Sources and Methods, Final Exam Review

  1. How would you explain the distinction between the following: a. Faith in the full sense and faith in the strict sense? Faith in the full sense implies at least imperfect hope and love. However, faith in the strict sense, apart from hope and love, is insufficient by itself for salvation. b. Faith as act and faith as habit? Faith as act is a moment of personal insight and decision. Faith as habit is a change in attitude and orientation towards God.  c. Fides qua creditur and fides quae creditur? The faith by which we believe as opposed to the content of the faith in which we believe.
  2. How does the example of Abraham illustrate the Old Testament notion of faith? In the OT, faith is the response due to God. When God spoke to Abraham, he responded with obedience. E.g. traveling to Palestine, and offering up Isaac as a sacrifice.
  3. What is the importance of Isaiah 7:9 - and its later interpretations - for the relationship between faith and theology? Note that the LXX says "If you will not believe, surely you shall not understand." Augustine: "I believe in order to understand." Anselm: "Faith seeking understanding." True theology cannot be done without faith.
  4. How would you summarize the notion of faith according to the Old Testament? Faith according to the O.T. is the response due to God, the creator of heaven and earth, who - motivated by undeserved love - has chosen Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the people of Israel, gave them his promises, entered a covenant with them, and preserved his fidelity (emet) and loyal love (hesed) toward an unfaithful people. Faith as a response to God implies not only belief in His word, but also trust, hope, and faithful obedience.
  5. How would you explain the New Testament notion of faith, a. in light of the proclamation of Jesus? Jesus's proclamation of the Good News demands faith and conversion. Faith is the condition for healing and forgiving. b. in light of the early Apostolic proclamation (Acts)? The Apostle's called for faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord. c. in the theology of St. Paul (esp. Romans)? Faith is opposed to works of the law. d. in Johannine theology? Faith is the condition for eternal life. Faith is our response to God's undeserved love in Christ.
  6. How would you summarize the notion of faith according to the New Testament? Faith according to the New Testament includes all the elements found in the Old Testament, but gives them a definitive focus. God the Father's love is fully revealed and given to us in and through Jesus Christ in his life, teaching, death and resurrection. In the Spirit, through Christ the incarnate Son, we have definitive access to the Father and are called to participate in the very life of God.
  7. What is the place and context of the treatment of faith in St. Thomas' Summa Theolgiae? It is in the Second Part of the Second Part regarding man's return to God. It is in the context of moral theology based on the three theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues. Faith is the first theological virtue.
  8. What are the values and limits of the analogy of personal self-revelation on the human level for a deeper understanding of faith. God created human relationships such as fatherhood and brotherhood as an analogy for our relationships with God the Father and Jesus Christ. However, we must keep in mind the difference. Human persons are on an equal level essentially, whereas God is the Absolute Being, our Creator and Lord, who infinitely transcends us.
  9. List and explain briefly some of the fundamental characteristics of Christian faith. a) Faith is supernatural: as God's self-revelation so also faith is ultimately an undeserved gift of God; its certainty and firmness is qualitatively higher than that of any purely human conviction. b) The soteriological and eschatological character of faith: faith is the beginning of salvation: an inchoative but real participation in that divine life that will constitute our eternal blessedness.
  10. What light does the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church shed on the doctrine of "implicit faith"? It describes the possibility of salvation without explicit Christian faith. "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - these too may attain eternal salvation." (Lumen Gentium, ch. II, no. 16)
  11. What does the supernaturality of faith entail as to the motive of faith and its apprehension? It is by grace that we are motivated to believe, and are enabled to believe. Argument of reason alone will not bring a person to faith.
  12. What is the difference between the motive of faith and the motive of credibility? The certainty of faith is primarily by grace, but God also gives us reasons to believe, which gives the faith credibility, allowing us to be intellectually honest and morally reasonable.
  13. Explain the difference between an intuitive apprehension of credibility and its critical and systematic elaboration? There is a difference between having reasons to believe, being aware of the reasons, and being able to express the reasons in a critical and systematic way. For example, I know that I am my parents' child, and I have a lot of reasons to believe that. However, I have not created a systematic, critical analysis of all of the facts in order to prove it.
  14. To what extent is there a need for such an elaboration as mentioned in the previous question? The need is apologetic, primarily in answering hostile attacks of the faith, which claim it is unreasonable. Such attacks can weaken the faith of those who have not seen that the faith can stand up to a critical analysis. It may also be useful for those who are being drawn to the faith but have some intellectual barriers.
