Interesting article on Cardinal Jean Danielou

In my readings related to the Second Vatican Council and influential theologians, one of my favorites so far is Cardinal Jean Danielou.

I am reading his God and the Ways of Knowing, and while flying home from California I read the chapter on God and the philosophers and my heart burned within me as if I were on the Road to Emmaus.

The Bible and Liturgy sits on my bed table—slowly reading these extremely rich chapters on the Early Church Fathers’ understanding of liturgy and sacraments.

It makes me wonder why traditionalists are so quick to dismiss theologians like Danielou as modernists, when the aims of theologians of the Ressourcement movement seem praiseworthy to me.  Anyway, came across this article on Danielou at Catholic World Report that is most interesting.  Marc C. Nicholas writes:

Also, Daniélou is well known for his endorsement of the ressourcement adage, ad fonts, or “return to the sources” which sought to reconnect contemporary Catholicism with the great Christian sources of the past. To this point, Daniélou, along with Henri de Lubac, established the Sources Chretienne series in France which inspired other non-francophone attempts to make the Church Fathers accessible to the greater reading public.

Of lasting importance is Daniélou’s defense of the Church’s traditional teaching concerning the “spiritual interpretation” (Daniélou specifically argues for typological) of the Christian Scriptures. In his The Bible and the Liturgy and From Shadows to Reality, Daniélou maintains that the modern tendency to limit the interpretation of the biblical texts to the literal-historical meaning of the text—which modern historical-critical methodology does—is a serious breach of tradition and violates a holistic understanding of the text which was protected by the spiritual interpretation of texts.

Lastly, Daniélou is well-known as one of the catalysts to the Novelle Théologie (a label given to Daniélou and his confreres by his theological opponents) which emphasized a return to the earliest Christian sources as a way to renew theology, a revival of the historical nature of Catholicism and a rejection of the notion that the Neo-Thomism of the 19th and 20th centuries was the sole arbiter of Catholic doctrine.

Neo-Thomism of the 19th and 20th centuries as the sole arbiter of Catholic doctrine.  So, so interesting.  A theologian wrote me that Danielou has been criticized as against St. Thomas Aquinas, but he was really more against Thomists!

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2 Responses to Interesting article on Cardinal Jean Danielou

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You wrote: It makes me wonder why traditionalists are so quick to dismiss theologians like Danielou as modernists, when the aims of theologians of the Ressourcement movement seem praiseworthy to me.

    Modernism is generally characterized by a hermeneutic of rupture — that is, breaking with tradition — in contrast to a hermeneutic of ressourcement — that is, going back to earliest sources to find new insights. Unfortunately, many Traditionalists have not studied the earliest sources and thus don’t recognize the difference. Rather, contrary to the clear teaching of the magisterium, they wrongly equate tradition with what they learned from their parents and thus instinctively assume any deviation therefrom to be rupture — even if it comes from the magisterium.

    Norm.

  2. Michael David says:

    The Bible and the Liturgy was on my bedside table for a long time! I loaned my copy to someone, but forget to whom. Maybe I’ll have to buy another copy one of these days – one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.

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