One of the central elements of Karl Rahner’s theology is the affirmation that God offers salvation to every human being and, in so doing, empowers each of us to say “yes” to this holy vocation. This divine-human dialogue of offer and response is the heart of Rahner’s understanding of Christian faith. In this book, Shannon Craigo-Snell explores what it means to say “yes” to God in Rahner’s theology. Drawing on a variety of his writings, Craigo-Snell focuses on three moments in human freedom that Rahner repeatedly points to in describing how we say “yes” to God: silence, love, and death.
In Rahner’s theology, the theme of silence is often used to mark a posture of openness to the mysterious other, both human and divine, which is a primary characteristic of what it is to be human. This openness to the other is concretely realized in love, such that human identity is both gift received and task accomplished. Further, this self-possessing openness to the other is fully actualized in an eternal inter-communion. Rahner’s discussions of eschatology do not center on an affirmation of the immortality of the individual soul, but rather paint a portrait of communally sanctified humanity that draws us forward into ourselves, our community, and God. Attending to these three ways of saying “yes” to God generates an understanding of Rahner’s theology as neither modern nor postmodern, but rather a challenging alternative vision that can be a vital resource for contemporary feminist theologies.
Shannon Craigo-Snell is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, specializing in Modern Christian Thought. She offers courses on feminist theologies, political and liberation theologies, theology and power, and theology and theater. She has published articles and essays on popular culture, performance interpretation, and feminist theology. Her current research focuses on intersections between theater studies and ecclesiology.