Steinfels on Schillebeeckx

In the New York Times today: Peter Steinfels's obituary for theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, OP, who died December 23. An excerpt:

Strong emphases on human experience and on the importance of examining church teaching in historical context became hallmarks of Father Schillebeeckxs work.His early writing on the sacraments, for example, portrayed them as personal encounters with God rather than mechanisms for the distribution of grace. In two books Jesus: An Experiment in Christology (1974) and Christ: The Christian Experience in the Modern World (1977) he recast classical Catholic teachings about Christ around the experiences that gave rise to his followers faith in Jesus as messiah and the son of God.These were groundbreaking attempts at rethinking church doctrine in light of the scholarly research about the historical Jesus that had accumulated in previous decades. But the fact that Father Schillebeeckx did not begin with Christianitys great creedal statements about Jesus and the Trinity but instead focused on the subjective experience of the first generations of believers, as expressed in the New Testament accounts, stirred considerable controversy and a Vatican investigation.

Among the things I learned from reading this obit: his full name was Edward Cornelius Florentius Schillebeeckx, and that surname? It's "pronounced SKIL-uh-bakes."

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.

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