Europaeische Gesellschaft fuer Katholische Theologie
ET Bulletin vol:2005 pages:37-60
A contemporary Western-European theology, which reflects on the mutual involvement of faith and context, is challenged by the so-called transformation of religion in Europe. In this contribution, L. Boeve proposes to analyse today’s context no longer in terms of secularisation, but in terms of detraditionalisation and pluralisation. Both of these processes have changed considerably the place and perception of religious traditions in Europe. Consequently, he draws his attention to a specific characteristic of this transformation of religion, which appears to have affected the way in which both believers and non-believers perceive religion, and thus Christian faith: the rise of an indeterminate religiosity. The latter could be analysed as a culturally motivated apophatic theology, pointing to ‘something more’, which is at the other side of language and particular religious discourse. The feeling that there is indeed ‘something more’, on the one hand, results from the uneasiness with which people are left after the disenchantment of the world. On the other hand, this ‘something more’ is also perceived as the religious ground or experience to which the plurality of both classic religions and new religious imagery and practices would testify. Such negative-theological tendencies, moreover, are not only present in some theologies of culture, but also in a lot of fashionable contemporary philosophical-theological thinking. Boeve critically examines these tendencies and points to their ambiguities as well as their opportunities for a theological reflection. Finally, he contrasts this culturally motivated apophatic theology with the tenets of a theologically motivated apophatic theology, for which there is no apophasis without cataphasis. From this observation on, he develops the notion of ‘interruption’ as a theological-epistemological category to reconceive of the link between faith and contemporary culture – a category which enables joint consideration of both the continuity and discontinuity between the two, and would offer opportunities to elaborate on a critical theological hermeneutics at work both ad intra and ad extra. As a conclusion, he briefly refers to the role of theology in the public forum.