Can Rahner Bridge the Linguistic Divide?

Document Type




Format of Original

21 p.

Publication Date

Fall 1979


Cambridge University Press

Source Publication


Source ISSN



Despite the extensive discussion about theological discourse in both the English-speaking world and in Europe, there have been few serious and extended attempts to relate Anglo-American philosophy and theology to Karl Rahner's "transcendental" perspective. Because of their difference in perspective each has much to offer the other. It is reasonable to hope that in bridging the gap between the two, we might make some progress in the still more formidable task of developing a Christian theology which would enable us to emerge from our linguistic ghettos to offer a more credible response to contemporary secular culture. The article warns, however, that the search for points of affinity between these two casts of mind can easily lead to a distortion of one perspective or the other, rather than to a genuine confrontation and dialogue. An examination of an attempt to find such points of affinity provides the occasion for disclosing Rahner's possible contribution to the discussion of religious language, while also demonstrating the limitations of any approach which seeks points of similarity without at the same time noting the fundamental difference between his perspective and that of some who represent Anglo-American thinking.


Horizons, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Fall 1979): 219-239. DOI.

Robert Masson was affiliated with Loyola College in Maryland at the time of publication.