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Systematische Theologie: Dogmatik
La verità crocifissa. Il pensiero cristiano di fronte all’alterità.
Rom: Carocci 2007 (2. Aufl. 2008). 234 S. 8°. Kart. EUR 20,00. ISBN 978-88-430-4250-0.
Giuseppe Ruggieri is an Italian Catholic theologian who, for years, has been studying and discussing the latest international trends in theology. His work on the subject is mostly developed independently from elaborations within the Ecclesiastical Institutions, as well as the activity of theological associations which in Italy have deepened this kind of research. In fact, his research is connected with the Istituto di Scienze Religiose of Bologna, which was founded by Giuseppe Dossetti. R. is now director of the journal »Cristianesimo nella storia« and is on the Advisory Board of »Con-cilium.«
His latest book, La verità crocifissa. Il pensiero cristiamo di fronte all’alterità, is a theoretical account that sets itself as the culmination of R.’s work. This work was characterized by essays on the history of theology, and was always attentive to the intersection between theology and modernity. The book is divided into three parts, preceded by an Introduction (»Del sotto-stare. Per una logica della hypomone). The first part is dedicated to the concept of »verità cristiana« (»Christian truth«). The notion of truth, understood in a Christian context, is analyzed from an epistemological point of view, in its communicability through faith and theology, in its intersection with the philosophical notion of »truth«. The second part delineates some specific instances of Christianity’s recent history in which Christian truth was elaborated and, most espe-cially, lived. This section most likely merges thoughts from his previously published books. These regard the category of the »segni dei tempi« (»sign of the times«) in the language of Pope Roncalli and elaborated by the Council; the relationship between existence and theology in Bonhoeffer; the relationship between Law and Gospel, understood as the relationship between the Gospel and ethics in some instances of contemporary theological and cultural debates; and the relationship between peace and war in light of the Gospel: in other words, the way in which evangelical truth sets itself as a horizon from which peace emerges. This section perhaps deals with results more extrinsic with respect to the overall systematic structure of the book. The third section, dedicated to the theme of »La storia di Dio« (»The history of God«), elaborates a reflection that shows how the involvement of God in the story of Jesus and, through Him, in the history of humanity, is developed through forms of narration. The elaboration of a narrative theology, which is articulated in the context of Trinitarian theology, is not the only way in which one could understand the »energy« connected with God’s outpouring of Himself in history fulfilled in Christ, but also the necessity of holding distinct, in deference to what has occurred, the transcendence of Christ with respect to Christianity.
Up to this point, we have described the development of R.’s argument and the structure of his book. On the one hand, his proposal refers to the need to understand the constitution of Christian truth and its logos balanced between its historical incarnation and its interpretation in the various moments of history; on the other hand, his proposal calls for the parallel need of referring to an ir-reducible otherness, even in its historical incarnation. This is that of a God who, even if manifesting Himself in history, does not exhaust Himself in history; it is that of Christ who »remains under«, according to the Christian logic of hypomone, capable of sustaining this »otherness«. That which emerges, from this link of truth and logos, is a conception of truth as »relational truth«. The word ›relation‹ however must be understood as a link between words that are distinct and that remain so throughout the relation. This is the way in which Christian thought can be – as stated in the book’s subtitle – »in front of the alterity«. Or it might be better to say: involved within the alterity.
All that permits us to understand not only the narrative relationship between God and His revelation in Christ, between kerygma and its historical development in the Christian community, between faith and its expression in dogma. This also allows us to understand that, for R., the logic of hypomone is that which lets theology take the burden of responsibility in the communication of faith, and that even this communication is a form of relation with the alterity – in this case: the other Christian denominations and other religions – that develop without necessarily absorbing the other into its own tradition.
In conclusion, R.’s book presents an updated theological perspective, well-documented and able to offer ways of approaching delicate issues in our current cultural debates. It also offers many things to ponder that are not fully developed and that can lead to further avenues of research. This work is not always easy to read and its construction does not always appear linear. Nevertheless, it presents itself as a contribution that is able to dialogue among the best of contemporary theology.