The particularity of Jesus Christ: An analysis of revelation in the theologies of Karl Barth and Edward Schillebeeckx

Scott David Geis, Marquette University

Abstract

The idea that the divine, the one Christians refer to as "God," intruded into human history in the form of a man at a particular time and a particular place is a radical one. Karl Barth and Edward Schillebeeckx, two theologians who represent diverse theological and ecclesiological traditions, share many theological concerns which are constitutive of their respective programs. Among these concerns revelation is an important one. It is the aim of this project to initiate a dialogue between two apparently disparate theological perspectives on the subject of revelation. The intent of this dialogue involves an attempt to discover the extent to which Jesus is or is not the sole locus for God's revelation to humanity. This is to ask the question: Can others reveal God's self, or is this solely a divine privilege? We attempt to show that the extent to which Jesus is the central and sole or central and prime locus for God's revelatory activity, in the respective theologies of revelation of Barth and Schillebeeckx, both informs and guides their Christological development. The first chapter is devoted to constructing an historical framework whereby Barth and Schillebeeckx may be contextualized and hence better understood. We then consider Barth's notion of revelation as God's free act wherein He shows Himself--in the person of Jesus Christ alone--as the God who reconciles a sinful and lost humanity unto Himself. A subsequent chapter draws attention to the work of Schillebeeckx and his emphasis on the concrete and dynamic reality of human experience as the sphere within which the divine-human encounter occurs. All of this is done with a view to the final chapter where the perspectives of these two theologians are brought into explicit conversation, the one with the other. We argue in the conclusion that the seminal question for Barth is: Is Jesus God? Jesus Christ is the central and sole locus for God's revelation to humanity, since God alone can reveal God's self. In the case of Schillebeeckx, we contend that a more appropriate question is: Who is Jesus? He is the one who is about the Father's business. Insofar as one identifies oneself with the divine concern--a concern exemplified in the life of Jesus--that person reveals God's self. For Schillebeeckx, then, Jesus is the central and prime locus for God's revelatory activity.

Recommended Citation

Scott David Geis, "The particularity of Jesus Christ: An analysis of revelation in the theologies of Karl Barth and Edward Schillebeeckx" (January 1, 1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9626935.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9626935

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