S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
12 Method and System
Once or twice within Covenantal Theology, Fr. Keefe calls his
book a "metatheology" and a "meta-metaphysics"; that is, his primary
intent is not to do theology or metaphysics, but rather to make
genuinely Catholic theology and metaphysics possible again.
Covenantal Theology establishes both the necessity for and the
possibility of grounding Catholic theology in the New Covenant itself,
a ground -- one would have to say, by definition -- considerably more
solid than any ground Catholic theology currently occupies, for its
current ground is some form of dehistoricized cosmology taken to be
`obviously' or `naturally' prior to the New Covenant itself.
A great deal
of Covenantal Theology is devoted to outlining what
would be required for the reconversion of the two great streams of
Catholic thought, Augustinianism and Thomism, to what Fr. Keefe
calls the "prime analogate": the New Covenant, the Eucharistic Event.
"Reconversion" is the proper word for what is needed. Fr. Keefe
devotes considerable labor to demonstrating that both Augustinianism
and Thomism are viable Catholic theologies. They do not need to be
swept aside, they need to be reconverted to the Eucharist.
That reconversion is, of course, also a blanket rejection of all
dehistoricized cosmology. This rejection must be performed by both
theologies from their outsets as theologies, and also persistently,
consciously, and consistently throughout all their "searching." This is
the "methodological conversion" of which Fr. Keefe speaks.
A further methodological explicitness and coherence -- another
glaring methodological deficiency that Fr. Keefe finds painfully
evident -- is also required of both. The natural sciences have proved
that such explicitness, at a level of sophistication now nearly
unimaginable within current Catholic theology, is both possible and
highly desirable in itself, but Fr. Keefe also argues for this for a further
reason that will become clear in a moment.
Fr. Keefe says two highly significant things regarding
Augustinianism and Thomism:
(1) They are both fully viable Catholic theologies, yet
their approaches to theology are mutually exclusive.
1. Because this book is written for 'normal
people,' the barest outline of Fr. Keefe's technical
theological work regarding this reconversion is
given here. However, you should realize that
Covenantal Theology does not just lay bare a
deep intellectual hurt in Catholic theology (which
might be considered accomplishment enough). It
is instead a fundamentally generous and
constructive book. The separate intellectual
language and categories of both Augustinianism
and Thomism have been hundreds of years in the
making. It proved very difficult to avoid pagan
intellectual categories, and both made their
respective intellectual turns to the time-less, but
that hardly makes their every word worthless.
Much to the contrary, together they form our
Catholic intellectual treasure, for both at their best
have been the intellectual language of saints: faith
"searching" for understanding. Accordingly, both
theologies instinctively "search" for the 'time-
fullness' of the New Covenant -- but are
prevented from doing this coherently by their
pagan root intellectual categories. Fr. Keefe
shows -- from within the special language of each
-- how each can forsake those false categories.
Taking both treasures with great seriousness, he
spends about half of a 784-page book outlining, in
some detail, how both Augustinian and Thomist
theologians could do a better job of forming their
root intellectual categories in the light of the New
Covenant -- if they decided they wanted to do
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.