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The Divine-Human Communion

An Outline of Catholic Integral Ecclesiology

Andrzej Napiorkówski

This book contains a methodological fundamental-dogmatic study, which frames a comprehensive overview of the Church in the light of reason and faith. The understanding of the Church in the history of Christianity was – and still is – a subject of numerous misunderstandings, either among the believers themselves or those who observe it from the outside. Presenting the post-conciliar approach of the integral ecclesiology, the author puts a stronger emphasis on biblical origins and nature of the Church and on the split between the synagogue and the young community of followers of Jesus Christ. He expands the hallmarks of the Church from the usual four to five (Marianity) and displays a growing communio in practice and in ecclesial self-awareness.
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6. A Historical-Dogmatic outline of the Development of thought about the Church


6.  A Historical-Dogmatic outline of the Development of thought about the Church

This chapter deals with the development of the various self-interpretations of the Church throughout its history. In every age there has emerged a distinct understanding with regard to both the conception of the Church as an entity in itself and the concretisation of the Church in the life of its members. Throughout history these two dimensions of ecclesiology have mutually intersected whilst different approaches and emphases have tended towards concentration on some aspects at the expense of others. Occasionally they have merged in a more integral and balanced understanding.

Since this part of the study deals with a particular history of the development of thought, namely thought about the Church, we need first to consider the question of methodology. In general the methodology of history is nowadays focused on the essence of the historical process and what is actually meant by history. We must therefore ask the question ‘what is Church history?’ Is it just a part of general history or should it, because of its specific nature, be conceived differently? Also, what is the objective study and content of Church history, and in the light of that, what research method should it employ?183

In this present work we proceed on the assumption that Church history cannot be reduced to a mere sequence of historical events. It is not just a collection of rationally captured and described facts. Unfortunately, many...

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