SPRING 2001. THE WORD of GOD
Table of Contents
The great richness of this issue's theme, the Word of God, invites a variety of approaches. Paul Murray begins the issue with a discussion of St. Bernard of Clairvaux's experiential translation of the paradox of God's transcendence and immanence. Genuine Christian experience is a visit from the Word in person, which is informed by the authoritative Word in Scripture, and involves both the judgment of uncompromising truth and the mercy of boundless grace. Leo Scheffczyk recounts the unfolding of the history of the Word of God as an event of the Word's "becoming text," in analogy to the kenosis of his "becoming flesh," and shows how this Word made text is brought to life in the Church's preaching. Jörg Splett carries forth a reflection on language and religion, which takes its bearings from the question of the possibility of grasping and articulating the ineffable God. Splett claims that, because God truly gives himself in his Word, he is not merely beyond our grasp.
Walter Kasper treats the definitiveness of God's self-expression in Jesus, the Word, in light of the demands of interreligious dialogue. Éric de Moulins-Beaufort asks, Who is this human being whom God addresses in his Word? He describes the dialogue as one that takes place between the Word made flesh and man as the unfathomable image of God. In a discussion of Vatican II's teaching in Dei Verbum, Rino Fisichella argues that affirming the Word of God as the single source of revelation unifies the equally essential, though distinct, aspects of Scripture and living Tradition. Finally, Ferdinand Ulrich meditates on the paradoxical interrelation between life and death in the living Word, a paradox that arises because, "[i]n himself, God is love eternally given away: the absolute unity of wealth and poverty."
In other articles, Livio Melina presents an overview of the history of christocentric approaches to moral theology and outlines possible future directions, insisting that an adequate christocentrism must found the moral life on the concrete person of Christ while at the same time satisfying theology's demands for universal rationality. Joseph Chorpenning ties together the fundamental strands of John Paul II's theology of the Holy Family around the image of the "spiritual pilgrimage" that the Church is making as she enters the new millennium. Philip Lamantia, a poet associated with the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beat Generation (he was a younger colleague of Jack Kerouac), and Surrealism, offers two recent poems. These are among the many fruits of his return to the Catholic faith, which was brought about through a visit to the National Shrine Church of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco.
In the Spirit and History section, Paul Russell sets forth St. Ephraem's understanding of revelation. For Ephraem, a fourth-century Syrian Christian, God communicates himself to his creatures through the two-fold book of Nature and Scripture, and for this reason Nature and Scripture mutually illuminate one another. The articles in this issue on religion and language prompt a reflection on the mission of the Christian writer: in Retrieving the Tradition, Georges Bernanos reckons the nature of art and the writer's task in relation to the "incomprehensible hurricane" of the trinitarian God, who is more than just a moralist or logician--he is, in himself, a "prodigious drama" of love.
In Notes and Comments, Adrian Walker contrasts the "liberal" and "ecclesial" models of dialogue, and shows why the latter, with its intrinsic connection to martyrdom, is in fact the best model for inter-religious dialogue. On the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Chaucerís death, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis praises him as "the poet of Godís mercy," who is "able to view humankind and each individual through the eyes of Godís own love, at once lucid and tender."
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