependency and interconnectedness among peoples and nations and a globalizing world that cultivates and encourages an anthropology of egocentrism and radical individualism.

In order to contribute to contemporary theological anthropology which meets the challenge of a crisis of being human within the complex context of a globalizing world, this dissertation will draw on the theological anthropologies of two Jesuit theologians: Karl Rahner and José Ignacio González Faus. This dissertation attempts to bring these two theologians into a dynamic dialogue and ultimately offer a critical analysis of the nature of sin, grace, and redemption in their respective understanding of human existence in order to offer a more adequate theological anthropology for contemporary Christian theology.

In order to accomplish this task, this dissertation will be presented as follows. Chapter One will first outline the situation of the current trajectory of globalization, with particular concern about the underlying anthropology of the current form of globalization, and of the problem of global disparity, and present various explanatory frameworks which attempt to address the problem. It will then present various responses to the problem from Catholic theology. It will finally conclude with the claim that Catholic theology, and specifically Catholic theological anthropology, can offer a viable response to the situation and problem by presenting an alternative vision of human existence.

After situating the problem in Chapter One, Chapter Two will show how the theological anthropologies of Karl Rahner and José Ignacio González Faus developed out of their own historical contexts. It will do this by first presenting how the Catholic Church responded to the challenges of the modernity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It will then outline how the theologies and anthropologies of Rahner and González Faus were shaped by the challenges of modernity.

After situating the problem and situating the thought of Rahner and González Faus as sources to which this dissertation draws upon, Chapters Three through Five form the heart of this dissertation. First, Chapter Three will explore how Rahner and González Faus address what Christian theological anthropology sees as the human predicament and how they understand the theological category of sin in order to begin assessing the theological anthropologies of both theologians in light of the current trajectory of globalization and of global disparity. Then, Chapter four will focus upon both theologians' soteriology. The fundamental guiding question of this chapter is whose theological anthropology can best address the problem of historical and social salvation. Finally, Chapter Five will explore the root metaphors of church that would arise from these two distinct, but complementary, theological anthropologies.

Ultimately, I contend that the theological anthropology of González Faus best offers an alternative anthropology to the prevalent anthropology at the heart of the current direction of globalization, and can, therefore, adequately address the unsettling reality of global disparity.

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