The Introduction explains the problematic with which the rest of the book will engage. The debates surrounding doctrinal development have changed because our understanding of doctrine has changed. Newman’s theory of doctrinal development assumed his “dogmatic principle,” or the idea that doctrines, though imperfect because human, are also definitive and necessary because revealed by God. Contemporary theological trends, whether by hermeneutical or historical concerns, have called into question this principle, relativizing the nature and reliability of doctrine. This questioning of the doctrinal principle sheds light on the dynamic between continuity and discontinuity, and between ressourcement and aggiornamento, especially in the wake of the debates concerning the reception and implementation of the Second Vatican Council. The book sets out to present John Henry Newman’s and Yves Congar’s contributions to the fundamental-theological question: how can one believe with a divine faith in doctrines that are clearly the product of history.
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