Traditions and reception: interpreting Vatican II's ‘Declaration on the Church's Relation to Non-Christian Religions’
Article first published online: 16 JUL 2010
© 2010 The author. New Blackfriars © 2010 The Dominican Council.
Volume 92, Issue 1040, pages 484–503, July 2011
How to Cite
D'Costa, G. (2011), Traditions and reception: interpreting Vatican II's ‘Declaration on the Church's Relation to Non-Christian Religions’. New Blackfriars, 92: 484–503. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2005.2010.01364.x
- Issue published online: 26 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 16 JUL 2010
I examine the question of how tradition is received and passed on within the Church's Councils with specific attention to the problems of continuity and discontinuity. I use the example of Vatican II's ‘Declaration on the Church's Relation to Non-Christian Religions’ to explore the question of hermeneutics in both receiving and passing on the teachings of the Church. By looking at the historical development of this document I try to show that three important factors at work: first, the question of biblical interpretation; second, the question of determining which elements of tradition are authoritative and which not; and third, the influence of non-theological factors upon theological articulations. Through examining these factors, I argue for one particular approach to Council hermeneutics that is able to include and correct three other approaches. I argue that correct interpretations of Council documents do not represent the closure of tradition, but the opening up of tradition to future reception and re-formulation.