Concept, Judgment, and Dogmatic Relativism
W. H. Marshner
It is a central claim of Christianity that certain teachings formulated in the Mediterranean world two thousand years ago are divinely revealed. It is also a central claim that this revelation has been grasped and repeated ever since as the “same Gospel” — an achievement which heresies did not prevent and from which legitimate developments did not detract.
Traditionally, these two claims have been understood to demand the following explanation: the expressions used in formulating the original teachings have been understood within the main body of the Church with enough invariance, over all the intervening centuries and in widely different civilizations, to ensure that the “same doctrine” has been handed down. Continue reading “Concept, Judgment, and Dogmatic Relativism”
The Development of Doctrine
W. H. Marshner
REASONS FOR HOPE
© Christendom Educational Corporation 1978
Christendom College Press
That which is enunciated by God and that which is proposed by the Church: dogma is both. As enunciated by God, dogma is the outcome of revelation in the strict sense; as proposed by the Church, dogma is the outcome of doctrinal development. ‘Doctrinal development’ is just the name for the process by which the Church reaches certitude that a given proposition, p, states exactly what God has said and hence may be proposed to the faithful as obligatory for belief. Thus a theory of doctrinal development is the obverse of a theory of revelation.
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CRITERIA FOR DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE MARIAN DOGMAS: AN ESSAY IN METATHEOLOGY
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
MARIAN STUDIES, Vol. 28 (1977)
University of Dallas
Irving, Texas 75061
As a critique of recent proposals by E. J. Yarnold, S.J., and R. E. Brown, S.S., to re-think the “meaning” of certain Marian dogmas, a method is proposed for establishing the sense and reference (hence verifiability conditions, falsifiability conditions, axiomatic connexions, and metalinguistic “properties”) of these and other dogmas. It is shown that such a method forms an integral part of a general criteriology for doctrinal development. At the outset, then, the possibility and necessity of such a criteriology is defended against certain “theological theories” of doctrinal development, especially that of K. Rahner, S.J. Finally, the relevance of Henri Bouillard’s problematic of “reconceptualization” to the here proposed method and general criteriology is evaluated. Several philosophical and theological issues closely related to the main thesis are handled in footnoted discussions.
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