Mysticism, Politics, and Theology in the Work of Johann Baptist Metz
312 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268011956 | December 1998
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268074883 | December 1998
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268082604 | December 1998
Johann Baptist Metz is one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians in the post-Vatican II period, however there is no comprehensive overview of his theological career. This book fills that gap. It offers careful analyses and summaries of Metz's work at the various stages of his career, beginning with his work on Heidegger and his collaboration with Karl Rahner.
It continues with his work in the nineteen-sixties when he moved off in a radically different direction to found a "new political theology" culminating in his seminal work, Faith in History and Society. Metz addresses themes ranging from the situation of the Church "after Auschwitz," the future of religious life in the Church, and the relationship between religion and politics after the end of the cold war.
J. Matthew Ashley covers all of Metz's writings along with his crucial relationships to figure like Karl Rahner, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin and the social critics of the early Frankfurt School. Interruptions shows that despite the dramatic turn in the nineteen-sixties there is an underlying continuity in Metz's thought. Ultimately, however, the underlying continuity in Metz's career is defined by a spirituality, a spirituality that is painfully yet hopefully open to the terrible suffering that characterizes our century, a spirituality founded in the Prophets, in Lamentations, and in the figures of Job and the Jesus of Mark's Gospel.
This book shows how Metz has tried to find theological concepts adequate for expressing this spirituality—which he calls a "Mysticism of open Eyes" or of "suffering unto God"—and to work out its political implications. To this end the book has an opening chapter on the relationship between spirituality and theology, and a closing chapter that shows that the most fundamental difference between Rahner and Metz is rooted in the different Christian spiritual traditions out of which the two operate. Interruptions is essential reading for anyone interest in Spirituality and Mysticism and in their relation to political philosophy.
J. Matthew Ashley is associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame and the book review editor for Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality. Having already translated a number of Metz's most important essays, he is currently completing a re-ranslation of Metz's seminal work from the 1970's, Faith in History and Society. He has published articles on political and liberation theology in Horizons, Theological Studies and the Revista Latinoamericana de Teología. He is presently completing a work on the impact of Ignatian spirituality on the theologies of Karl Rahner, Ignacio Ellacuría and Bernard Lonergan.
“This text, which began life as a Chicago doctoral dissertation under David Tracy, works at two levels. At one, it presents a comprehensive look at the theological development of Metz, and in particular examines closely Metz’s shift from Rahnerian transcendental thought to the political theology that has marked his major contributions, while arguing that Metz has stayed in essential continuity with Rahner. At a second and more important level, the work takes us into a discussion of the relationships between spirituality and theology. This time, Metz is viewed as a man who has struggled throughout his life to find a way to blend prayer and theology and has discovered it finally in his sustained attention to suffering. In his concluding chapter Ashley locates the differences between Rahner and Metz in the distinct spiritualities that influence each. From Metz’s perspective, Rahner’s mysticism is too individualistic. The political or prophetic dimension is lacking. This extremely well written work is commended to all with an interest in Rahner, Metz, or in the interrelations of spirituality and theology.” —Religious Studies Review
“This text provides the most comprehensive systematization of the theology of Johann Baptist Metz available in English. While the book is welcome enough for that, it offers much more. Ashley’s analysis of Metz’s theological career leads him to a fresh perspective on the much discussed question of the relationship between Metz’s theology and that of Karl Rahner.” —New Theology Review
“Those who have studied closely the developments in Metz’s often puzzling theological project will recognize by the very title of this book that Ashley has a sure command of the material. In writing the first comprehensive survey of Metz’s entire career, Ashley not only tracks the concept of interruption in the method and content of Metz’s theology but also applies it to Metz’s own life. Ashley’s significant contribution is to argue for the continuity in Metz’s thought as he moved from writing transcendental Thomist anthropology to creating and developing a political theology to, finally, articulating Christian praxis as Leiden an Gott, ‘suffering unto God.’” —Theological Studies
“[Ashley] offers a critical resource for wider interdisciplinary conversations about the relationships between theology and spirituality and the mystical-political structure of Christian faith-praxis.” —Anglican Theological Review
“. . . One of the finest theological monographs . . . Ashley’s exposition of the development of Metz’s thought is one of the best, perhaps even the best, available in English.” —Journal of Religion