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Modern Theology

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This article argues that Erich Przywara’s analogical understanding of the nature-grace relationship, though sometimes thought to align with the anti-extrinsicist positions of Blondel, de Lubac, and Balthasar, differs from these by virtue of its “parallax” view. The standard bearers of the nouvelle théologie hold that Aquinas teaches a natural desire for the beatific vision and deny, more generally, the utility of the concept of pure nature for safeguarding the gratuity of the supernatural. Przywara, by contrast, holds that Aquinas, like the Christian tradition more broadly, alternates between theoretical lines of sight, with the result that the capacity for the beatific vision appears to lie, by turns, both in and beyond human nature. This apparent difference of position is what this article calls the “parallax” effect. According to Przywara, one attains the least inadequate view of nature and grace by entering the “rhythm” of mutual correction between various perspectives. Though he refines his articulation of this rhythm across the course of his career, Przywara consistently upholds the concept of pure nature as a legitimate theological Konstruktionsprinzip and salutary corrective to “intrinsicist” accents. The complete picture of nature and grace thus lies in the interplay of the various ecclesially approved theological traditions.


Accepted version. Modern Theology, Vol. 37, No. 4 (October 2021): 865-887. DOI. © 2021 Wiley. Used with permission.

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