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The Church as Hermeneutical Community and the Place of Embodied Faith in Joseph Ratzinger and Lewis S. Mudge


Mary McCaughey

This book adds new impetus to ecumenical theology by focusing on embodied faith or the contextual interpretation of Revelation. It does so through an exploration of the insights of Lewis S. Mudge and Joseph Ratzinger. Mudge advocates catholicity as a hermeneutic which embraces the contextuality of faith in local contexts, including Christian communities and the religious practice of those of other Abrahamic faiths. Through his use of semiotics and social theory, Mudge offers novel ways to interpret faith lived as redemptive existence.
Since for Joseph Ratzinger Revelation can never be fully confined to rational statements, it is nevertheless expressed in living praxis. This relates to his view of wisdom, Tradition, truth and the sensus fidei. Ratzinger focuses on embodied faith in Christian experience, the lives of the saints, New Ecclesial Movements and the plurality of different expressions of faith in synchronic unity.
This study encourages the reader to explore the Church as a sacrament of redemption through contextuality and embodiment. Through the writings of two authors with contrasting and yet complimentary approaches, it highlights the transformative potential of Christianity which can serve as a point of ecumenical learning.
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Part III: The Church as a Hermeneutical Community and the Place of Embodied Faith: From Necrophilia to Sacramentality


← 332 | 333 → PART III

The Church as a Hermeneutical Community and the Place of Embodied Faith: From Necrophilia to Sacramentality ← 333 | 334 →

← 334 | 335 → Following our examination of Mudge and Ratzinger’s understanding of the Church as a hermeneutical community and issues relating to embodied faith in Part II, in Part III we bring their views into dialogue. Our aim in doing so is to explore the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and its contribution to the interpretation of Revelation. We conclude Chapter Seven by offering principles to apply when demonstrating how embodied faith interprets Revelation. Secondly in Chapter Eight, we demonstrate how embodied faith interprets Revelation in three contexts with reference to our principles.

Recognising how human beings receive and appropriate Revelation within the communal context of the Church, can aid the Church become a more authentic sign of salvation to the world. However this is dependent on finding expressions of embodied faith which are life-giving and salvific. While interpreting embodied faith using phenomenological and sociological approaches can yield new insights and can be useful to access non-rational dimensions of knowledge, in this part of the book we ask how useful human sciences are in accessing and interpreting Revelation as it is received and expressed in human life as transformative and salvific. In bringing Mudge and Ratzinger’s views into dialogue, we aim to find and demonstrate a view of embodied faith that contributes to a more vital interpretation of Revelation as...

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