Christology of Religions by Gerald O’Collins, SJ. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2018. xiv, 177 p.
O’Collins in his Introduction tells us that Heinz Robert Schlette launched the term “theology of religions” ((p. vii). He continues “But so far as I know no one has proposed a “Christology of religions.” This is his contribution to theology of religions. He not only creates one, he uniquely develops his Christology of religions by targeting the high priesthood of Jesus Christ as it is given in the Epistle to the Hebrews of the New Testament. Another strength of his book is his chapter on the special place of the dialogue after Vatican II with the Jewish and Muslim theologies and the documents that emerged from that dialogue.
O’Colliins taught for 33 years at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome. He has a doctorate from Oxford and in 2006 he was a Companion of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest civil honor granted through the Australian government. He has written or co-authored 54 books. His specialty is Christology.
His presentation covers the following issues: 1. Incarnation as caring for “the others” and sharing the sufferings of all, 2. Christ’s High Priestly Intercession for all, 3. Universal presence of Christ and the Holy Spirit, 4. The Church joins Christ in loving intercession for all people, 5. The faith of the suffering “others”, Discerning the presence of Christ and the Spirit, 7. Dialogue and relations with Muslims and Jews.
Collins emphasizes that though he is a Catholic theologian, he will focus on what is common to Christians rather than what is particular to Catholic Christology. He notes that he engages two theologians: Karl Rahner (1904-84) and Jacques Dupuis (1923-2004) both Catholics. His book “takes up the thought of Anglicans and protestants such as Karl Barth, David Brown, and other scholars…It is as a Christian rather than specifically as a Catholic that I have continued to elaborate a Christology that is, or at least should be, shared by all Christians. It is in the same spirit that I now write A Christology of Religions (p. viii).
His book will be inspiring to all readers and of special interest to theologians specializing in Christology. It will also be informative for ecumenists Jewish and Muslim clergy and laity and many others.
Ernest Falardeau, SSS