  15. What were the original meanings of the word "theologia" in Classical Antiquity? Plato used the term in a negative context refering to the mythology of the poets. Aristotle had a more positive use calling theology the "first philosophy", the highest part of theoretical science.
  16. How did the Greek Christian use of the term "theologia" as established from the fourth century onward different from the contemporary use of the term? Greek use of "theologia" meant more and less than our use of "theology". It was more because it included meditation, contemplation, prayer, and praise. It is less because it only focused on the nature of the Holy Trinity, while other parts of theology (creation, fall, Incarnation, Redemption) were treated under the title "oikonomia" - "economy".
  17. What are the three kinds of theology according to St. Augustine (following Varro), as explained in De Civitate Dei VI.5? 1) Mythical - that of the Poets; 2) Physical - that of the Philosophers; 3) Political - refering to the official religion of the Empire.
  18. What terms does Augustine use for theology as we understand it? "Our wisdom" (sapientia nostra) and "our philosophy" (philosophia nostra).
  19. When did "theologia" become in the Latin West a technical term with more or less the sense in which we use it today? The beginning of the 12th century.
  20. Why does Divine Revelation from its beginning imply theology, to some extent? The very act of believing Divine Revelation requires some amount of comprehension and understanding, which is the beginning of theology.
  21. In what sense can we speak of theology in the very proclamation of Jesus Himself? It is possible to do theology on the proclamation of Jesus that focuses on the particular words he used in the context of his actions. However, such theology should not be divorced from the context of Apostolic teaching about Jesus and later reflection of the Church.
  22. Of what theologies can we speak in the New Testament, following the chronological order of development (from the Apostolic proclamation to the Fourth Gospel)? The earliest theology is that of the kerygma of the primitive Church in Jewish times. After that the proclamation moved into a Hellenistic context. Next are the theologies expressed in the various books of the New Testament, beginning with the writings of St. Paul, then the Synoptic Gospels and other NT writings, and ending with the Fourth Gospel.
  23. What were the main human cultural resources of Patristic theology? Early Christianity drew from Jewish culture. From the Greek and Roman culture was taken rhetoric, literature, and some Hellenistic Philosophy, which was Stoicism as well as Middle- and Neo-Platonism.
  24. Instead of speaking of a "Hellenization of Christianity" in a pejorative sense, how and with what results did the Fathers make use of Hellenistic philosophy in their theology? Rather than Christianity being turned into Hellenism, Hellenistic philosophy was Christianized and used for apologetic and theological purposes. What was true in Hellenism was used, and the rest was ignored or adapted. The proof of this is that the Hellenistic and Christian concepts of God are radically different. Also, philosophical terms such as "physis" and "hypostasis" are somewhat redefined for their use in Christian theology.
  25. What were the main organizing principles of Patristic theology? The first organizing principle of Patristic theology is salvation history. Central to this is the "Economic Trinity", which looks at the three persons in the Godhead in their relationship to the work of salvation. God the Father saves the human race through Jesus Christ, the Son, in the Holy Spirit so that we may by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the mediation of Christ, have access to the Father. The second principle is Trinitarian Theology in terms of the "Immanent Trinity", which looks at the three persons in relation to themselves. The third is the hierarchy of being, which distinguishes different levels of being, with the primary division being uncreated and created. Among the created are the spiritual and material being, with human beings uniquely occupying both sides. The fourth principle is progress in the spiritual life, e.g. The Life of Moses by Gregory of Nyssa.
  26. Which branch of Christianity continued Greek Patristic theology? Byzantine theology until 1453; Eastern Orthodox theology in general, though with modifications and a certain anti-Latin, anti-Roman bias.
  27. What was the prevalent form of Medieval theology before (and partly parallel to) the rise of Scholasticism? Monastic Theology. What were its main characteristics? It was oriented toward fellow monks, consisting of in Biblical commentaries and teaching on Christian perfection and the progress in virtue. Characteristic of Monastic Theology is Lectio Divina (Divine Reading): Lectio (read), Meditatio (meditate), Oratio (pray), Contemplatio (contemplate).
  28. What are the main periods of Medieval Scholasticism? Early Scholasticism was in the eleventh and especially the twelfth centuries. High Scholasticism was in the thirteenth century. Late Scholasticism, with prevalent Nominalism was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
  29. What were the main factors contributing to the rise of Scholasticism? Urbanization, the rise of cathedral schools and universities, and the appropriation of the whole of Aristotle's philosophy.
