Yves Congar's theology of tradition as a resource for a feminist theological response to the crisis of master narratives

Julia Hagen Brumbaugh, Fordham University

Abstract

The crisis of master narratives, described by Jean-François Lyotard as “incredulity to metanarratives,” raises difficult problems for a theology of tradition. This crisis divides contemporary feminist theologians into modern and postmodern positions that shape how they appeal to tradition in their theologies. Using works by Rebecca Chopp and Serene Jones, I analyze this divide and conclude that neither side is satisfying for feminist theologians who seek both to critique the tradition for its patriarchal structures and to retrieve from it what is life-giving in order to construct theological visions that better meet women's needs. ^ I use the theology of Yves Congar to develop a feminist theological response to the crisis of master narratives that supports a critical engagement with Christian traditions in the midst of this epistemological crisis. The study of Congar considers his historical survey of Western Christianity's understandings of tradition as well as his theology of tradition as illustrated in his classic work Tradition and Traditions. It also considers how Congar's theology of tradition develops in light of changes in his post-conciliar work in pneumatology, ecclesiology and ministry. Finally, it uses Congar's ground-breaking work Vraie et fausse réforme dans l'Église (1950) to examine the role of the reformer or prophet of the Church and the principles he gives for reforming the Church. I then turn to Congar's understanding of the reformer and his principles of a true reform to examine Congar's own activities as a reformer. To this end, I study his posthumously published journals, Journal d'un théologien (2001) and the two volumes of his Mon journal du Concile (2002). I consider how the reformer applied his own principles during times when his work was resisted and he was censured and exiled, during the 1950s, and when his work was acclaimed in the context of the Second Vatican Council. The conclusion of this study outlines methodological, historical, theological and spiritual resources from Congar's work that support and challenge feminist theologians in their responses to the crisis of metanarratives. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

Brumbaugh, Julia Hagen, "Yves Congar's theology of tradition as a resource for a feminist theological response to the crisis of master narratives" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3377040.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3377040

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