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The Cosmopolitanism of Roman Catholic Theology and the Challenge of Cultural Particularity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 March 2013

Francis Schüssler Fiorenza
Harvard Divinity School


The argument that I wish to make here was first presented at a German conference whose working title was “Glauben nach the Moderne: Deutsch-amerikanische Intellktuellendiskurse.” That title posed both an interrelated ambiguity and a challenge. The ambiguity stemmed from the contrasting meanings of the preposition nach. Did nach mean “according to,” so that the major topic concerned “faith in relation to modernity” or “faith within the conditions of modernity”? Or did nach mean “afterwards,” so that the issue was faith after modernity in the sense of “post-” modernity? If the former, then the conditions of modernity pose the challenge to faith. If the latter (as postmodern theorists argue), then today's situation constitutes a critique of modernity which establishes the contemporary conditions of faith. This contrast formulates for me the challenge of articulating the possibilities of a theological dialogue and exchange between European culture and Anglo-American culture on the subject of cosmopolitanism and theology.

Editorial Essays
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2008

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