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Karl Rahner in 1975

Karl Rahner, (March 5, 1904 – March 30, 1984) was one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century. He was born in Freiburg, Germany, and died in Innsbruck, Austria. His theology influenced the Second Vatican Council and is ground-breaking for a modern understanding of Catholic faith. Written near the end of his life, Rahner's Foundations of Christian Faith is the most developed and systematic of his works, most of which was published in the form of theological essays.

The basis for Rahner's theology is that all human beings have a latent ("unthematic") experience of God in any experiences of meaning or "transcendental experience." It is only because of this proto-revelation that recognizing a specifically special revelation (such as the Christian gospel) is possible.

The philosophical sources for Rahner's theology include Thomas Aquinas, read from the aspect of contemporary continental philosophy. Rahner attended lectures by Heidegger in Freiburg.

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