Karl Rahner and human nature: Implications for ethics

Michael G. Lawler, Todd A. Salzman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article opens with the Second Vatican Council's teaching that the exposition of Catholic moral theology 'should be more thoroughly nourished by scriptural teaching' and suggests that it should also be more thoroughly nourished by and linked to Catholic systematic theology. To that end, it examines the transcendental theology of Karl Rahner and asks about its implications for Catholic moral theology. It examines Rahner's existentials, fundamental, ontological characteristics of human nature that define it, make it specifically human nature, and distinguish it from all other natures. It examines specifically the supernatural existential, God's unexacted self-offer to every human being born into the world, and the equally fundamental human existentials of freedom and historicity. The import for Rahner of these existentials is that humans are freedom, that they are historical, and that they are unexactedly ordered to God. The implications of this transcendental theology for Christian ethics are examined as a conclusion to the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-418
Number of pages30
JournalIrish Theological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


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