Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian, 1918-2008

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9780809105717: Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian, 1918-2008

Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, is the foremost American Catholic theologian of the post-Vatican II era. This book is a religious and intellectual biography that focuses on his contributions to the development of American Catholic theology and to the larger arena of American Catholic life. The book traces his life and thought from his childhood in a prominent American Presbyterian and political family to his days as a student at Harvard where he converted to Catholicism, to his World War II experience in the Navy, to his ordination as a Jesuit, and then to his career as a theologian in the post-Vatican II era. In the entire twentieth century, no other theologian, with the possible exception of John Courtney Murray, SJ, has had as important an impact upon American Catholic thought. Dulles, though, is unmatched in the twentieth century because of his prolific publications and the wide distribution and reading of his published theology. More bishops, priests, and religious, as well as large numbers of laity, have been influenced by his writings and by any other single American theologian. This book will put his contributions to theology within the wider context of his religious life and the cultural and religious transformations in the United States during the last half of the twentieth century.

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About the Author:

PATRICK W. CAREY is Professor of Theology at Marquette University. He is a former president of the American Catholic HIstorical Society, and the former chair of the Department of Theology at Marquette. His work has appeared in such publications as Church History, Catholic Historical Review, Journal of the Early American Public, and others. Among his published books are Theological Education in the Catholic Tradition: Contemporary Challenges (1996), The Roman Catholics (Greenwood, 1993), and People, Priests and Prelates: Ecclesiastical Democracy and the Tensions of Trusteeism (1987).

Review:

Twentieth-century Catholicism has been marked by seismic cultural, theological and demographic shifts, opening the Catholic community to a new understanding of its 2,000-year heritage and a new capacity for bringing its venerable traditions to bear on an ever evolving world. For the astute observer of religion, American Catholicism is a particularly fascinating phenomenon in this global process. There is no better window into this laboratory than the career and contribution of Avery Dulles, S.J. (1918-2008). This book provides a masterful theological overview. It is an encyclopedic and relatively accessible study of the intellectual corpus, critical reflection and dialogue, churchmanship and spiritual development of a personality who reflected and helped define the last seven decades of the U.S. pilgrimage among Catholics and their conversation partners worldwide....
For readers committed to understanding recent decades of American history, post-conciliar Catholicism or the reception of Vatican II by Catholics and others, Carey s book is indispensable. For historical and theological research it is a gold mine. And for the serious reader of Ignatian or contemporary ecumenical Christian spirituality, it provides rich, evangelical nourishment. Without doubt, it leaves the theological community and the institutional leadership in the church a rich array of unresolved challenges as well as of resources for the 21st century.
--Jeffrey Gros, F.S.C., is Distinguished Professor of Ecumenical and Historical Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary in America magazine, Nov. 29, 2010 --America Magazine Nov. 29, 2010

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Patrick W. Carey
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