The theological method of Walter Kasper

Patricia Ann Plovanich, Fordham University


Walter Kasper is one of the most renowned Catholic theologians today. Yet his work attracts little notice in American Catholic theological circles because only a small portion of his extensive bibliography is available in English translation. In an effort to bring Kasper's thought to American readers, this study explores his systematic theology by examining his theological method. Chapter I reviews Kasper's writings on theological method. This chapter identifies a common theme in these sources, his proposal to use historical thought to effect a new synthesis of faith and reason for modern theological reflection. Kasper's efforts to achieve this synthesis are a key to understanding his thought. However, he has not developed the historical categories he uses in a separate prologomenon to his work. This study's examination of his method identifies and explains the philosophical and theological categories his work presupposes. Chapters II and III examine the philosophical basis of Kasper's theology. Chapter II discusses his explanation of historical existence and the philosophical categories he uses for theological reflection. Chapter III examines the epistemology his work presupposes, his explanation of historical experience. This chapter also explores the ways Kasper discusses the problem of truth in history. Chapters IV and V discuss the theological foundations of Kasper's thought. Chapter IV examines the theological anthropology he constructs on the basis of his description of historical experience. It identifies the way Kasper explains the human obediential potency for God and notes the categories he uses to speak about God. Chapter V reviews his explanation of the historical character of divine revelation and its mediation in history through human faith. This chapter summarizes Kasper's account of divine revelation in Jesus Christ. Chapter VI examines the specific contours of Kasper's method itself. It describes his explanation of tradition, of theological truth, and of the historical criteria for faith. The chapter also exposes his theological hermeneutic and gives an outline of the method itself. Chapter VII is a brief review of the relationship between Kasper's philosophical and theological thought. It considers the achievements of his theological method and gives a brief critique of his theological thought as well.

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Recommended Citation

Plovanich, Patricia Ann, "The theological method of Walter Kasper" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9020020.