Eternal Consciousness

John S. Dunne

First Place, 2013 Catholic Press Association Book Award for Spirituality/softcover

In his new book, John S. Dunne asks:

“So what is eternal consciousness? It is, I take it, consciousness of the eternal in us. If time is ‘a changing image of eternity,’ as Plato says, the changing image of the human being is like The Voyage of Life, four paintings by Thomas Cole, showing childhood, youth, adulthood, and age. The eternal in us is the person going through these phases. It is the vertical dimension of the life, as in the title scene of War and Peace where Prince Andre lay on the battlefield looking up into the peaceful sky, perceiving peace in the midst of war. If the horizontal dimension is time and the vertical dimension is eternity, then eternal consciousness is awareness of the vertical dimension. What is more, the vertical dimension carries through the horizontal, as the person walks through life upright instead of being dragged through in ‘quiet desperation.’ Willingness and hope, accordingly, is willingness to walk through upright with hope in the face of death and darkness.” — from the book

What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? Dunne explores these questions in his characteristic hermeneutic method, finding the answer in “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It is the life of the spirit that is the eternal in us, the inner life of knowing and loving, the life of hope and peace and friendship and intelligence. “If there were no eternal consciousness in a man,” Kierkegaard says, “what then would life be but despair?” John Dunne adds, if there is eternal consciousness in us, on the other hand, there is hope.

To readers of John Dunne’s books, Eternal Consciousness will be the latest installment chronicling his spiritual journey; to readers new to Dunne’s oeuvre, it will be a lively introduction to the distinctive voice and thought of an inspiring author.

John S. Dunne is the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and the author of twenty books, including Deep Rhythm and the Riddle of Eternal Life (2008) and A Vision Quest (2006), also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

“As action grows more frantic and voices more shrill in this age of terror, John Dunne’s wisdom, born of Eternal Consciousness, shows us and leads us into our true selves—never unloved, never abandoned, willing to walk on with God through life into the very gateway of death itself.” — Jon Nilson, Loyola University Chicago

“In Eternal Consciousness, John Dunne speaks with depth and unction of the deepest wound of the human person, the desire for God. The reader who asks the question of John of the Cross, ‘Where have you hidden, Beloved?’ finds that he is living there, in the human heart where heart speaks to heart.” — Archbishop John R. Quinn

“Anyone who has passed through a storm should appreciate John Dunne’s insights on finding hope, and even ‘the unhoped-for,’ in the face of human anguish. In this stunning book, brilliant and with a peace that comes from ‘the center of stillness,’ Dunne shows how time and eternity intersect while we live, and how we live on when time is done. Eternal Consciousness is a treasure that can be read and reread without exhausting its riches.” — Elizabeth Carr, author of The Spirituality of Mollie Rogers

“Drawing from a well of wisdom, John Dunne gives us a glimpse of the landscape of the human heart and its quest for freedom, love, and connectedness. He reminds us that the road to eternity is not through the way of incessant activity or fleeting pleasures but through a contemplation that allows us to meet God in the ‘real presences’ that surround us and invite us to gratitude and surrender.” — Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame


“Dunne provides insights on finding hope in the face of pain, showing us that we are never unloved. He reminds readers that the road to eternity is through contemplation that allows us to meet God in our surroundings.” — U.S. Catholic

“Dunne’s text brims with so many profound insights, his learning so vast, his style so poetic that readers will be seduced into thinking and feeling and singing with him and nodding in agreement with his final lines.” — Theological Studies

 Eternal Consciousness

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Paper Edition 2012

152 pages
ISBN 10: 0-268-02610-6
ISBN 13: 978-0-268-02610-3

E-book Perpetual Ownership

ISBN 13: 978-0-268-07776-1

E-book 30-day Ownership

ISBN 13: 978-0-268-07776-1