Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery

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OUP Oxford, May 7, 2009 - Religion - 344 pages
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In the decades leading up to the Second Vatican Council, the movement of nouvelle théologie caused great controversy in the Catholic Church and remains a subject of vigorous scholarly debate today. In Nouvelle théologie and Sacramental Ontology Hans Boersma argues that a return to mystery was the movement's deepest motivation. Countering the modern intellectualism of the neo-Thomist establishment, the nouvelle theologians were convinced that a ressourcement of the Church Fathers and of medieval theology would point the way to a sacramental reintegration of nature and the supernatural. In the context of the loss suffered by both Catholics and Protestants in the de-sacramentalizing of modernity, Boersma shows how the sacramental ontology of nouvelle théologie offers a solid entry-point into ecumenical dialogue. The volume begins by setting the historical context for nouvelle théologie with discussions of the influence of significant theologians and philosophers like Möhler, Blondel, Maréchal, and Rousselot. The exposition then moves to the writings of key thinkers of the ressourcement movement including de Lubac, Bouillard, Balthasar, Chenu, Daniélou, Charlier, and Congar. Boersma analyses the most characteristic elements of the movement: its reintegration of nature and the supernatural, its reintroduction of the spiritual interpretation of Scripture, its approach to Tradition as organically developing in history, and its communion ecclesiology that regarded the Church as sacrament of Christ. In each of these areas, Boersma demonstrates how the nouvelle theologians advocated a return to mystery by means of a sacramental ontology.

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The Rupture between Theology and Life
Precursors to a Sacramental Ontology
De Lubac and Bouillard on Nature and the Supernatural
Balthasar and Chenu on Nature and the Supernatural
Spiritual Interpretation in de Lubac and Daniélou
Recovering History for the Church
The Ecclesiology of de Lubac and Congar
The Future of Ressourcement
Scripture Index
General Index

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About the author (2009)

Hans Boersma holds the J.I. Packer Chair of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Prior to taking this position in 2005, he taught at Trinity Western University and also served for several years as a Pastor in a Reformed Church. He publishes extensively in journals including New Blackfriars, Modern Theology, Calvin Theological Journal, International Journal of Systematic Theology, Evangelical Quarterly, and the Heythrop Journal. His recent volume Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition won the 2005 Christianity Today best theological book of the year award.

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