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Karl Rahner.

Dych is well qualified to write this introduction, having been Rahner's student and the translator of his first and last magna opera, Spirit in the World and Foundations of Christian Faith. The opening chapter on the man and his work contains valuable personal insights, nicely complementing Vorgrimler. Nine thematic chapters follow. The style is expository (not critical of R.) and noncontroversial (R.'s critics are not engaged), but it is by no means superficial: historically important disputed questions are fairly treated.

Some comments. Dych seems defensive about philosophy's role in R.'s theology. We do not learn much of Spirit or Hearers of the Word here. Perhaps this is not the place for metaphysical subtlety, but R.'s saying that he learned more from prayer than from philosophy and theology came late in life. Perhaps the former made the latter possible. In any case, students must not get the impression that they will find R.'s technical systematic writings accessible without studying Spirit. On the other hand, Dych's summaries of R.'s theology are uniformly good, some excellent, e.g. on the supernatural, on nature and grace, on quasi-formal causality, and on sacraments. Students will find these sections invaluable. I personally found Dych's words on the obediential potency especially enriching, as well as his way of explaining symbol. There is a fine treatment of the Christian vocation centered on sacramental life. If one theme could be said to unify the whole, it might be that of grace as permeating all of life. R. emerges as the theologian of personal and social becoming through free response to God's unfailing grace experienced throughout history.

This is the best brief general introduction to R. now available, and it deserves to be highly recommended. It is accessible, solid, and authoritative.
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Author:Tallon, Andrew
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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