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Chapter 17. Johann Baptist Metz

J. Matthew Ashley

Subject Politics
Religion » Christianity

Key-Topics theology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631223429.2003.00019.x


Johann Baptist Metz has frequently asserted that his is a theology oriented not by“system concepts,” but rather by“subject concepts.” “Subject concepts” are to be evaluated not so much by how they cohere into a system as in terms of their capacity to articulate and undergird the ways that specific persons in specific times and places struggle to become and remain subjects: agents of their own histories, persons who recognize the symbols and narratives that make up that history to be their symbols and narratives, rather than an alienating imposition ( Metz 1984 : 363). This methodological choice, as well as his preference for the short essay over the monograph, complicates the task of giving a systematic overview. The approach taken here will center on Metz's claim that his is a“fundamental practical theology.” After constructing an interpretive framework whose lattices are Metz's own concerns as a theologian, I attempt an overview of the particular way in which Metz attempts to meet those concerns in a political theology. To do this I first identify the theological genre (fundamental theology), then the fundamental question (theodicy), and finally the doctrinal locus (eschatology) that limn the basic structure of Metz's theology. Born in 1928 in Auerbach in northeast Bavaria, Metz describes his small-town origins as follows: One comes from far away when one comes from there. It ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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