Spirit's Gift

Spirit's Gift: The Metaphysical Insight of Claude Bruaire

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 277
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  • Book Info
    Spirit's Gift
    Book Description:

    Spirit's Gift is the first book in English devoted to the philosophy of Claude Bruaire (1932-1986). Its focus is the notion of gift, a notion that has recently been the subject of lively debate involving Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, Marcel Mauss, and others.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1617-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Kenneth L. Schmitz

    Father Antonio López has given us a comprehensive study of an original thinker whose work is too little known in English language scholarship. He has traced with firmness and clarity both the development and the final expression of his subject’s thought. Claude Bruaire’s originality is not impaired by the wealth of philosophical and theological sources from which he weaves his reflection on being-as-spirit-and-as-gift. As Professor López keeps before the reader’s attention, the horizon within which Bruaire develops his thought is derived above all from Hegel, though not without a fundamental transformation which the present careful study continually makes clear. Central...

  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Has anyone promised us anything? Why then are we still waiting?”¹ These disturbing questions that Cesare Pavese’s skepticism was unable to hush set us in front of a dilemma. If we respond negatively to the first question, then we find ourselves unable to explain why it is that the resilient longing suggested by the second question is so unwilling to fade away. On the other hand, if we reply positively to the first question, then human existence finds itself thrust into an open-ended, dramatic dialogue with the giver of that assurance, that is, someone who is adamantly opposed to closing...

  6. PART I Self-Determining Freedom
    • CHAPTER 1 The Encounter between Philosophy and Theology
      (pp. 13-36)

      No question is foreign to metaphysics, Bruaire contends, because metaphysics deals with that most important issue which is presupposed in all the other disciplines.¹ Philosophy addresses the decisive, eternal question: “what is being?”² Yet, according to Bruaire, to ask about “that which is” is to pose the question concerning the nature of the principle that sustains whatever exists, namely, the absolute, which in theological terms is called God.³ This is philosophy’s inevitable prejudice: every philosophy has as its object the absolute, as Schelling stated.⁴ Bruaire considers that the question of the absolute is the question that must be confronted, because...

    • CHAPTER 2 Anthropology Beckons
      (pp. 37-58)

      During the first decade of his reflection (1964–74), Bruaire elaborated a systematic anthropology whose outcome is the recognition that man’s very existence is indicative of a constitutive givenness. The interesting aspect of Bruaire’s remarkable speculative effort in search of what is distinctly human, however, is that his anthropology is forged within and apart from Hegel’s system. Hegel’s influence can be perceived at every step of Bruaire’s reflection: the circular movement of self-determination, the structure and patterns of speculative thought, the search for a unity between the finite and the absolute spirit that does not obliterate the differences, the role...

    • CHAPTER 3 Absolute’s Freedom
      (pp. 59-80)

      To enter into the question of man’s existence is to immerse oneself in the mystery of the absolute itself. Every step of Bruaire’s systematic anthropology reveals the impossibility of giving a satisfactory account of who man is if one’s understanding of the absolute is inadequate.¹ Although from his very first works Bruaire contends that only a determinate absolute is able to make reason out of man’s existence, his explication of what it means for God to be both “absolute” and “determinate” undergoes a remarkable evolution. Up until the publication of For Metaphysics in 1980, Bruaire’s concept of God as determinate...

  7. PART II The Ontology of Gift
    • CHAPTER 4 Retrieving the Spirit
      (pp. 83-113)

      Bruaire’s approach to metaphysics takes place within the wonder of the encounter with the other, which presents itself as that which is, as it is. Regrettably, as Bruaire illustrates, this wonder has been lost in our modern world because the reality of the spirit is no longer seen; more so, spirit has become an incomprehensible concept. To eliminate this deficiency, Bruaire proposes to restore the concept of spirit, a task which involves facing three different issues: explaining its importance and the way metaphysics should approach it; accounting for and tracing the main consequences of the disappearance of spirit; and providing...

    • CHAPTER 5 An Ontology of Gift: Finite Spirit
      (pp. 114-137)

      The outcome of Bruaire’s semantic and eidetic analysis of the concept of spirit is the acknowledgment that if the collection of phenomena of spirit “forces us to use the Word gift to name spirit, it is because gift is, from its very beginning, its own essence.”¹ Gift, then, is neither an ontological category that can be enumerated along with others, nor a name capable of describing only the being of the human spirit. Being is gift, in the strongest sense of the term: “esse spirituale et donum convertuntur.”² To affirm that being-of-spirit is given is to state that it is...

    • CHAPTER 6 Altogether Gift: Absolute Spirit
      (pp. 138-183)

      The ontological examination of being as gift undertaken so far appears to be too anthropologically burdened to allow for a concept of absolute gift. In fact, if being-gift is being-given and being-in-debt, then it does not seem possible to formulate a concept of gift which, while remaining one, is nonetheless able to embrace the similarities and the differences between the being-given proper, on the one hand, to the human spirit and, on the other, to absolute spirit. Nevertheless, only if the latter is gift can Bruaire validly argue that gift is the metaphysical name for being—and not merely its...

    • CHAPTER 7 God’s Unfathomable Love: The Confirmation of the Gift
      (pp. 184-224)

      A persistent question regarding the gratuity of gift remains unanswered. As the previous elucidation has shown, Bruaire’s ontodology perceives gift as the proper name of both absolute and finite spirit, and not only for creation. Considering the absolute spirit in terms of gift requires a conception of its oneness in terms of multiplicity; that is to say, while remaining one, its nature as absolute determinate spirit makes it relational within itself. Therefore, God, out of his own goodness, begets the Word, the perfect expression of himself. If God’s essence is gift, and the Word adequately expresses what the Father is,...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 225-230)

    It is not at all easy to free human awareness from the captivating idea that the human being can account for his own existence without coming to terms with the question of his own origin. The anthropological turn of modernity, for the sake of pursuing more pressing matters or more deceivingly fundamental issues, presumed that severing the question of God from the inquiry into the human being’s own identity would give wings to the quest for knowledge. Instead, as postmodernity witnesses, this too-often rated “successful” revolution has yielded a radical dissolution of any unifying principle and thus, of man himself....

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 231-252)
  10. Index
    (pp. 253-262)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 263-263)