Date of Award

Fall 2003

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hinze, Bradford

Second Advisor

Barnes, Michel

Third Advisor

Laurance, John


I claim in my dissertation that post-Vatican Council II conflicts regarding the nature and mission of the church can be traced to the failure to adequately understand the relationship between the apologetic and dogmatic tendencies that have been a part of contemporary Roman Catholic ecclesiological method, specifically as it has developed from Vatican Council I through the twentieth century. To support this claim, I look at the relationship between apologetic defenses of the church as guarantor of Christian truth claims and the definition of the church as part of revealed truth in three key periods: the Modernist period: the period of ressourcement theology; and the period of Vatican Council II. Postconciliar conflicts regarding ecclesiological method are not a natural outcome of Vatican Council II, which presented an accurate method for ecclesiology by holding in tension the apologetic and dogmatic accounts of the church; rather, an overview of key twentieth-century developments shows that conflicts arise from attempts to develop a synthesis position, one which collapses the dogmatic definitions of the church into an apologetic framework.



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