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Durham e-Theses
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Modern soteriology and the concept of salvation in existentialist theology

Schubert, Anselm (1993) Modern soteriology and the concept of salvation in existentialist theology. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis analyses the conditions for a concept of soteriology in modem secular society. And it examines the concept of salvation underlying 20th century existentialist theology in order to see whether it complies with these conditions. The first chapter analyses philosophical concepts of salvation from Kant to Heidegger. It is shown that since Hegel salvation is mainly understood in terms of "alienation" and "overcoming of alienation" and that through the philosophical development of the 19th century two main conditions of modern soteriology have been derived from this understanding: a) the presupposition of an epistemological, existential and ontological unity of reality and b) the presupposition that individual, existential experience of salvation must basically be possible. The second and main chapter tries to bring out the concept of salvation inherent in the theologies of Paul Tillich and Karl Rahner. The third and concluding chapter shows how far Tillich's and Rahner's surprisingly similar concept of salvation complies with the conditions worked out in the first chapter. The author argues that both theologies fulfil the postulate of epistemological and ontological unity of reality by substituting traditional theistic doctrines of God by an ontological understanding of God as Being itself. However, the second condition is not met: in order to maintain the claim of the unity of reality, both theologies presuppose an existentialist understanding of human existence: the existential status quo, and with it alienation, is necessarily posited as absolute. Thus the possibility of experiencing the overcoming of this existential state is a priori excluded. The conclusion is that existentialist theology does not convey an understanding of salvation which complies with the conditions of secular modernity.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1993
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:53

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