Theocentric Christology : Defended and Transcended

Knitter, Paul

Having read and pondered S. Mark Heim's critical analysis of No Other Name?, together with the commentaries on his analysis, I am grateful and honored, as well as sobered and challenged. "Thanks, I needed that," best captures my overall feeling. I wrote the book in order to raise some roadsigns for exploring what I consider a pressing problem for Christians; and, though Heim and others think my roadsigns are pointing in the wrong direction, they certainly have carried on the exploration. Even if they have not converted me from my erroneous ways, they have enabled me, with their revealing criticisms and no-way-out questions, to clarify and redirect the way I want to go. Mainly, they have helped me recognize that the best way to defend a theocentric model for Christology and interreligious dialogue may be to transcend it. A pluralist theology of religions is still very much in the making. While I cannot respond to all the issues, both critical and supportive, that were raised in this collection, I can cover most of the principal concerns by examining what appear to be the two main roadblocks that these critics have erected to a theocentric approach. They are telling me that such an approach "does not work" and that it "is not Christian." In the terminology of Schubert Ogden and revisionist theologians, my model falters on criteria of adequacy to human experience and of appropriateness to Christian tradition. Diehard revisionist that I am, I have to take such criticisms seriously.



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Journal of Ecumenical Studies

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Union Theological Seminary
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April 11, 2012