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Philosophical Exigencies of Christian Religion
280 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268200466 | May 2021
Hardcover | 9780268200459 | May 2021
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268200473 | May 2021
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268200442 | May 2021
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Philosophical Exigencies of Christian Religion is a translation of two of Maurice Blondel’s essays. Blondel’s thinking played a significant role in the deliberations and arguments of the Second Vatican Council.
Although a towering figure in the history of twentieth-century Catholic thought, the later systematic works of Maurice Blondel have been largely inaccessible in the English-speaking world. Oliva Blanchette, who previously translated Blondel’s early groundbreaking work Action (1893), now offers the first English translation of the final work Blondel himself signed off on the day before he died, Philosophical Exigencies of Christian Religion. This work of transition from mere philosophy to a consideration of Christian religion consists of two main essays, The Christian Sense and the shorter On Assimilation, followed by a Reconsideration and Global View and an Appendix: Clarifications and Admonitions written in answer to an inquiry by a young scholar about method.
The first essay explores the Christian sense of the spiritual life and how Christian religion, even as supernatural, can come under the purview of critical philosophy. The second essay examines the move from analogy to assimilation in speaking of the Christian life. Blondel tackles the question: How does the human spirit combine with the divine spirit in such a way that neither is lost in the process?
Philosophical Exigencies of Christian Religion is critical for understanding Blondel’s thought. This high-quality translation and Blanchette’s concise preface will appeal not only to philosophers and theologians but also to spiritual writers and directors of spiritual retreats in the Ignatian and Jesuit traditions.
Maurice Blondel (1861–1949) was a philosopher born in Dijon, France, and educated at the École Normale Supérieure. Blondel defended his thesis, L’action, in 1893 at the Sorbonne. Blondel at first was refused a university position on the grounds of having taken an improperly religious position in his philosophy but finally received a professorship in Aix in 1897.
Oliva Blanchette is professor emeritus of philosophy at Boston College. He is the author and translator of eleven books, including Action (1893): Essay on a Critique of Life and a Science of Practice by Maurice Blondel (University of Notre Dame Press, 1984).
“Philosophical Exigencies is a key work in Blondel’s oeuvre, describing in accessible terms for a general readership his mature understanding of the ineluctable interdependence of philosophy and theology as well as the nature-grace relationship. Blondel is always careful to write as a philosopher and never to trespass on theological turf. Yet he writes as a believer, in such a way that he has much to say about what theology is and what it is not, or what it cannot be.” —Cathal Doherty, S.J., author of Maurice Blondel on the Supernatural in Human Action
"Blondel’s rich account of human action and its ability to overcome the institutionalized opposition between the natural and supernatural in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Catholic theology, his original approach to philosophy’s relationship to theology in modernity, and his account of the vital role tradition plays in Christian self-understanding have exerted a decisive influence over modern and contemporary Catholicism." —The Review of Metaphysics