The Understanding of Faith (1974) is certainly Schillebeeckx's most incisive English publication on theological hermeneutics. It contains his principal ideas on this subject, in which he progressively evolved the hermeneutic thinking that he was to apply in due course in his famous Jesus books. The book centres on two issues: how should the Christian message of God's kingdom be read in our day and age, and can a present-day interpretation of that message still be considered Christian? In short, what are the possibilities and limits of the understanding of faith in our modern age? Of course, hermeneutics as such was not new to Christian theology. Exegetes had been exploring interpretive processes for some time. Schillebeeckx's innovation was to extend hermeneutic thinking to the possibilities and limits of interpreting the entire Christian tradition, including its definition in systematic theology. Inspired by the early J rgen Habermas's 'new critical theory', Schillebeeckx also expands criticism of ideology in various directions. This was to influence generations of theologians after him, right up the present day.
Edward Schillebeeckx was an internationally known theologian and one of the leading progressives at the Second Vatican Council. He was the author of many books, including God is New Each Moment, published by Continuum. He died in 2010.