Jean Daniélou's doxological humanism : Trinitarian contemplation and humanity's true vocation.




Nicholas, Marc C.

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In the first half of the twentieth century there arose a loose conglomeration of theologians that were pejoratively dubbed la nouvelle théologie. Initially known for the monumental debate with the Dominican Thomism of the Revue Thomiste, this group consists of some of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century. One of the more prominent of them was the French Jesuit Jean Daniélou. Not only did Daniélou set off the debate with the Dominican Thomists when he penned "La Orientations Présentes de la Pensée Religieuse," but he continued to produce important documents in the areas of patristics, spirituality and ecumenism. Equally important as such monumental works as his Origène, Bible et Liturgie and Histoire des Doctrines Chrétiennes avant Nicée are his works on Christian spirituality. One of the most important of Daniélou’s insights is his understanding of the relationship between theology and spirituality. Since the late middle ages, scholars have increasingly grown accustomed to dichotomizing theology and spirituality. However, more recently, scholars such as Mark McIntosh have made convincing arguments for the natural coherence of the formerly opposed disciplines and in turn made a case for the inclusion of "mystical theology" within the realm of the academy. This view certainly accords with Daniélou's understanding of the relationship between theology and spirituality and an investigation into his theology of prayer will serve to elucidate how he understands this relationship. In turn, it becomes clear that a unified vision of theology and spirituality enables the theologian to lay bare humanity's true vocation. Humanity is not a true humanity when it does not experience contemplation, adoration and worship. Therefore, I refer to this aspect of Daniélou's thought as his doxological humanism.



Jean Daniélou., Contemplation., Humanism., 20th century Catholicism., Contemplation : Croissance de l'Eglise., Prayer : the mission of the church.