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The ‘Other’ in Karl Rahner’s Transcendental Theology and George Khodr’s Spiritual Theology

Within the Near Eastern Context


Sylvie Avakian

According to Karl Rahner’s transcendental theology, God is present in the inner reality of every being. Salvation is therefore possible for all. The author proposes a hermeneutical key to be applied on Rahner’s works, based on the assumption that there are two different theological motives or claims in Rahner’s theology. Furthermore the author presents George Khodr’s position concerning the non-Christian religions, particularly Judaism and Islam, within the contemporary Near-Eastern context. Khodr, based on the Patristic heritage of the Eastern Church, makes salvation possible for the ‘Other’ – Christ is the horizon of every human yearning for love and freedom. The ‘Other’ in this sense is the symbol for divine presence in one’s life. It is the very recognition of God, seeing God in the face of the ‘Other’.


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III. George Khodr and the Contemporary Near Eastern Theology


“There is only one God who from beginning to end, through various economies, comes to the help of mankind.” Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. III, 12.13)298 1. Introduction: George Khodr (1923- ) George Khodr is a Lebanese contemporary thinker and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Mount Lebanon. He is a prolific writer and one of the most inspiring spiritual leaders who has played a transformative role in the Orthodox Christianity in the Near East during the last decades. Khodr was born in Tripoli in the year 1923. In the beginning of his so-called ‘autobiography’299 Khodr refers to the Islamic quarter in Tripoli, where he was born and lived during his childhood and youth. He recalls how he used to see the assembled Muslims praying in the mosque on his way home from school. Khodr tells how his family left the Christian quarter, rat al-narah, where his grandfather lived, and moved to the Islamic area, having faith and trust in the Muslims. Even though he never lived in the Christian quarter, Khodr says: “I used to feel the burden of long epochs on us, the Christians, who were put there in that corner.”300 This departure from the “Christian quarter” symbolizes in Khodr’s thought the Christians’ coming out of their own isolated ghettoes in the Arab world, so that they may participate and be involved in the general affairs of their countries. Christ abolished rat al-narah, the Christian quarter, just as he abolished rat al-yahd, the Jewish quarter, claims Khodr.301 Khodr attributes the...

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