Blog Template Theology of the Body: Reinhard Huetter and a Marian corrective to feminist theology

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reinhard Huetter and a Marian corrective to feminist theology

Reinhard Huetter is Professor of Christian Theology at Duke University. These are my notes from one of his conference presentations in 2008.

Professor Huetter describes the enterprise of renewing theology in a Marian key as a project of re-discovering an "abandoned palace" full of particularities that are relevant to ecclesiology and soteriology, in lieu of contemporary theology's less fecund abstractions.

In particular, Huetter focused on the doctrine of Mary's Assumption as vivifying the eschatalogical hope of the Church; in Mary we find fulfilled - and already actually anchored in Heaven- what God has promised for all humanity. In this way, the Church's hope for salvation and the particular resurrection of the body is sustained because of Mary, in whom the Church can rejoice that the economy of salvation has been completed.

Huetter invoked Louis Bouyer's own renewal of Marian theology in The Seat of Wisdom of the 1960's. Huetter also referred to and the Scriptural significance of Mary's being the only creature ever greeted by an angel as indicative of her excellence above all creatures in grace and consequent familiarity with her Creator, and as indebted above all for the grace which preserves her, unstained, from original sin.

My favorite acecdote from this presentation was the suggestive note that the doctrine of Mary's assumption into Heaven reminds the feminist revolt in modern theology that there is indeed already a woman in Heaven, so they need not worry so much about de-gendering God the Father; we see in Mary that there is a fully, integrated, maternal creaturely life enjoying the Beatific Vision and interceding for the rest of the creation already.