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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Paul D. Murray

Murray, Paul D. (2004). “The Lasting Significance of Karl Rahner for Contemporary Catholic Theology”. Louvain Studies 29(1-2): 8-27.

Author(s) from Durham


This essay starts out by identifying two contrary but equally inadequate ways in which to receive Rahner’s theological legacy, each of which serves to distort and diminish his true lasting significance for contemporary Catholic theology. Where one would treat his work as a new orthodoxy and narrow the task of interpretation to a self-enclosed Rahnerian scholasticism, the other would succumb to a simplistic construal of the relationship between Rahner’s progressivism and the more conservatively inclined counter-forces that now prevail. The central constructive counter-claim of this essay is that honouring Rahner’s legacy requires us to continue and extend his characteristic concern to explore rigorously yet imaginatively how Catholic thought and practice can be authentically renewed and refashioned in the various particular situations in which it finds itself. This claim is pressed in four phases: I. brief review of story and influence; II. resumé of key critical reactions; III. outline of some significant fresh readings and IV. reflections on Rahner’s lasting significance proper.