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Freedom Freed by Hope

A Conversation with Johann B. Metz and William F. Lynch on the ‘Identity Crisis’ in the West

Alberto Dominguez Munaiz

A hopeless individual is more vulnerable and is threatened with indifference, meaninglessness, apathy, anxiety, stress, and despair. Are there symptoms of this in the West? Is it an individual phenomenon or has it been historically-culturally transmitted?

This book analyzes, from an interdisciplinary perspective (psychology, sociology, neuroscience, philosophy, theology), how hope contributes to forming a mentally healthy and mature identity. But what hope? Is this just for moments of despair? Can hope free imagination, enlarge desires and rehabilitate the zest for life? Is there a phenomenology of hope?

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Chapter 2: The Role of Hope in Metz and Lynch’s Theological Anthropology


Chapter 2The Role of Hope in Metz and Lynch’s Theological Anthropology

I will now study the theological anthropology of J. B. Metz and W. F. Lynch in order to explore the place of hope in their theological thinking. On the one hand, Metz’s theology wants to integrate the whole of reality, not just one part of the history of those who have survived or succeeded, to think an individual who is worth also for its responsibility upon unjust suffering. Metz, rooted in biblical traditions, suggests a spirituality based on an apocalyptic hope: looking to the victims of history to resist, transform, and build structures more in line with the Kingdom of God. In comparison, Lynch, who also develops an anthropology rooted in human vulnerability does so by focusing on the ability to trust the world and others to receive God’s grace. Lynch is focused on the human disposition to trust the world, to receive grace. Lynch deploys a phenomenology of hope by analyzing symptoms of hopelessness with psychoanalysis as a reference.

On the other hand, Metz is sometimes criticized for being too pessimistic or for proposing a stoic, ascetic Christianity. These criticisms may be due to the fact that he does not fully describe the elements of that spirituality i.e. he does not develop its characteristics and psychological tools. Therefore, it will be worthwhile exploring the phenomenology of hope that Lynch proposes and placing it in dialogue with the contributions of Metz.

2.1Johann B....

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