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De Lubac: A Guide for the Perplexed
by David Grumett

with a foreword by Avery Cardinal Dulles SJ

New York and London: T&T Clark, October 2007. ISBN 978-0-8264-9315-6 (pb). xii+188 pp. $24.95/£14.99.

Henri de Lubac is an ever-present figure in twentieth century catholic thought. His adult life extends from the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, in which he fought, to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when he died. In his efforts to renew theology, de Lubac moves beyond its traditional boundaries. His engagements with figures from other movements and disciplines reveal the theological significance of their positions but also demonstrate the insufficiency of their ambivalent attitudes to faith.

De Lubac: A Guide for the Perplexed is the first comprehensive study of this major modern theologian in English. It addresses all principal themes in his theology: God and nature, politics, church, scripture, the human person, faith and reason, and Buddhism. It is the ideal text for students and others wishing to develop a full and effective understanding of his thought and its current significance.



'David Grumett is one of the foremost English-speaking expositors of Henri de Lubac's thought. He has written a text that serves as a first-rate and balanced introduction to all of de Lubac's principal areas of interest and theological enquiry. This will be essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the major developments of later twentieth-century theology and what happened in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, both inside and beyond the Catholic Church.'  Laurence Paul Hemming

'This very valuable study is rare in covering so comprehensively the breadth offered by de Lubac, without sacrificing depth of analysis and while demonstrating its coherence. . . . Readers learn of the influences on de Lubac, the questions he faced, the development of his thought, the difficulties he encountered from ecclesial authorities and Grumett carefully articulates de Lubacís contribution to theological debate in many key areas. The book is scholarly, thoroughly documented, well-written, detailed and balanced in judgements. An excellent annotated bibliography provides an invaluable guide to further study. Grumettís exposition is sophisticated, avoiding easy or shallow categorisation of de Lubacís thought; it is saturated in the whole range of de Lubacís vast corpus. . . . Grumett is a reliable guide for those willing to be perplexed, challenged and stretched by the intellectual apostolate of this most subtle and hugely learned twentieth-century doctor of the church.'  John Sullivan, Theological Book Review

'Presents de Lubac's work with reference to contemporary questions. . . . A book of great value.'  Georges Chantraine, S.J., Bulletin Internationale Cardinal Henri de Lubac

'Cardinal Avery Dulles rightly praises Grumett's book. Concise, accessible, accurate, and informative.'  Dennis M. Doyle, Theological Studies

'A truly splendid contribution to the Continuum Guides for the Perplexed series. Brings to life the richness and wide variety of de Lubac's thought. Replete with insights and offerings.'  Adam C. English, Perspectives in Religious Studies

'David Grumett fashions a unique window through which the reader can peer over the landscape of Henri de Lubacís theology.'  Andrew W. Lichtenwalner, Catholic Books Review

'A solid entry into the life and thought of one of the most significant Jesuit theologians of the twentieth century.'  Hans Boersma, Reviews in Religion and Theology

'A valuable resource for readers who want to deepen and round out their understanding of de Lubac.'  Kevin Mongrain, International Journal of Systematic Theology

'The book could well serve graduate students approaching de Lubac for the first time, and it includes biographical and historical information that may be of interest even to theologians already familiar with his work. A helpful and welcome addition to the growing field of Lubacian scholarship available in English.'  Bryan Hollon, Pro Ecclesia

'Sheds light on important aspects of de Lubac's thought.'  Robert F. Gotcher, The Thomist

'This book is highly recommended for all seminary libraries and other academic libraries that support graduate programs in theology.'  Herman A. Peterson, Catholic Library World

Chapter headings

Introduction: a theological life
1  God and nature: the theory of pure nature; beyond pure nature and necessary grace; the desire of nature for God; theology, history and the Church
2  Spiritual resistance to Nazism: patriotism and the nation; the church in politics: power versus conscience; sacred against secular?; conscience and reflective action; spiritual resistance; the love of justice in Christ
3  The Church: theology and controversy; faith, order and tradition; the mystical body; particular and local churches in the universal Church; the bishop; priesthood and parenthood; the mission of the Church
4  Scripture: scriptural questioning; the historical sense and the literal sense; the spiritual sense and the mystical sense; the allegorical sense; the tropological sense: moral and mystical; the anagogical (eschatological) senses; Christ the New Testament
5  Person, world and history: writing and reading history; the threefold humanity of Christ; God, person and world
6  Faith, belief and reason: faith and the idea of God; belief in God; arguing for God; Christian philosophy?; dogma, revelation and divine ineffability
7  Christ and the Buddha: the Cross and the Bodhi tree; loving the person; faith, religion and culture; the future of Christian-Buddhist encounter
Epilogue: the call of the supernatural


