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TRADITIONALISM

The theory that all human knowledge of God and religion comes from tradition. In its extreme form, it denies that reason can arrive at any certain knowledge of divine things. It proceeds from the view that God first made a comprehensive primitive revelation when the human race learned to speak. In this original revelation, God bestowed on people all the basic religious truths that have been handed down by successive generations to the present day. General reason or common sense guarantees the unfalsified transmission of its heritage. The individual receives it by oral teaching. Religious knowledge is entirely and only a knowledge of faith. The cheif exponents of traditionalism in its strict form were Viscount de Bonald (1754-1840), Félicité de Lamennais (1782-1854), and Louis Bautain (1796-1867). It was represented in a more modified form by Augustine Bonnetty (d. 1879). Traditionalism is also called fideism insofar as it denies the capacity of reason to attain knowledge of divine matters and correspondingly places an excessive stress on faith.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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