by Richard Schenk, OP
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-8132-3552-3 | eISBN: 978-0-8132-3553-0
Library of Congress Classification BX1751.3
Dewey Decimal Classification 230.2

Revelations of Humanity brings together essays into the history and actuality of how our searches for God and for our own humanity are interwoven. They argue that the revelation of God is possible only when accompanied by a revelation of what it means to be a human being. Revelation implies that the truth is not fully evident in either case.

This quest is aided in many of the essays by a recollection of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. As opposed to simple memory, recollection implies that memory has been lost or become clouded, here by the misrepresentation of Thomas’ view of humanity’s relation to God as harmonistic, at best semi-Pelagian, often even naturalistic. This difficult recovery is made possible by historical research that alone can escape the easy systematic alienation that supporters and critics of Thomas have often brought to their interpretation of his works. Thomas’s sense of a real but finite capacity of human beings for God, his grace and revelation, anticipates in more ways than is commonly known much of contemporary suspicion about human capacities, but in ways that are open to God. That programmatic insight into the historical Thomas, keenly aware of human entanglements, limits and hopes, offers on many contemporary issues a ressourcement of systematic thought.

Revelations of Humanity revolves around three clusters of issues. The first asks about the reality and limits of the human capacity for truth: in metaphysical, moral and political matters and in relation to the disputed issues of analogous reason and faith. The second cluster is structured around the four involvements that the Second Vatican Council identified as the human face of genuine Christian existence: participation in the legitimate joys, hopes, sorrows and fears of the contemporary world. These are refracted in the broken light of the human proprium of risibility, the abiding uncertainty addressed by hope, the disputed question of a suffering God and the recollection of Christ’s anxiety in the face of death. The final cluster brings together anthropological dimensions of current ecumenical and interreligious disputes: the need to complement affirmation with admonition in ecumenical conversation, exemplified by the ambivalence towards sacrifice in a genuinely Catholic theology and the need to avoid the excesses of univocity, equivocity or an all too facile analogy in the determination of interreligious relationalities.