José Luis Illanes e-mail(Inicie sesión)

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Illanes, José Luis e-mail(Inicie sesión)


Modern culture, marked as it is by an intense preoccupation with man, is criss-crossed in addition by filaments of thought which tend to reduce all knowledge to knowledge about man, to anthropology. Do these two ways of looking at things really go logically together? From the theological standpoint, what is the nature of the science which we call theology, and what is the place in of the reference to man? What are the relations between anthropology and theology?

These are the questions which Prof. Illanes puts to himself. He begins by examining the nature of anthropological knowledge, its genesis and characteristics. The anthropological problem is a sapiential problem, which aspires to ultimate solutions. In this self-interrogation of man about himself, a central place is occupied, on the scientific level, by the phenomenological point of view, by means of which the existential dimensions of human experience are grasped. This point of view, though, is not complete, and it is impossible to evade the necessity of advancing to the metaphysical level, where the direction taken by every anthropological system is determined.

It is precisely to the metaphysical level that the problem raised by the questions initially propounded belongs. The reduction of all knowledge to knowledge about man depends, in the resort, on metaphysical principles of the idealist type. At this point, the author proceeds to examine the so-called anthropological inversion of theology, within which he distinguishes two divisions: a) the reduction of theology to anthropology, as postulated particularly by Feuerbach; and b) the anthropological twist in theology, as advocated in somewhat different tones by Bultmann, Tillich or Rahner.

After having criticized these types of approach, and shown the substantive nature of theology, Prof. Illanes analyses the relations between theology, as thus established, and anthropology. One datum provides his point of departure: revelation is a word addressed by God to man, who, as recipient of the message, is involved in it. There is therefore an anthropological element in every theological statement, since man, in theology, is presented as a being with the capacity to receive this message and to be affected by it. This anthropological element, though, does not imply the reduction of theology to anthropology or an anthropological twist in theologizing, since man is an open being who precisely fulfils himself in his openness to what is distinct from him. The truth of creation and the gratuitousness of the call to communication with God constitute the axis of this section of the argument, until he final conclusion is reached: anthropology is neither the only nor the supreme type of knowledge, since it is not self-sufficient and needs, if it is to enlighten man about himself, to be attentive to knowledge of other kinds, and especially to knowledge about God and from God, that is to say, to theology; theology, in a word, transcends anthropology, and provides its basis.


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