At the Limits


Raimundo Panikkar died at his home near Barcelona on August 21. He was ninety-one. Panikkar lived and taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for almost twenty years, but he was known throughout the world as an erudite and original philosopher and theologian. Will we see the likes of Panikkar anytime soon? The way we answer this question reveals a good deal about what we think of our present time. Panikkar is often placed in a firmament that includes Thomas Berry, Ewert Cousins, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin—heralds of a new era in human history, a new axial age or “new story.” I am skeptical about such grand claims. All the same, these thinkers were responding to the end of the colonial system and the rise of what is broadly called globalization. At the very least, Panikkar, like Thomas Berry, saw the significance of Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra aetate), and saw far beyond it as well.

Panikkar was...

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About the Author

James L. Fredericks in the theology department at Loyola Marymount University.