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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Theology has long engaged philosophy as a dialogue partner, but the social sciences raise a new set of issues as both theology and the social sciences reflect concretely on the human condition. The problematic relationship between theology and the social sciences is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the area of ecclesiology. Whenever ecclesiology turns from more idealistic ahistorical forms of discourse to deal with the actual context and constitution of historical communities, the role of the social sciences in providing insights into those contexts and constitutions becomes difficult to deny. This chapter seeks to map out some of the history of the engagement with the social sciences by ecclesiologists such as Clodovis Boff, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Edward Schillebeeckx, John Milbank, and Roger Haight, and the challenges that this engagement poses. Underlying this debate are profound theological issues concerning grace and nature.

Keywords: Clodovis Boff, critique, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Edward Schillebeeckx, ideology, John Milbank, Roger Haight, social sciences

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