Friday, 16 July 2010

Mansini on de Lubac

There seems to be a sudden spurt of studies on Henri de Lubac. Just yesterday I found the following:
Reinhard Hütter. “The Natural Desire for the Vision of God: A Relecture of Summa contra Gentiles III, c. 25, après Henri de Lubac.” The Thomist 73/4 (2009) 523-591.

Guy Mansini. “The Abiding Theological Significance of Henri de Lubac’s Surnaturel.” The Thomist 73/4 (2009) 593-619.
Mansini calls de Lubac the most important theologian of the 20th century, because his work forms a watershed. (593)

He says that Lonergan with his Method in Theology aspires to be pivotal, but that one can easily be a Catholic theologian today without having to take a position on Lonergan. One cannot do that as far as de Lubac is concerned. (596, n. 7) Mansini, I think, is right; but only because Lonergan in Method is not doing theology, he is outlining a method for theology - and for all other disciplines.

It is interesting, however, to see how Lonergan emerges as a foil every so often in Mansini's article. Thus, for example, he outlines the theological territory after Vatican II into (1) those who agree with Chenu and the later Rahner on dogma, and also with de Lubac on the correctness of his theological anthropology and reading of St Thomas; (2) those who do not agree with Chenu on dogma but agree with de Lubac - Balthasar and the 'Communio' theologians; (3) those who agree with neither, and then comments in the footnote: the tragedy of Lonergan is that he tries to provide an inoculation against the historicism and relativism to which the first position (Chenu, Rahner, de Lubac) are prone, and at the same time save the scientific character of theology, which the second group has abandoned. (598 and n. 11)

Most interesting, Mansini notes Lonergan's 'theorem of the supernatural', and says that he has not found de Lubac referring to Philip the Chancellor in Surnaturel or in Augustinianism and Modern Theology, or in Mystery of the Supernatural. (612 n. 36)

But what exactly is de Lubac saying in his Surnaturel? According to Mansini, he does away with the need for the notion of pure nature as something that is not Thomist but Thomistic.

I simply have to get to the bottom of this.

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