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Learned IgnoranceIntellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims$
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James L. Heft, Reuven Firestone, and Omid Safi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769308

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769308.001.0001

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Humble Infallibility

Humble Infallibility

Chapter:
(p.89) 5 Humble Infallibility
Source:
Learned Ignorance
Author(s):

James L. Heft

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769308.003.0006

In a historical and theological study, this chapter locates the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility in its context (nineteenth-century Europe and Vatican Council I, 1869–1870). It then traces the ways in which subsequent historical developments and official Church teachings address at least some of the most widespread misunderstandings of the dogma. It suggests that the meaning of the dogma becomes clearer when one understands that dogmas do not explain God and revelation so much as they affirm and protect those truths. The chapter concludes by underscoring the need to “take seriously the historical conditioning of official Church teaching, of dogmatic statements, and of even the inspired Word of God,” and to do so without falling into agnosticism and relativism.

Keywords:   Catholics, Catholic dogma, papal infallibility, Word of God, revelation, Church teaching

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