  30. What was the most widely used "textbook" in Medieval Scholasticism? The Sentences of Peter Lombard, ca.1100-1160.
  31. How can High Scholasticism be characterized using the lectio - quaestio - disputatio - resolutio? This was the pattern of study in the schools. In some sessions, the professor (magister) would read and comment on a particular (lectio). But there were other sessions where the the professor would pose a question (quaestio) which was then debated by the other faculty and advanced students (disputatio). From this process, the students would learn skills of argument. Finally, the professor would provide a resolution (resolutio). This could cause a focus on resolving controversies and winning arguments, which is in contrast to the focus on spiritual development found in Patristic and Monastic Theology.
  32. Who were three of the greatest theologians - and founders of schools - in High Scholasticism? St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican, c. 1224-1274: Thomism; St. Bonaventure, Franciscan, 1217-1274: Neo-Augustinianism; John Duns Scotus, Franciscan, 1265-1308: Scotism.
  33. What was the most influential school of Late Scholasticism? The "Nominalism" of the Franciscan, William of Ockham, 1285-1347.
  34. What were the central philosophical and theological tenets of Nominalism? Nominalism doubted the existence of universal concepts. It did not reject Scripture, but it did reject the Theological/Philosophical synthesis which had been characteristic of earlier Theology. That is, Nominalism said that Theology should not be tainted by profane Philosophy, and that Philosophy done correctly should have no reference to Revelation.
  35. How would you characterize, from a theological point of view, the spirit and contributions of Renaissance Humanism (fifteenth and sixteenth centuries)? A return to the original languages, especially of Scripture, and an interest in history.
  36. When did the so-called Second Scholasticism flourish? The fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries.
  37. How could you characterize the theology of the Council of Trent, 1545-1563? The council was focused not only on countering the Protestant Reformation but on reform of the Catholic Church, based theologically on the positive fruits of Renaissance Humanism - like the recovery of Biblical and Patristic sources - and of Second Scholasticism, especially of Thomas Aquinas.
  38. How did a properly understood legitimate specialization within theology, especially Catholic, c. 1500-1700, lead to a deplorable separation between various theological disciplines? Specialization led to disintegration such that Dogmatic Theology did not refer to Scripture and Biblical Theology did not refer to doctrine. Other specializations such as Moral and Speculative Theology were similarly isolated. Rather than specializing in one discipline, but drawing from and informing the others, attention was exclusively focused within each division.
  39. What movements of renewal (ressourcement) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made way for Vatican II?
    1. The first is the Biblical Renewal began in the 19th century. Important to the beginning was Leo XIII's encyclical on the Study of Holy Scripture, Providentissimus Deus (1879) and the Modernist crisis (ca. 1900-1910). It was a recovery of both historical-critical study and theological (including spiritual) interpretation. It was Pius XII's encyclical, Divino afflante Spiritu (1943) that allowed limited use of the historical-critical method. The Vatican II Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) reflects this movement, as does the strong Biblical foundation of all of the Vatican II documents.
    2. The second is the Liturgical Movement, which began in the 19th century in connection with the Monastic renewal. It took on a stronger pastoral dimension since ca. 1900 (e.g. Piux X, Dom Lambert Beauduin, O.S.B.). The flowering of the movement, especially in Belgium, Germany, Austria, and France occured even during WWII. Pius XII's Mediator Dei (1947) had numerous reforms, including restoration of the Easter Vigil, reduction of the Eucharistic fast, and increased use of the vernacular. The Vatican II Constitution on the Liturgy indicated the central importance of worship in the life of the Church.
    3. The third is the Patristic Renewal, which was preceded by the work of John Cardinal Newman and the Tübingen school. From this movement in the 19th century came editions of the works of the Fathers: e.g. J.P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Latina (221 vols., 1844-1857); Patrologia Graeca (162 vols., 1857-1866) in France, as well as great series of vernacular translations. In the 20th century, editions and translations continued, and several theologians made Patristic theology and spirituality as relevant for today. E.g. Henri de Lubac, Jean Daniélou, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Hugo and Karl Rahner. This movement encountered opposition by Labourdette, Garrigou-Lagrange, and others who were concerned that it was "Nouvelle Théologie" (new theology). Pius XII in Humani Generis (1950) warned against some aspects of the Nouvelle Théologie, but the Patristic renewal continued. Vatican II was strongly influenced by Patristic sources (with frequent quotation). This is reflected in the doctrinal documents (on Revelation, Church, Liturgy) and the liturgical reform.
