Renewing Theology

  • Ignatian Spirituality and Karl Rahner, Ignacio Ellacuría, and Pope Francis

  • by J. Matthew Ashley

  • 432 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268203177 | July 2022

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268203191 | July 2022

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268203160 | July 2022


This comprehensive study investigates the role that Ignatian spirituality has played in the renewal of academic theology using three prominent Jesuits as case studies.

Over several centuries, spirituality has come to define a field of concerns and themes increasingly treated separately from those of academic theology, as if the latter had little relation to the former. This raises the question for us today: How is spirituality related to the practice of theology? In Renewing Theology, J. Matthew Ashley provides an answer by turning to Ignatian spirituality and three prominent twentieth-century theologians who embraced its spiritual resources: Karl Rahner, Ignacio Ellacuría, and Jorge Mario Bergoglio—that is, Pope Francis.

Ashley begins his investigation by considering the historical origins of the widening separation between spirituality and academic theology in the Christian West. He provides an initial overview of Ignatian spirituality, focusing on the openness and multidimensionality of Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, presented here as a text in which the conditions of modernity that defined its author’s world are present, at least incipiently. Ashley then offers three case studies in order to show how each Jesuit—Rahner, Ellacuría, and Pope Francis—responded to the challenges of modernity in a way that is uniquely nourished and illuminated by themes constitutive of Ignatian spirituality. Their theologies, Ashley suggests, evince a particular clarity and force when the Ignatian spirituality that animates them is foregrounded. Providing new and productive avenues into understanding the theologies of these three individuals, this sophisticated and enlightening book will interest scholars and students of systematic theology, as well as readers who are interested in the future of theology and spirituality in a fragmented age.