The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Debate Concerning the Supernatural

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Sep 21, 2005 - Religion - 117 pages
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French Jesuit Henri de Lubac (1896–1991) was arguably the most revolutionary theologian of the twentieth century. He proposed that Western theology since the early modern period had lost sight of the key to integrating faith and reason — the truth that all human beings are naturally oriented toward the supernatural. In this vital book John Milbank defends de Lubac s claim and pushes it to a more radical extreme. The Suspended Middle shows how such a claim entails a non-ontology suspended between rational philosophy and revealed theology, interweaving the two while denying them any pure autonomy from each other. As de Lubac s writings on the supernatural implicitly dismantled the reigning Catholic (and perhaps Protestant) assumptions about Christian intellectual reflection, he met with opposition and even papal censure. Milbank s sophisticated account of de Lubac delineates the French theologian s relations with other proponents of the nouvelle thologie, such as Hans Urs von Balthasar, and clarifies the subtle but crucial divisions within recent Roman Catholic theology. The most substantial treatment in English of de Lubac s as yet untranslated Surnaturel and the subsequent debate, Milbank s Suspended Middle lays down an energetic challenge that every serious student of theology and Christian philosophy will want to engage.
 

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Contents

The Life and Writings of Henri de Lubac
1
The Surnaturel of 1946
15
Around Humani Generis
33
Supernatural Spirit and Cosmos
48
The Supernatural in Relation to de Lubacs Other Theological Thematics
56
De Lubac and von Balthasar Contrasted
62
Thomistic Criticisms of de Lubac on the Supernatural The Aesthetic Compromise
79
Aquinas and the Radicalization of de Lubacs Account of the Supernatural
88
The Limit and the Renown of Henri de Lubac
104
Index
109
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Page ix - Others destroy the gratuity of the supernatural order, since God, they say, cannot create intellectual beings without ordering and calling them to the beatific vision.
Page 2 - Henri De Lubac, Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, trans. Lancelot C. Sheppard and Sister Elizabeth Englund (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988; new edition); idem, The Splendour of the Church, trans.
Page viii - ... reason and hands, with which he is able to get these things for himself ; so neither did it fail man in things necessary, although it gave him not the wherewithal to attain Happiness: since this it could not do. But it did give him freewill, with which he can turn to God, that He may make him happy. For what we do by means of our friends, is done, in a sense, by ourselves (Ethic.

About the author (2005)

John Milbank is Research Professor of Religion, Politics, and Ethics at the university of Nottingham, England, and Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy.

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