On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Church


On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Church



In the present day, there is widespread confusion regarding the theological achievements of the Catholic Enlightenment. This book outlines such contributions in the fields of biblical exegesis, church reform, liturgical renewal, and the move toward a more tolerant view of other churches and religions. Since some of the most important Catholic Enlighteners lived in Germany, this book concentrates on their endeavors, but also frequently points to other European players. Only an unpolemical historical assessment of the Catholic Enlightenment can help us to get out of the current gridlock of interpreting Vatican II: was there a break with tradition, or was there continuity? By reviewing the historical debates that preceded Vatican II, the unknown, marginalized, or deliberately forgotten roots of the conciliar debates come to light that can help us fine-tune future hermeneutical endeavors. This history is hitherto unknown to most researchers. Indeed, it is possibly the most neglected field of modern literary history



Publication Date



Fortress Press






Table of Contents

Series Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

1.Introduction 1

pt. I Definitions of Catholic Enlightenment

2.What is Catholic Enlightenment? Some Characteristics 25

3.The "Heresy-Hunting" of the Obscurantists and the "Martyrdom" of the Enlighteners: Forgotten Characteristics of Anti-Enlightenment and Catholic Enlightenment 43

pt. II Ecumenism and Theological Pluralism as Main Tenets of the Catholic Enlightenment

4.Ghosts of Westphalia: Fictions and Ideals of Ecclesial Unity in Enlightenment Germany 63

5.Enlightenment and Ecumenism: Beda Mayr (1742--94) 83

6.A Tolerant Theology? Catholic Irenicism, Pluralism, and Indifferentism 111

pt. III Church Reform

7.Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim's Febronius: A Censored Bishop and His Ecclesiology 143

8.On the Way to Sacrosanctum Concilium: The Liturgical Renewal of the Eighteenth Century 171

pt. IV Catholic Exegesis and the Challenge of Enlightenment Criticism

9.The Bible among Catholic Enlighteners 193

10.The Conundrums of Eighteenth-Century Catholic Biblical Scholarship and J. L. Isenbiehl's Interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 239

11.Apocalypse 2014---Post-Tridentine Catholic Exegesis of Revelation: The Futurist Commentary of Alphonsus Frey (1762) 279

12.Apocalypse, Enlightenment, and the Beginning of Salvation History: The Ecumenical Friendship of J. J. Hess and A. Sandbichler 307

13.Moses and Apollo: The Beginnings of Comparative Religionsgeschichte in Catholic Exegesis 332

Bibliography 353

Publication Credits 391

Index of Names 395

On the Road to Vatican II: German Catholic Enlightenment and Reform of the Church