Faithfully Seeking Understanding

Faithfully Seeking Understanding: Selected Writings of Johannes Kuhn

EDITED AND TRANSLATED BY GRANT KAPLAN
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2851ff
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  • Book Info
    Faithfully Seeking Understanding
    Book Description:

    Faithfully Seeking Understanding provides a first-hand opportunity for English-speaking readers to encounter the thought of Johannes Kuhn (1806-1887), widely considered the greatest speculative theologian of the renowned Catholic Tübingen School.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1892-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION TO SELECTED WRITINGS
    (pp. 1-44)
    Grant Kaplan

    This volume gives the first published translation into English of any of the writings of Johannes Evangelist von Kuhn (1806–1887), long considered the greatest speculative and systematic mind of the Catholic Tübingen School. Spanning Kuhn’s academic career, the texts offered here yield a representative illustration of one of the nineteenth century’s most compelling theologians. Reading Kuhn allows one the possibility to observe not only key nineteenth-century themes, but also to locate earlier inklings of the central questions that have remained prevalent in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In order to put these texts in their proper context, the following...

  5. THE FALSE CHOICE BETWEEN FAITH AND RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING
    (pp. 45-69)

    Theology and philosophy are the sciences that have the deepest effect on and most profound interest for humanity. The question of how faith and rational understanding [Wissen] relate rests on the border of these fields. Either field can resolve the problem by resorting to its own method and starting from its own independent principles, and each has the right to do so. The conclusions they reach will depend on the principles and methods they employ. For theology, faith is the point of departure and the authoritative principle prior to rational understanding. Therefore rational understanding must be joined to faith: credo,...

  6. THE PRECEDENCE OF FAITH OVER REASON
    (pp. 70-83)

    We accept that there are two realms of higher truth—the realm of reason and the realm of immediate revelation. The reception and knowledge of the truth follows from the distinct principles of each of these realms. From here it becomes obvious that these two sciences come into relation with one another. The question that follows is: What kind of relation is it? What are the borders in which each science can operate so that their relation remains friendly and cooperative, and that conflict will be avoided? According to the usual explanation, philosophy has procured its reputation for the free...

  7. THE FINALITY OF CHRISTIAN REVELATION
    (pp. 84-100)

    Thesis: The truth of revelation is not capable of increasing or being purified; however, it is capable of development and mediation through human thought and knowledge. One sees such a development in the Catholic formation of dogma, which is the objective dialectic of the Christian faith.

    Since New Testament revelation is doubtlessly further along than Old Testament revelation, one might suppose that New Testament revelation could move in another direction. At the very least such a notion should not be dismissed out of hand. If the opinion were simply that the human mind [Geist] performs the task of advancing revealed...

  8. REVELATION AND ITS SALVIFIC IMPORT
    (pp. 101-117)

    By christian faith we do not mean that which Christ revealed (fides qua creditur [the faith through which we believe]), but rather the content of this assent, the truth itself (fides quae creditur [the content of faith]) that Christ has communicated to us (John 1:17). As divinely revealed, this truth is for us the subject of faith. Accordingly, we must come to understand what we mean by divine revelation.

    In the broadest sense, revelation implies the emergence of God from the “unapproachable light, in which he dwells” (1 Tim 6:16); it also implies his visible representation or manifestation in an...

  9. REVELATION AS HISTORY
    (pp. 118-121)

    Speculative theology has the task of determining scientifically how the ideas of religion (inseparable from the ideas of morality and of law) proceed from Christianity. The subject or topic [Gegenstand oder Objekt] of speculative theology is neither nature—which is really only a presupposition for theology—nor universally given realities in world history, but rather, the object is Christianity, which is the apex of world history.¹

    It appears that our task here will consist in determining more precisely the limits of human intelligence in the realm of Christianity and in the realm of nature. We shall also clarify the concept...

  10. GRACE AND THE PROBLEM OF FREEDOM
    (pp. 122-126)

    In a manner analogous to the external world, that is, the world of nature, the realm of the human will or the ethical [sittlich] world is self-contained. The ethical world has its own principle [Princip]—the free will that is self-determining and determines itself. Its components are the self-determinations [Selbstbestimmungen] of this will and the composition [Bestimmtteilen] of the will given by these self-determinations. The composition on the other hand influences the will and its self-determinations in such a way that they are at the same time cause and effect. We will never escape from this recurrent circle of self-determinations...

