rahner and higher criticism
Hello Everyone,

Does anyone know who Rahner is and what people mean by "higher criticism" ?

Thank-you and God bless,

I have not read Karl Rahner, but know that he is generally considered to be one of the great influences on the Second Vatican Council and modern Catholicism, which is enough to consign him to my personal Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

Higher criticism is that branch of study which seeks to establish the authorship of a text, along with the date and location of its composition; asking: "Who? When? Where?", it basically strives to provide a context for a given text. ("Lower criticism" is another name for textual criticism, which seeks to establish the original text to the greatest degree of accuracy.) In the field of Bibilical studies, by the way, higher criticism approaches the Bible not as the inspired and inerrant Sacred Scriptures, but as any historical text; inconstencies, for instance, are not the object of harmonisation, but are considered errors. Still, insofar as it provides a common ground with the unbeliver, the Christian will find therein ample material to put forth as evidence for the veracity of our Holy Faith: see, in particular, the works on the Resurrection by N. T. Wright and William Lane Craig.
And has anyone heard of Desmond Birch and his book "Trial, Tribulation and Triumph" ? And any thoughts on him and/or his book/writings ?
I haven't read Rahner but I know something about critical studies. There are several "types" of criticism (all are considered "higher" criticism).

Textual criticism - usually consists in comparing different textual authorities. There are thousands of fragments of the scriptures in Greek, Latin and other languages and by no means do all of them agree. Sometimes you will see, in a footnote the phrase "other ancient authorities", this refers to other common phrasings that don't exactly match the one given in the text. It's also interested in who wrote a text, when, to whom and why.

Literary criticism - analyzes the scriptures according to genre of literature - poem, epistle, history, &c

Historical criticism - analyzes the events in scriptures as compared to extra-biblical accounts of the same events, if they exist (Josephus is a popular reference)

I think there are a couple of other types, but I am forgetting them atm.
(04-18-2009, 02:40 PM)mnez7306 Wrote: Hello Everyone,

Does anyone know who Rahner is and what people mean by "higher criticism" ?

Thank-you and God bless,


When I learned theology Karl Rahner (1804-1884) was considered the leading theologian
of the fifties and early sisties I learned my view of the evolution (evolution is God's Angel
moderating the cration of  the living beings)  from his students; and still believe this view.

Later he changed a lot. It seems to me that when our Pope (as professor) wrote that some
periti get inebriated by their role in the Council, he thought primarily of Rahner.

The higher criticism (higher as the textual criticism) is the modernist way to reaserach, the Bible
without any dependence of the tradition. Afaik it is not associated with Rahner.

Rahner is kind of a whack-job. When you read Pascendi and St. Pius X is talking about how modernists write in really convoluted language so you can't really understand what they're saying, he's just described Karl Rahner. There's a kind of pseudo-Heidegger idealism behind his stuff that taints it from the get-go.

I think he has some serious problems on everything from the Trinity to ecclesiology. If you've ever heard of "anonymous Christianity," that's a Rahnerism that got him heavily criticized by his fellow ex-periti Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger. The response to these things is that the critics just didn't understand because he's so much smarter than everyone else.

If you want to see a good critique of him in general, try Cardinal Siri's book Gethsemane. Really, though, you won't find 2 people that can agree on what Rahner is saying in any given work.

(04-18-2009, 04:08 PM)glgas Wrote: When I learned theology Karl Rahner (1804-1884) was considered the leading theologian
of the fifties and early sisties

I think you mean 1904 — 1984.  I remember when he died, and I'm not that old.
All I know about Rahner is that the Jesuits around here love him. Thats enough for me to stay away.
I got the impression, somewhere, that Rahner was pretty involved in the development of liberation theology. I don't know if that's accurate or not.
All you need to know about Rahner is that it rhymes (kinda) with ra-ra-ra. He spoke such convoluted, contradictory, sophistic rubbish that every modern Jesuit thinks he's a genius. Enough said.

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