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Liturgical Press

Beyond the Visible Church

The Motif of the ecclesia ab Abel from Augustine to James Alison

Florian Klug; Foreword by Massimo Faggioli

Beyond the Visible Church SEE INSIDE
Beyond the Visible Church

ISBN: 9798400800092, 00092

Details: 448 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1
Publication Date: 01/04/2024
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In Beyond the Visible Church, theologian Florian Klug investigates the Abel motif hermeneutically throughout Christian church history. By showing how the biblical motif of Abel was read and used by representative theologians like Augustine, Bonaventure, Martin Luther, Yves Congar, and others of each epoch, Klug builds the story of the Church’s self-conception and shows how it has evolved over time. By tracing this theological and ecclesiological history and how the motif formed theologians and the Church over time, Klug shows readers a new way to conceive and understand God’s universal will for salvation.

By deconstructing and reconstructing the historical occurrences of these ideas, Klug demonstrates that the Church’s self-conception is not yet complete. This unique and ground-breaking study opens new ways forward for Catholic ecclesiology—hope for today’s universal Church.

Florian Klug, STD/STL, is a researcher and lecturer at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany.

ISBN: 9798400800092, 00092

Details: 448 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1
Publication Date: 01/04/2024


"Besides offering a timely reflection on a perennial theme—namely, the church's hidden operation in history since Abel—Beyond the Visible Church brings together elements seldom found in a single book. It manages to be historically wide-ranging, hermeneutically sophisticated, and constructive in its proposals. The result is a valuable reminder that the true church, despite its sociological elements, remains a mystery that is not—and never has been—easily circumscribed."
Rev. Aaron Pidel, SJ, Assistant Professor of Theology, Marquette University

"In this tour de force of historical-theological scholarship, Florian Klug analyzes the use of the symbol ecclesia ab Abel from the patristic age to the medieval, modern, and contemporary periods and shows how the reality of the church exists outside its visible confines. In this way, he convincingly demonstrates the universality and efficacy of the church as a sacrament of salvation. His thesis has immense implications not only for ecclesiology but also for pneumatology, the theology of grace, Christian mission, and, unexpectedly, for Jewish-Christian relations. I strongly recommend Klug's book for a graduate course on the church."
Peter C. Phan, The Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ, Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University

"This is a careful exercise in resourcement theology, examining the use of the 'Church from Abel' motif across a diverse range of theologians through 1600 years of Christian tradition. Florian Klug seeks to create, by following this long history of the deployment of the motif, the sense of a living, varied, on some level relatively coherent—or at least not disjointed—but nevertheless still open and unfinished tradition. He displays wide-ranging theological knowledge, and takes his readers on a winding but clear and enriching pilgrimage across Church tradition."
Karen Kilby, Bede Professor of Catholic Theology, Durham University

"Florian Klug offers us a profound and scholarly study of the theme of Abel, called by some 'the first of the righteous', in the history of Christian theology. This motif can liberate us from too narrow a sense of the reach of God’s grace and the community of the faithful. He also suggests its potential for a further enrichment of our understanding of the mystery of redemption."
Timothy Radcliffe OP, Former Master of the Dominican Order

"By unfolding the Abel-motif in the history of the Church, Florian Klug has developed a new approach in ecclesiological hermeneutics. His choice of interlocutors is highly original. The book is very suitable for teaching historical and systematic theology, but also offers a promising starting point for further research into the salvific role of the Church in our time."
Stephan van Erp, Professor of Fundamental Theology, KU Leuven

"Florian Klug’s extensively researched and expertly executed study demonstrates the multifaceted, often highly significant role of the ecclesia ab Abel motif for theologians throughout history, including Augustine, Gregory the Great, Bonaventure, James of Viterbo, Jan Hus, Martin Luther, Francisco Suárez, Robert Bellarmine, Émile Mersch, Yves Congar, and James Alison. Klug displays his remarkable range as a scholar as he treats ecclesiological intricacies throughout the ages; however, his study is directed at more than understandings of the church, as he deftly connects the motif of the ecclesia ab Abel to recurrent questions concerning the scope of salvation, the doctrine of justification, eschatology, and sacramentalogy, among other topics. As a result, the reader emerges from Klug’s treatment with a firm sense of the relevance of the ecclesia ab Abel motif, both throughout the tradition and across a wide range of topics in Christian theology. Klug’s concluding constructive application of the ecclesia ab Abel motif demonstrates the relevance of the theme for the contemporary theological landscape. Highly recommended."
Mark McInroy, Associate Professor, Department of Theology, University of St. Thomas

"A work of impressive range and depth, composed of sustained, textured engagements with major patristic, medieval, early modern, and contemporary theologians, all in service of retrieving and developing a significant ecclesiological motif. A fine piece of historically-oriented systematic ecclesiology and a welcome contribution in bringing so much German language theological writing to such effective use and visibility in an English language monograph."
Paul D. Murray, Professor of Systematic Theology, Durham University