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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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V. Conclusion: A Possible Christian Theology That Has a Place for the‘Other’


253 V. Conclusion: A Possible Christian Theology That Has a Place for the ‘Other’ It has not been the purpose of this study to reduce the contributions of Rahner and Khodr to a few main theories or theological paradigms. Any individual claim would not be fairly understood without consideration of the whole theological construction of each writer. Nevertheless, in the process of my presentation I have attempted to pinpoint to some of Rahner’s and Khodr’s major contributions to the field of Theology of Religions, and Christian Theology in general. Rahner’s turn to the human being, his assertion of the transcendental experience, the ‘supernatural existential’, God’s radical self-communication, and Khodr’s apophatic theology, his claim of universal salvation based on the actualization of human freedom – these concepts all hint at the profound theologies that stand behind them. Further, Khodr’s theology of the Logos and his pneumatological paradigm, for which he returns to the very sources of Christian faith, making use of the rich Patristic tradition of the early centuries, are particularly important contributions to a future Christian Theology, in the Near East, which has a place for the ‘Other’. In the course of interaction with and analysis of Rahner’s and Khodr’s work, I have employed the critical method, posing questions and suggesting new hermeneutical keys, maintaining that through such critical analysis, one is able to reserve the theological contribution of the past and add to it what can further be said in relation to one’s contemporary situation. Through the concise presentation of...

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