Friday, 16 July 2010

Henri de Lubac

Just discovering the connection between de Lubac, Danielou and von Balthasar: the latter two were de Lubac's students.

Guy Mansini also acknowledges the de Lubac - von Balthasar link. If this is true, it means that de Lubac is (no longer) ultra but con. The web says that John XXIII invited him as peritus to the council, and that Paul VI and John Paul II both esteemed him deeply. This, despite the fact that he was banned from publishing (for about 9 years) after his Surnaturel.

One of the reasons for the furore around his work was also that he attacked Suarez - till then regarded as one of the bulwarks of Thomism. He showed how Suarez had commented on what are now known to be spurious works, falsely attributed to Thomas.

De Lubac co-founded Concilium, but broke with it when it became a journal of dissent rather than implementation of the council. He joined von Balthasar and Ratzinger in founding Communio, believing that the only way to renew theology was ressourcement or critical appropriation of the Church's tradition.

Back to the supernatural: I do not know what exactly de Lubac has said, and I know only very vaguely what Lonergan holds on the matter. But I do have the feeling that there is something to be chewed at here, and that Lonergan might have something very interesting to contribute... But: could it be that great minds have missed this all along? Can't presume... And: is there any study of the matter in Lonergan?

And: does Millbank fuse together what Thomas had so carefully distinguished (not separated) - the gratuity of creation and the gratuity of grace? (See

Interestingly, however, Millbank's reflections on the human being / human existence itself as gift seem to veer on Lonergan's reflections on operative grace / gift of God's love as creating the response (our love for God), or as itself being the response. But on this, see my blog entry on Charles Hefling. More to be studied here.

Another note: de Lubac was enormously interested in Maritain's work. Does Maritain take his natural / supernatural distinctions from de Lubac? What then of the religions?

De Lubac's properly theological influence consists in the re-Platonizing of theology, a re-Platonizing that has been developed and continued in the postmodern drive to avoid the strictures of Heidegger against onto-theology. (Mansini 597. References to: J. Komonchak, "Theology and Culture at Mid-Century: The Example of Henri de Lubac," ThStds 91 (1990) 579-602. Wayne Hankey, "Le role du neoplatonisme dans les tentatives postmodernes d'echapper a l'onto-theologie," La metaphysique: son histoire, sa critique, ses jeux, Actes du XXVIIe Congres de l'Association de Societes de Philosophie de Langue Francaise, 2 vols. (Quebec: Les Presses de L'Universite Laval, 2000); and "Neoplatonism and Contemporary French Philosophy," Dionysius 23 (2005) 161-189. Both articles to be found on Hankey's website.)

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