Journal for Christian Theological Research


Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter, Fides et Ratio, delivered in Rome at Saint Peter's, on 14 September 1998, is the first encyclical to address the relationship between faith and reason, and other matters philosophical, for over a hundred years. Pope John Paul II suggests that, in the history of philosophy, postmodernism appears as a form of nihilism, resulting from the crisis of rationalism. He argues for a new dialogue between theology and philosophy to recover authentic wisdom and truth. This article reviews and discusses the argument of the letter, briefly sketching the Pope's argument concerning the relationship of the Church to philosophy. Beginning with Nietzsche's "death of God," it also provides an account of postmodern philosophy and the problem of nihilism that contests the Pope's interpretation, while, at the same time, suggesting lines of possible debate between Catholic theologians and postmodern philosophers.