08 April 2008

analogia entis

I returned Sunday night from a conference in DC on the analogy of being, sponsored by the Dominican House of Studies and the John Paul II Cultural Center, both on the campus of Catholic University.

In addition to a couple occasions of wonderful worship with the Dominican community and their gracious hospitality, the symposium was really very stimulating and helpful intellectually and theologically.

There were presentations from John Betz (Loyola College, Baltimore), Martin Bieler (University of Berne), Peter Casarella (DePaul University), Michael Hanby (John Paul II Institute), David Bentley Hart (Providence College), Reinhard Hütter (Duke Divinity School), Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary), Bruce Marshall (Perkins School of Theology at SMU), Richard Schenk OP (Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology), John Webster (Kings College, Aberdeen), and Thomas Joseph White OP (Dominican House of Studies). Thus speakers represented Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Reformed traditions. In addition to the speakers, the audience included all sorts of top-notch thinkers, who really enriched the discussion.

In some respects, the basic axis of conversation was between Roman and Reformed, particularly given a certain sort of Reformed suspicion of natural theology and of any knowledge of God or of any "God" who is revealed outside of and prior to our knowledge of God in Christ. Among Reformed theologians, such a perspective is articulated most forcefully and winsomely by Karl Barth.

Given this dynamic, I think there was a fruitful convergence between conversation partners on the fundamentally christological character of the analogia entis. Söhngen and Balthasar, in particular, give a more strongly christological reading of the analogy, placing it within the context of the analogia fidei, as explicating the logic of Nicaea and Chalcedon, a christological trend one might discern as well in the later Przywara.

At any rate, that's only the merest sketch of some aspects of the symposium. I hope to return to the topic sometime in the next week and provide some deeper reflections on several of the presentations.