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Durham e-Theses
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Receptive Integrity and the Dynamics of Doctrine: A Study in the Hermeneutics of Catholic Ecclesial Learning

RYAN, GREGORY,ALEXANDER (2018) Receptive Integrity and the Dynamics of Doctrine: A Study in the Hermeneutics of Catholic Ecclesial Learning. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis presents a principle of ‘receptive integrity’ in contemporary Catholic theological and doctrinal hermeneutics. I provide an original construction of this principle by synthesising its expression in Receptive Ecumenism with the notion of integrity found in Francis Schüssler Fiorenza’s ‘broad reflective equilibrium’, and with the concept of ‘rejuvenating reception’ developed by Ormond Rush. While Receptive Ecumenism draws on pragmatist perspectives, I make use of the hermeneutics of doctrine, establishing and integrating three dialogical perspectives which are unexplored or underdeveloped in the existing literature: 1) a Catholic reading of Anthony C. Thiselton’s The Hermeneutics of Doctrine; 2) a comparative study of Fiorenza’s non-foundationalist method with the coherentist underpinning of Receptive Ecumenism developed by Paul D. Murray; and, 3) a reading of Receptive Ecumenism in the light of Rush’s reception hermeneutics.
In the resultant model, integrity is sought in a dynamic equilibrium between three modes of coherence: intrinsic coherence, discerned through reconstructive hermeneutics; extensive coherence, derived from critically assessing and appropriating background theories; and pragmatic coherence developed in diverse communities of interpretation through retroductive warrants for a fresh examination of some aspect of tradition. Similarly, reception occurs at a number of dialogical sites and involves a plurality of mutually correcting factors.
The thesis contributes a new reading of Receptive Ecumenism viewed in terms of systematic methodological commitments, as one instance of receptive integrity among multiple possible sites of reception. Such a reading stands in contrast to much of the secondary literature on Receptive Ecumenism made from the perspective of existing ecumenical practices, but is nonetheless intended to complement such readings. A tentative identification between this model of receptive integrity and the ‘pastorality of doctrine’ evidenced in Pope’s Francis’s magisterium is made by exploring the synodal development and post-synodal reception of Amoris Laetitia.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Receptive Ecumenism, Hermeneutics, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Ormond Rush, Reception of Doctrine, Pope Francis, Anthony Thiselton
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Dec 2018 13:00

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