Being as Symbol

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176 pp., 6 x 9
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780878407927 (0878407928)


December 2000
LC: 00-026367

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Table of Contents
Reviews


Being as Symbol
On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner's Metaphysics
Stephen M. Fields, SJ
One of the most important theologians of the modern era, Karl Rahner is best known for his efforts to make Christianity credible in light of the intellectual questions of modern culture. Stephen M. Fields, SJ, now explains how Rahner developed his metaphysics as a creative synthesis of Thomism and the modern philosophical tradition.

Focusing on Rahner's core concept of the Realsymbol, which posits all beings as symbolic, Fields establishes the place of the Realsymbol in philosophical theories of the symbol. He particularly concentrates on those key aspects of Rahner's metaphysics-his theories of finite realities and language—that have received insufficient attention.

By examining a wide range of Rahner's works in the context of twelve medieval, modern, and contemporary thinkers, Fields locates the origins of this seminal thinker's metaphysics to an extent never before attempted. He notes the correlations that exist between the Realsymbol and such work as Aquinas's theory of the sacraments, Goethe's and Hegel's dialectics, Moehler's view of religious language, and Heidegger's aesthetics.

Through this analysis, Fields reveals the structural core of Rahner's metaphysics and shows how art, language, knowledge, religious truth, and reality in general are all symbolic. Being as Symbol opens new perspectives on this important thinker and
positions him in the broader spectrum of philosophical thought.
Stephen M. Fields, SJ, is an associate professor of theology at Georgetown University.
Reviews
"The particular merit of this book is to present the wider philosophical, theological, and literary canvas from which a more comprehensive perspective of Rahner's metaphysics can be attained."—Theological Studies



"Interesting and illuminating..This is a volume that will particularly interest specialists in the transcendental traditions of in Rahner's philosophy and theology."—Journal of Religion



"Fields's discussion goes to the heart of Rahner's fundamental theology. . . . He assists the reader in uncovering the theoretical basis of Rahner's thought from the intricate web of historical and philosophical issues. A worthy but challenging task!."—Louis Dupré, Yale University

Table of Contents
Preface

Introduction
Method
Conclusions

Realsymbol as Analogous
Analogy and Symbol in Neo-Thomism
Blondel
Maréchal
Conclusions

Realsymbol as Sacramental
Sacramental Theory in Thomism
Sacramental Theory in Rahner
Conclusions

Realsymbol as Self-Perfecting
Metaphysics of Becoming in Rahner
Self-Perfection in Goethe
Self-Perfection in Hegel
Conclusions

Realsymbol as Embodied Thought
Realsymbol and Möhler
Realsymbol and Heidegger
Conclusions

Afterword
Notes
Bibliography
Index