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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Lovat & Douglas: Habermas and Eucharistic Theology

Read it all here.
Cocksworth (1991) and Douglas (2006) argue that Anglican eucharistic theology is characterized by multiformity, that is, a multiplicity of views with many voices actually competing against each other. Some of these voices come from various church parties within Anglicanism, including Anglican Catholics (c.f. Macquarrie. 1997) and Anglican Evangelicals (c.f. Cocksworth, 1993). At times, these voices are so strident they claim more of the ‘truth’ for particular party traditions or interests than others (e.g. Silk, 1995/2002 as an Anglican Catholic, and Doyle, 1996 as an Anglican Evangelical). Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Communion, has said “ … it is true that witness to what is passionately believed to be the truth sometimes appears a higher value than unity.” (Williams, 2006: 2) Others have observed that these dissociated voices may actually represent a struggle for political power on the part of their adherents, rather than being necessarily all about doctrine (c.f. Kaye, 2003). Williams (2006) has stated that “ … what our Communion lacks is a set of adequately developed structures which is able to cope with the diversity of views that will inevitably arise in a world of rapid global communication and huge cultural variety.” (p. 3) In this context, Habermas’s insights hold out potential for finding the structures of which the Archbishop speaks, through what Habermas describes as different ‘ways of knowing’ (Habermas, 1971 and 1973) and a dialogue based on ‘communicative action’ (Habermas, 1984 and 1989). This potential may be useful to the Anglican Communion and its theological education and will be explored in this article.

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