Finding All Things in God: Pansacramentalism and Doing Theology Interreligiously

By Hans Gustafson

An enquiry into the role of pansacramentalism as a bridge between theology and spirituality and its implications for interreligious studies.

ISBN: 9780718894900


In Finding All Things In God, Hans Gustafson proposes pansacramentalism as holding potential for finding the divine in all things and all things in the divine. Such a proposition carries significant interreligious implications, particularly in the practice of theology. Presupposing theological practice as divorced from spirituality (lived religious experience), Gustafson presents pansacramentalism as a bridge between the two. In so doing, Gustafson offers a history of spirituality, sketching the foundations of a classical approach to sacramentality (through Aquinas) as well as a contemporary approach to the same (through Rahner and Chauvet).

Through three fascinating case studies, this book presents particular instances of sacramentality in lived religious experience. Gustafson offers an exciting method of ‘doing theology’, one which is entirely compatible with the interdisciplinary field of interreligious studies.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 356
Illustrations b&w

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Hans Gustafson is the associate director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and the College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University (Minnesota) where he teaches in the theology departments.


List of Figures
Preface and Acknowledgments

Part 1: “Tell Me Your Story”
1. “There’s a Lot of Medicine in that Water”
2. Theology and Spirituality
3. Foundations of Sacramentality
4. The “Protestant Principle” and Sacramental Caution
5. A Rahnerian Pansacramental Proposal
6. Louis-Marie Chauvet: Beyond Aristotle and Aquinas

Part 2: “Believing is Seeing”
7. Sacramental Spirituality
8. Thomas Merton: Sacramental Spirituality and Place
9. Nicholas Black Elk: Sacramental Spirituality and Descandalizing Multiple Religious Identity
10. Dostoevsky and Wendell Berry: Sacramental Spirituality and Literature

Part 3: “Finding All Things in the Divine”
11. A Philosophy of Sacramental Mediation
12. Panentheism
13. Suffering in God and World
14. Towards a Pansacramental Theology of Religious Pluralism and Doing Theology Interreligiously

Name Index
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

To the religious world that has long suffered the split of theology and spirituality, Gustafson offers a very original and very persuasive attempt to reunite the two in terms of a pansacramental approach, a liturgical mediation between the two, and presents, in the process, a wealth of insights from Aquinas, Rahner, Chauvet, Merton, Nicholas Black Elk, Dostoevsky, and Wendell Berry . … I heartily recommend the book.
Anselm K. Min, Professor of Religion, Department of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

In this tour de force, Gustafson unleashes the deeper meanings of symbol and sacrament to reunite theological reflection and spiritual living. Deeply Christian and deeply interreligious, his pansacramentalism destabilizes traditional dichotomies and radically expands the realm of the sacred. A must-read for all who are interested in the future of constructive theology.
Philip Clayton, author of Transforming Christian Theology

We can be grateful for this important book, which not only raises the caution, but also offers a way of mediating the split between theology and spirituality. Additionally, Gustafson’s pansacramentalism holds the potential to provide a theological foundation from which to fund inter-religious conversations, given its view that all things, including religions, are in God sacramentally.
Khay Tham Nehemiah Lim, in The Expository Times, Vol 129, No 12