Rahner's literary output was prodigious - even by 1974 it had reached almost 3,000 publications, including translations - and for the student approaching his work for the first time it can be a daunting task to know exactly where to begin. It is with this problem in mind that the following comments and selections have been made.
One danger for students approaching Rahner is that his often dense writing style will prove off-putting and result in a reliance solely on the extensive secondary literature. Such an approach, however, only leads to an impoverished understanding of Rahner. Moreover, it overlooks the fact that underlying themyriad of theological themes that he explores are a few basic convictions. Some of these are articulated in the last public address he gave prior to his death in March 1984, “Experiences of a Catholic Theologian,” included in this volume.
Rather than beginning there, an easier place to start is with a series of interviews he gave over a number of years (Karl Rahner in Dialogue: Conversations and Interviews 1965–1982, trans. and ed. H. Biallowons, H. D. Egan, S.J., and P. Imhof, S.J., New York: Crossroad, 1986). These interviews comprise an overview of many of the themes in Rahner’s theology in an engaging style. The passion and personality of Rahner come more to the fore than in his Theological Investigations. A further series of interviews towards the end of his life is contained in Faith in a Wintry Season: Interviews and Conversations with Karl Rahner in the Last Years of his Life, 1982–84 (trans. and ed. H. Biallowons, H. D. Egan, S.J., and Paul Imhof, S.J., New York: Crossroad, 1990).