  11. NEO-SCHOLASTICISM AND THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF GRACE
    (pp. 127-149)

    Of all ideas about existence, the Christian notion of existence and of the human orientation [Bestimmung] is the most supernatural. The Christian notion begins with the distinction between natural and supernatural capacities of the person and regards the supernatural as the total and perfect realization of the divine plan [Idee] for humanity.

    Building on this notion, the Christian faith holds a definitive position concerning the condition of the first man [Mensch].² Christianity considers this first man to be the head and representative of the entire species. It maintains that this relation is not merely a physical one, but also a...

  12. SOURCES OF REVEALED TRUTH: Scripture and Tradition
    (pp. 150-185)

    The divinely revealed truth, the Word of God, which God spoke to humanity first through the prophets and finally through his own Son and his apostles (outlined in the previous chapter),¹ is the object [Gegenstand] and content of Christian faith. However, because the living word of the prophets and apostles has long since departed, the questions arise: where and how is the content of this word preserved, and from which sources does it pass to us?

    The Church, to whose proclamations regarding all questions of Christian faith we are to assent, teaches the following regarding this question:

    1. The divine truth...

  13. AUTHORITY AND INTERPRETATION
    (pp. 186-211)

    Two elements preserve the content and the essence of ecclesial knowledge, also known as the formal principle. The first is the apostolic tradition’s immediate possession of Christianity’s truth, in which the Church delights. The second is the office and the authority of the Church to proffer and to communicate this truth as well as the authentic scriptural interpretation. As a result there are two main objections raised against the ecclesial position on tradition from the scriptural standpoint. From the latter standpoint, the prophetic and apostolic writings yield the only complete and pure expression of Christian truth, which replaces for good...

  14. IS HISTORY MYTHIC? A Biblical Response to D. F. Strauss
    (pp. 212-245)

    In order to explain the Gospels, it is of decisive importance, most especially concerning the critique of the kerygmatic [evangelischen] history, to properly determine the viewpoint from which the Gospel accounts depart. Did the authors of the Gospel accounts want to write or not? And if they intended to write, for what reason and purpose did they write their history? Was the purpose historical or dogmatic? And if the purpose was both historical and dogmatic, how are these two combined? In what manner did their books conceive how one purpose took precedence over another? The answers to these questions have...

  15. RELIGION AS FEELING OR ILLUSION? A Contrary Position
    (pp. 246-254)

    In itself, religion is not a mere knowing, feeling, or doing, nor is it a combination or compilation of the three. Rather, in its essence, religion is both simple and all-embracing. Religion is all-embracing in the sense that it does not exclude any of the three basic movements that constitute the life of the human spirit. It is simple because these movements are not opposed or separated from one another; instead they are joined together in such fashion that one cannot flourish without the other two.

    In this straightforward unity, in the total equilibrium between knowing, feeling, and doing, religion...

  16. THE NEWNESS OF TRADITION
    (pp. 255-265)

    Since tradition emerges in a twofold manner, the argument from tradition also has a twofold meaning. Insofar as the tradition is the source of truth that flows alongside the scriptures and amplifies the completed apostolic teaching [Lehrausdruck], then this argument simply supplements the proof from Scripture. So relating tradition to the content of Scripture only signals the external side and the subordinate moment of the meaning of tradition. In its true core and essence, tradition is the objective Christian consciousness of the Church; it is the spirit of Christian truth, which the apostles transmitted to the Church. Tradition reveals itself...

  17. THE PERSONHOOD OF GOD
    (pp. 266-276)

    To know the divine Trinity means knowing God as personal being. Our task is to understand God thusly, and our exposition will proceed from this angle.¹ Howsoever one aims to understand or interpret the doctrine of the Trinity more closely, it is indisputable that the personality of God is the hinge upon which everything depends. For the doctrine of the Trinity defines God’s personality according to God’s absolute essence.

    Reason knows God on the basis of the immediately present idea given by God. This knowledge of God (the content of the first part of the Dogmatics) is the pretext and...

  18. THE PLACE OF THEOLOGY IN A UNIVERSITY: A Response
    (pp. 277-286)

    Baron von andlaw does not want to admit that, under the current structure of German universities, Catholic science [Wissenschaft] has witnessed a marked improvement. He names several universities and professors that have gained much acclaim under the current circumstances. Hence he is kind enough to praise a series of men who currently occupy these university positions. By doing this, Andlaw does not want to say much good about the instruction done at universities, as he understands them, especially regarding the theological sciences. Such outstanding theologians as Alban Stolz have been more than willing to credit their success (presupposing of course...

  19. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 287-290)
  20. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 291-298)
  21. INDEX OF BIBLICAL CITATIONS
    (pp. 299-301)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 302-302)