Details on publisher's website


Christ in the World of Matter: Teilhard de Chardin's Religious Experience and Vision
by David Grumett

Lampeter: Religious Experience Research Centre, March 2006. ISBN 0-906165-62-8. 19 pp. £2.50.
Woodbridge, CT: American Teilhard Association, Fall 2013. 24 pp. $4.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) has, through the wide diffusion and translation of his posthumous works, made a greater impact on postwar religious consciousness than any other theologian. His identity, whether as theologian, scientist, mystic, or philosopher, nevertheless remains contested. In this pamphlet, I highlight the importance of religious experience in forming and unifying his vision of the world. Teilhard is noteworthy as someone who both had religious experiences, and possessed the theological competence and imagination needed to interpret them. I begin by looking at three short accounts of specific religious experiences that Teilhard wrote during October 1916, whilst serving as a stretcher-bearer with the French army in the Verdun region of north-east France, which are included in his collection of writings Hymn of the Universe . I then consider the implications of these specific experiences for Teilhardís wider religious vision.


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Teilhard de Chardin: Theology, Humanity and Cosmos
by David Grumett

Leuven and Dudley, Mass.: Peeters, November 2005. ISBN 90-429-1650-8. xiv+314 pp. €36/£25.95/$40.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) has been regarded for too long as an esoteric thinker who evacuates theology by subjecting it to scientific theory. There is an urgent need to reclaim him as a French catholic theologian with intellectual roots in the early twentieth century. Teilhard's imaginative and inspiring work is grounded in the constructive use of biblical and patristic motifs and in his own life experiences of war, exile and scientific endeavour. From these, he develops a distinctive philosophical theology which combines elements frequently assigned to the separate domains of philosophy of religion, systematic theology and mysticism. Teilhard provides a detailed theology of human embodiment and natural substances, whilst his theories of human action, passion, vision and virtue offer suggestive resources to pastoral theology. His evolutionary cosmology and social democratic politics are discussed in their historical context, and the significance of his work for the ongoing dialogue between science and religion is assessed.



'Not since the detailed studies by Henri de Lubac has there appeared a fairer and more thoroughgoing assessment of Teilhard's theological standing. . . . A work of enduring significance not only in Teilhard studies but in contemporary theology as well.'  John F. Haught, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University

'A monumental study. . . . The most thorough academic study of Teilhard's sources likely to be written.'  Prof Thomas King, Georgetown University

'A fresh and clear analysis of a remarkable thinker.'  Dr Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter

'A very profound study of Teilhard's work.'  FranÁois Euvť, Recherches de science religieuse

'Well-written with a clear expository style. . . . Grumett's selection of sources is skilful and intelligent.'  Paul Haffner, Gregorianum

'A substantial, meticulously referenced study. . . . Greatly to be welcomed.'  Ursula King, Theology

'Emphasis on the origins and content of Teilhard's theology marks it out as of particular interest.'  Michael Fuller, Ecclesiology

Chapter headings

Prologue: the retrieval of a theology
1  Cosmos: creation: the fall into matter; the unification of matter; the supremacy of spirit
2  Action: intention and freedom; acts of faith; the bond of action; creation and transformation; communion with God in action; detachment: the end of action
3  Passion: growth and recollection; human diminishment in suffering; the Heart of Christ in the heart of the world; death: the end of passion
4  Substance: the bond of substance; the fullness of God in Christ; Christ human and divine; eucharistic transformation
5  Vision: light, fire, illumination; vision: the end of life; the divine milieu; spiritual sense and revelation
6  Virtue: the operative virtues: purity, faith, fidelity; the excellence of virtue; divinization: the unification of the created order in God
7  Creative Evolution: invention and selection; the zest for life; the transcendence and immanence of Omega; biological ethics; theology and science
8  Politics and Society: fascism and Marxism; social democracy and globalization; regarding the other; hope in a future for the world
Epilogue: theism and humanism


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