Abstracts numero 2004/4

Articles varia

  • - La question du Jésus historique chez Ernst Käsemann revisitée à partir de la « troisième quête »
  • During the 1950s, under the influence of Ernst Käsemann, a « second quest of the historical Jesus » resumed in its own way the quest which occupied liberal theology and secular culture from the Enlightenment throughout the 19th century. Pierre GISEL outlines its profile, its context, and outcomes, thus revisiting 19th century research (Strauss, Harnack, etc.) and what stopped it after WWI. Situating this from the perspective of the « third quest » initiated in the United States two decades ago, characterised by a non-canonical approach and a deeper understanding of the diversity within 1st century Judaism, he raises some fundamental theological questions.


  • - Autobiographie et adhésion. Sur deux récits de Conrad
  • This article is a companion piece to a previous one (« L’évêque, le lièvre et le chien« , ETR 2002-3) on Augustine’s great autobiography. Michel Despland examines here two fictitious autobiographical narratives written by the novelist Joseph Conrad. In spite of all the differences (Conrad is an atheist and he wrote fictions), some important similarities can be discerned. Both his tales are stories of passage, if not of conversion. The protagonists and the readers emerge with significant cognitive gains, a greater wisdom and mastery, and a form of peace in their heart. And some form of grace is to be found in the margins.

  • - Entre résurrection et croix : nommer l’évènement selon Paul (1 Corinthiens 15)
  • The Christian subject does not find his origin in himself, but in an event situated between the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event is specifically related to language. On a theological level, it is at the crossroads of three fundamental concepts: subject, event, and language. What does it mean to become the subject of an event ? How do the Cross and the Resurrection relate to each other ? Guilhen Antier analyses the way Paul deals with these complex issues in 1 Corinthians. In particular, he shows why and how the Resurrection must be regarded as the foundation of a theology of the Cross.

  • - Benjamin-Sigismond Frossard et Guillaume de Félice : deux théologiens protestants anti-esclavagistes
  • The struggle against slave trade was the largest humanitarian issue of the 19th century. French historiography lists the names of some famous abolitionists celebrated by the Republic. Others have remained behind the scenes. Among them some laymen, but also Reformed ministers and theologians such as Benjamin-Sigismond Frossard (1754-1830) and Guillaume de Félice (1803-1871) were important actors in the shaping of a French abolitionist opinion. Jean-François Zorn evokes the part they played and shows the link between their political analysis, ethical claims and theological convictions.

Socialisme Religieux : Questions à Paul Tillich (II)

  • - La justice créatrice dans les écrits de Tillich sur le socialisme et dans Amour, pouvoir et justice
  • In both his German writings on religious socialism and in his American writings on social ethics, Paul Tillich affirms the ethical ideal of creative justice, a higher form of justice enacted through transforming love. Creative justice is grounded in the affirmation of the power of being in all beings, the ontological interdependence of power, love, and justice, and the breaking in of divine love and justice. Experienced as grace, divine love and justice overcome fragmentarily the ambiguities of ordinary love and justice. Mary Ann Stenger explores the ontological and theological bases of Tillich’s theory of creative justice and critiques his political applications in terms of the differentiation in political power. For creative justice to be effective, both those with more power and those who are marginalized must listen to the other, forgive (but not forget) past injustices, and use whatever power they have to develop more just political structures.

  • - Le socialisme religieux de Tillich comme ressource pour une éthique sociale pragmatiste aujourd’hui
  • In order to work out a pragmatist social ethic  specifically, a religiously driven rule-utilitarianism or rule-agapism  Robison B. James makes use of Tillich’s religious socialism in two contrasting ways.  His paper argues that bourgeois existence not only includes the dogmatic and ruthless pursuit of profits, as the Marxist Tillich thought. It also includes « the other side of Adam Smith », namely, a population with the moral sentiments that make it possible for an efficient, competitive economic system to exist. A Tillichian view that is revised on this point is quite relevant today : it can see how some of the social transformations Tillich thought would not take place without a revolution have been taking place in bourgeois societies in a slow and gradual « kairos ». (2) Certain ideas of Tillich’s help to resolve two long-standing conundrums in utilitarian ethical theory. (a) Tillich’s idea that opposite « polar » qualities are intrinsic to everything – e.g., both freedom and destiny – can make clear the difference between moral and nonmoral values, i.e., between the conduct and social arrangements that are obligatory, and the experiences and conditions that we wish to maximize and enjoy in human life. And (b) whereas utilitarianism appears to say we ought to be unjust to some limited group if that would maximize overall good, religious utilitarianism has grounds for avoiding this result if it understands God as immanent in a Tillichian way.

  • - Doctrine sociale et théologie de la libération : le débat autour du socialisme
  • Jean Richard shows how the « religious socialism » which Tillich developed in a protestant context in the 1920s can help resolving the latent conflict between the « social doctrine of the Catholic Church » and the « liberation theology » which originates in the Third World countries, and particularly Latin America. At the heart of the debate are the questions raised by Marxist socialism. How to interpret it ? What is its relationship with the Christian Gospel ? How must the Church receive it ?

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