Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

William J. Kelly

Second Advisor

Patrick J. Burns

Third Advisor

Paul G. Stockhauser


The question of the relation of faith and reason, in the form in which it confronts modern men, was one of the central issues of the Modernist crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. The development of the historical and scientific method forced scholars, since the nineteenth century, to consider this question in light of the new awareness of the relativity of all historical events, including those events at the foundation of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. This study is an attempt to describe the modalities of the issue as it appeared to one of the major figures of the Modernist movement, Alfred Loisy. Loisy's attempts to answer this question, which were rejected by the Church, appear inadequate in the light of more recent developments in theological thinking. However, the problem itself, as he confronted it, continues to be a significant issue for theologians.

This study is limited to a description of Loisy's view of the problem and his attempts to solve it, as seen in his published writings. His awareness of relativity and historicity is seen as central to his consideration of faith. The tracing of the scholarly influences which contributed to the formation of his thought is beyond the scope of this study. In addition, no attempt has been made to deal with the question of his sincerity during his last years in the Church; although this question has concerned most of the critics of Loisy's thought, it is a non-theological issue.



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