John Macquarrie's theology of mediation

Hope Marie Hirshorn, Fordham University


Does God mediate God's self to humanity? This question is at the root of a wide spectrum of theological investigations. Yet, seldom does this question focus on the manner of God's self-communication—the "how" of the equation. This dissertation addresses this question by constructing a theology of mediation out of the work of John Macquarrie (1919–2007). Each chapter considers a different aspect of divine mediation. The first chapter reviews the state of the question of mediation and uses the biblical term mediator as a point of entry into the subject. Chapter Two explores how Macquarrie's understanding of incarnation may be used to construct a foundation for a theology of mediation and establishes Jesus as the Definitive Mediator. Chapter Three considers Macquarrie's claim that other signal individuals in history may also be considered mediators of religious reality and vehicles of God's self-communication. Chapter Four addresses the significant role Mary plays in the mediation debate and how Macquarrie's understanding of Mary as Mediatrix provides a new way to understand the Church as the locus of God's acting, the agent by which he incarnates himself in the world. Chapter Five considers Macquarrie's understanding of how God manifests God's self to humanity through creation and sacraments. Finally, chapter six offers my assessment of why this theology of mediation is important: John Macquarrie's theology of mediation provides a systematic way to express divine self-communication in time and in history. Mediation is God using the material world to convey divine presence to embodied human beings—an activity that can be explained without deviating from the natural order God created. The context is creation; the method is incarnation; the viewpoint is sacramental; the recipient is humanity; the pre-requisite is openness; and the possibilities are endless. While God's self-communication will always be a mystery, this theology of mediation articulates the divine gift of Being in terms which can resonate with believers and non-believers alike and offers a message of hope for all who desire to find God in this ambiguous world.

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Recommended Citation

Hirshorn, Hope Marie, "John Macquarrie's theology of mediation" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3495891.