Jesus, symbol of Christ the christology of Raimon Panikkar

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theological Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Dennis M. Doyle


The present study investigates the means by which Raimon Panikkar negotiates between the traditional principles of Catholic theology and Christology and the goals and needs of his conceptions of religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue. During the last half of the 20th century Raimon Panikkar was a major figure in the field of comparative religion, interreligious dialogue and theology of religions. Based upon his work in those fields, Panikkar came to develop an account of the person and office of Christ. What resulted was a conception of Christ that began with the traditional principles of Catholic Christology and ultimately resulted in an account of Christ that stands in tension with some of those principles. This study examines the Christology of Raimon Panikkar, as it developed in response to his work in religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue, in light of the Christological principles outlined by the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. As an ecumenical council, Chalcedon established certain principles necessary for any orthodox account of Christ. Also, this study consults the Christological documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to establish how those principles were being maintained and interpreted in current debates over Christological accounts. In particular, the principle of the communicatio idiomatum, the communication of idioms, certified at Chalcedon, and utilized by the CDF, has played a major role in establishing the boundaries of Christology in contemporary Catholic theology. As a result of these sources, the conclusion of this study is that while Panikkar faithfully begins with the traditional principles of Catholic Christology, his concerns for religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue lead him to an account of Christ which stands in tension with Catholic Christological principles established by Chalcedon and overseen by the CDF; in particular, the communicatio idiomatum.


Jesus Christ Person and offices, Panikkar, Raimon, 1918-2010 Criticism and interpretation, Catholic Church. Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author