Patristic and Ressourcement Contributions to a Renewed Theology of Grace and Nature

Philipp Renczes, SJ

Pontifical Gregorian University

In recent times, the question of the relationship between nature and grace has expanded into a search for the identity of Catholic theology in general and thereby into a struggle for its interpretive sovereignty, which moves between the commitment to “Tradition” or “aggiornamento” and thus not infrequently between a scholastic or patristic approach. Under the premise of a consensual warning against supposed new editions of a Stockwerktheologie, this contribution shows, by means of some reflections on the pivotal concept of natura pura, how patristic-inspired thinking actually resists an often sweepingly made assignment of itself to Ressourcement theology and is able to develop a high degree of de-escalation capacity in this debate.

This lecture was originally livestreamed on December 3, 2021 as part of the Grace & Nature: Contemporary Controversies Conference held at the Angelicum in Rome. All of the talks for this conference are available on our YouTube page in this playlist.

Fr. Philipp Gabriel Renczes is a German Jesuit, professor of systematic and patristic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and invited professor of historical theology at the Pontifical Augustinian Institute and current dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. With special interests in the theology of grace, Maximus the Confessor, and a theology of the Jewish-Christian Relationship, his recent publications include: «Dal dialogo ecumenico al dialogo interreligioso. Orientare la riflessione sul dialogo interreligioso a partire da una lettura della Dichiarazione congiunta sulla Dottrina della giustificazione (DCDG)», Analecta Augustiniana 81 (2018), and «‘Wie kann man eine Wasserscheide verschieben?’ Gregorianum und die Bedeutung der Eigenwirklichkeit menschlicher Natur im ʽnatürlichen Verlangen nach dem Übernatürlichenʼ», in Gregorianum 100/4 (2019).