    4. The fourth is the Revival of Scholasticism, particularly Thomism, which began in the 19th century in the theological schools (Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, Seminaries, and Catholic Universities). The Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Filius (1870), on Faith and Reason followed Thomas Aquinas providing a balanced synthesis rejecting both Fideism and Rationalism. Shortcomings of this movement included sometimes an exclusivist mentality, having little understanding of the value of other movements in the Church. Contributions include the recovery of the authentic thought of Thomas Aquinas in both philosophy and theology, as both a traditional and original synthesis of faith and reason. It also confronted modern problems and dialogued with modern-contemporary thought.
  40. What movements of dialogue (aggiornamento) made way for Vatican II?
    1. Dialogue with Modern-Contemporary Philosophy, reflected in personalistic and existential tone of Vatican II documents. The need for dialog with contemporary thought confirmed in Training of Priests and Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.
    2. The Social Teaching of the Church, reacting to rapid economic, social, and political changes, and the rise of Marxism.
    3. Ecumenism started with non-Catholics and originally the Catholic Church had a negative attitude towards it. Gradually a more positive attitude developed in the 20th century.
  41. In spite of these preparatory movements, what was the prevailing method of most textbooks of Dogmatic Theology? Positive-Scholastic
  42. How would you summarize the proper theological understanding of Vatican II as opposed to conflicting misinterpretations? Vatican II must be seen in the light of these movements of Ressourcement and Aggiornamento as part of the natural development of the Church as she responds to a changing world. The common misunderstanding is that Vatican II is a radical break with the past, which generates two different reactions. The first is the conservative reaction that sees the Church as having taken a wrong turn with Vatican II, with traditionalist schisms being the extreme example. The second reaction is that Vatican II means we have a whole new church where anything goes, resulting in liturgical and theological "experimentation". Pope Benedict XVI is responding to both groups by emphasizing the continuity of the Church, before and after the council.
  43. How would you describe the scene of Catholic theology after the Second Vatican Council? Unfortunately, the reform movements that led up to the council did not continue after the council. In the Biblical movement, the Historical-Critical method dominated and the theological and spiritual aspect was lost. In the Liturgical movement, liturgical experimentation took place that looked outside of the Church to non-Catholic and secular inspirations rather than taking advantage of the insights into the liturgical tradition that had been gained in the previous decades. The Patristic movement also declined, although it began to be taken up again among non-Catholic Christians. However, as we enter the 21st century, we are seeing these down-turns reverse, with Biblical, liturgical, and Patristic renewals among the younger generations.
  44. What would be the lessons of history as to the use of philosophy by theology? Philosophy is a tool that can be adapted to serve Theology by providing ways to think of the truths that have been revealed to us. However, Theology must not conform itself to a Philosophy that is isolated from Revelation.
  45. What does the Vatican II Decree on Priestly Formation (Optatam Totius) say about the teaching of dogmatic theology? First the seminarian should be given a solid foundation in philosophy "guided by the philosophical tradition of lasting value" (N. 15), but then they should be taught to engage modern developments. This is in contrast to the typically closed nature of the pre-Vatican II Positive-Scholastic method. In theology, they are to be taught under the guidance of the Magisterium, including diligent study of the scripture, "which ought to be the very soul of all theology." The following order should be used, first treat the Biblical themes, then the Fathers, followed by later history of dogma, including its relation to the general history of the church. "Then, in order to throw the fullest light possible on the mysteries of salvation, let them learn through speculation guided by St. Thomas to enter into them more deeply and see how they are interconnected, to recognize how they are present and active in liturgical celebration and in the whole life of the church." (N. 16) This contrasts with the Positive-Scholastic method which starts with a dogma and finds proof texts from Scripture and Tradition to support it.
  46. How does Vagaggini describe the Christological-Trinitarian dialectic as found in the New Testament, the Early Fathers, and the Liturgy? How does this presentation of the economic trinity relate to the immanent Trinity? Vagaggini's concern is that typical Western thought does not take seriously enough the real distinction of the three Persons in God because of the Western tendency to first think of one God, and then trying to think of three persons. This way of thinking tends towards the God of the philosophers or of the Old Testament. His suggestion is that the New Testament, the Early Fathers, and the Liturgy begin with the three persons, and the unity of nature is then considered at a secondary level. He finds what he calls the "recapitulatory formula" of "a, per, in, ad" (Latin for "from, through, in, to") which refers to the idea that we receive grace and blessings from the Father, through Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, so that we have access to the Father. This pattern is found repeatedly in the NT, Early Fathers, and the Liturgy. This is the Economic Trinity, which sees the Trinity in relation to our salvation. However, we must not make the mistake of the process theologian that says that God needs us in order to be complete. The Immanent Trinity gives a view of the three persons in relation to each other, and shows that God is complete within himself, and does not need to create.