Original Research - Special Collection: Wentzel van Huyssteen

Human rationality in Vito Mancuso’s liberal Catholic theology augmenting the notions of Van Huyssteen’s ‘postfoundational transversality’ and McGrath’s ‘rational consilience’

Johan Buitendag, Corneliu C. Simut
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 2 | a2222 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i2.2222 | © 2021 Johan Buitendag, Corneliu C. Simut | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2021 | Published: 09 June 2021

About the author(s)

Johan Buitendag, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Corneliu C. Simut, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria; and Department of Theology and Social-Humanistic Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Emanuel University, Oradea, Romania, South Africa


The cue for this article is human rationality being the cornerstone in Wentzel van Huyssteen’s thinking, and Alister McGrath’s scepsis about the feasibility of a postfoundational transversality in particular. This article does not intend to juxtapose Van Huyssteen’s postfoundational rationality to McGrath’s enterprise of a ‘rational consilience’ but contends that a transversal approach to rationality engages social ramifications as well. Subsequently, a liberal Catholic theologian’s take on rationality is presented here as such an offering from the social sciences contributes to a bricolage of unintegrated pieces of knowledge and discernments emerging from various disciplinary or social viewpoints on reality. Vito Mancuso continues to focus on human rationality which, in his view, provides humanity with the hope of eternal life or life from the perspective of eternity. Such a conviction is in line with his horizontal understanding of human rationality, in addition to the human being’s first challenge to understanding reality.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The reason d’être of this article is to call for a discussion partner to the notion of human rationality from the social sciences (indicated as one of the neglected fields in the theology and science discourse). Vito Mancuso, for one, brings the pragmatic and transformative (even revolutionary) dimension to the table. A transversal approach to rationality must integrate such social practices as well.


Vito Mancuso; Alister McGrath; theology and science dialogue; Wentzel van Huyssteen; human rationality; post-foundational transversality; rational consilience.


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