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From an Apology for Catholicism to Theological Modernism: The Principle of Development in Alfred Loisy’s Thought

Abstract: This paper aims to show the reasons why Alfred Loisy’s idea to develop an apology for Chri­stianity was unsuccessful and led to his transition to the modernist position. It explores theological and fundamental issues underlying his ambitious program. Firstly, it discusses the concept of modernism, having in mind that Loisy himself opposed the accusations of his following modernism. Secondly, it syn­thetically presents the context and characteristics of Loisy’s works to properly understand his idea of Christian apologetics. The subsequent section analyses Loisy’s most important assumptions and the way he formulated his apologia, focusing on the issue of historical criticism and his application of John Henry Newman’s idea of development to the history of religion. These analyses allow us to conclude that by applying the historical-critical method, Loisy did not avoid adapting incorrect philosophical assumptions and improper application of Newman’s development of Christian doctrine to his reflections on the hi­story of religion.
Keywords: Loisy / adapting / Alfred / Apology / historical / religion / Newman / Theological / Christian / idea

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