PG 719 - Karl Rahner: The Theological Foundations of Synodality

Home / Modules / Karl-rahner-the-theological-foundations-of-synodality

Module Level

9/10: MTh/PhD/STL Seminar Course

Time Allowance

First Semester: Alternate Mondays 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm, beginning the 26 September 2022


To qualify for assessment full attendance is expected at all sessions and assigned readings are to be completed before each session. Participants are required to prepare carefully at least one set text for discussion at a given session and write a short summary of the recapture that follows in the subsequent session. A final paper is to be submitted on an agreed topic by 1.00 pm, Friday, 16 December 2022, which is to be no more than 5,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography), and which should follow strictly the standard presentation guidelines. Your final grade will include recognition of all written material and participation in discussion (80% final paper, 20% other written texts and participation).

Module Aims


The primary aim of this course is to read, discuss, and understand a selection of texts from Karl Rahner’s œuvre that have a direct bearing on understanding synodality. It will explore issues such as the common priesthood of the faithful, the democratic impulse, the sense of faith (sensus fidei), gender, women in the church, etc., with a view to contributing to discussions on faith and culture in contemporary Fundamental Theology. An ancillary (and optional) aim is to prepare an article for possible publication in a theology journal.

Indicative Syllabus

This course will explore several significant contributions from Karl Rahner that might serve as the theological foundations to synodality. Through a confrontation with a series of texts from the breadth of Rahner’s works, students will be introduced to key terms, issues, and arguments that will include Church renewal, community structures, states of religious life, de-clericalization, integralism, Church leadership, decision making, intellectual integrity, the individual and the institution, freedom and constraint, responsibility and commitment.

Indicative Bibliography:

  • Rahner, Karl. Foundations of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity, New York: Crossroad, 1983.
  • Rahner, Karl. Theological Investigations, vols. 1-23, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1961-79.
  • Rahner, Karl. Nature and Grace: Dilemmas in the Modern Church, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1963.
  • Rahner, Karl. The Shape of the Church to Come, London: SPCK, 1974.
  • Rahner, Karl. Belief Today, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967.
  • Rahner, Karl. Theology for Renewal: Bishops, Priests, Laity, trans Cecily Hastings and Richard Stracha, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964.
  • Rahner, Karl. Christian at the Crossroads, New York: Seabury Press, 1975.
  • Rahner, Karl. Grace in Freedom, New York: Herder & Herder, 1969.
  • Rahner, Karl. The Christian of the Future, London: Burns & Oates, 1967.
  • Imhof, P. and Biallowons, H. Eds. Karl Rahner in Dialogue: Conversations and Interviews, 1965-1982, New York: Crossroad, 1986.
  • Imhof, P. and Biallowons, H. Eds. Faith in a Wintry Season: Conversations & Interviews with Karl Rahner in the Last Years of His Life, New York: Crossroad, 1986.
  • Rahner, Karl. Faith Today, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967.
  • Rahner, Karl. Our Christian Faith: Answers for the Future, London: Burns & Oates, 1980.
  • Rahner, Karl. Theologian of the Graced Search for Meaning, ed. Geffrey B. Kelly, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993.
  • Rahner, Karl. The Practice of Faith: A Handbook of Contemporary Spirituality, ed. Karl Lehmann & Albert Raffelt, London: SCM Press, 1985.
  • Rahner, Karl. I Remember: An Autobiographical Interview with Meinold Krauss, trans. Harvey Egan, London: SCM Press, 1985.
  • Rahner, Karl. The Love of Jesus and the Love of Neighbour, trans. Robert Barr, New York: Crossroads, 1983.
  • Rahner, Karl. Sämtliche Werke, ed. by the Karl-Rahner-Stiftung under the direction of Karl Lehmann, Johann Baptist Metz, Albert Raffelt, Herbert Vorgrimler, and Andreas R. Batlogg, vols. 1-32, Freiburg in Br.: Herder, 1995-2018.
  • Turabian, Kate L. A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations. 9th ed. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2018.