Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Matthew L. Lamb
Joseph A. Bracken
Keith J. Egan
The function of Christian doctrine in one's life has long been of interest and concern to me. The study of the works of two eminent, twentieth century theologians, Paul Tillich and Bernard Lonergan, reinforced my tentative position that, indeed, at the very root of all theological doctrines is either an implicit or explicit position on subjectivity and objectivity. I became convinced that by not starting at the very beginning in the treatment of doctrine - with the question of the relationship of subjectivity and objectivity - one risked contributing even more to the contemporary confusion surrounding the teaching and appropriation of Christian doctrine. The study of these two theologians also reinforced my initial insight that differing theological methods, themselves based on particular understandings of subjectivity and objectivity, lead to real and significant difference in the manner in which one explains Christian doctrine, and that such differing explanations promote different positions concerning the theory and praxis of Christian life.
Further, in pursuing this foundational question of subjectivity and objectivity, I discovered that it gave coherence to my other theological interests such as the place of symbolism in religion and the question of the discernment of God's Will. This latter question, God's Will, was initially to be the subject of this dissertation. In the actual work, the specific mention of the notion of God's Will is relegated to a few sentences and a footnote in Chapter IV. In a larger sense, though, if my original assertion that all theological understanding is grounded in one's understanding of the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity is correct, this dissertation has indeed provided insight into the· notion of God's Will.
The works of Paul Tillich and of Bernard Lonergan augmented my interest in this question and provided material for the development of my thesis. My interest, however, developed into this dissertation only as a result of the encouragement and confidence provided by the community of scholars in which it was begun and completed. Scholars can be found everywhere, but the expression "community of scholars" took on real meaning for me in the continually supportive relationships offered me both by the faculty at Marquette University, and the graduate students with whom I had the privilege of associating.