Contemplation and Incarnation

Contemplation and Incarnation: The Theology of Marie-Dominique Chenu

Christophe Potworowski
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Contemplation and Incarnation
    Book Description:

    Relying on both Chenu's previously unpublished materials and his many publications, Christophe Potworowski examines the role of faith and contemplation in the Dominican life and in theology as well as considering the historical and social dimensions of the human situation in terms of individual and ecclesial existence. He discusses the prophetic role of the theologian and some of the problems this involves.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6959-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Contemplation and the Dominican Vocation
    (pp. 3-40)

    A THEOLOGY IS BORN NOT in a vacuum but as a result of an encounter. This encounter then reveals a vocation. In looking for the traces of such an encounter‚ in looking for the origin of vocation‚ and hence for the roots of a theology‚ there are always the dangers of psychologism‚ of reducing the objective quality of a body of work to a subjective and perhaps even sentimental experience. Yet it is the very objectivity of a work that points to its living source. These roots would remain secret and hidden were it not for these pointers.

    In the...

  6. 2 Faith and Theology
    (pp. 41-82)

    IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER‚ the concept of incarnation emerges as the ground for the mixed life whose primary objective is contemplation. From the intimate and personal matters of the life of faith and the organization of that life in a religious order, we move to the more public writings of Marie-Dominique Chenu.

    The first step in our gradual approach to an understanding of incarnation takes us into the midst of a neoscholastic discussion of the role of faith in theology and the nature of theology as a science. The discussion is important for this study because Chenu’s contribution to it...

  7. 3 Christianity and History
    (pp. 83-115)

    WHAT WAS TRUE OF THE ECONOMY OF THE WORD in relation to the human condition of understanding (i.e., what is known is known according to the knowing of the knower), is equally true of the concrete human condition to the extent that this condition is not accidental but enters the very definition of human existence. In the Christian economy of revelation, it is the human condition that decides the basic configuration of thedonné. Christianity is an economy because we are historical beings. The principle of divine communication reaches its highest manifestation in the mystery of the incarnation. In Chenu’s...

  8. 4 Church‚ Society‚ and Mission
    (pp. 116-154)

    IN CONTINUING the task of tracing a perspective of incarnation as the underlying pattern in Chenu’s theology, we now turn to the concrete situation of the Church in the modern world. Whenever a major stand is to be taken, a decision to be made, or a choice to be declared, the law of incarnation serves as a guide and a basic strategy. It thus offers a model for both theological understanding and pastoral action.

    The present chapter corresponds to the removal of the third and final set of brackets in our gradual approach to the meaning and function of incarnation....

  9. 5 Word as Sign
    (pp. 155-195)

    AS SOON AS THE ACT OF WITNESS IS GIVEN PRIMACY, the question of criteria of authenticity becomes unavoidable. How can I tell if my witness is true? When a theology becomes concrete and historical, the question of authenticity moves to the foreground and must be included in any consideration of the law of incarnation. The question is still one of faith and theology, but it is now complicated by an explicit confrontation with the historical and social dimensions of human existence. What is the method involved in the pastoral doing and the theological thinking of a Church “situated in the...

  10. 6 Incarnation and Christology
    (pp. 196-225)

    ON 15 NOVEMBER 1980 at the Dominican house of St. Jacques in Paris, Chenu gave the homily during the mass in celebration of the feast of St. Albert. It was a dramatic occasion. He began by complaining about his incompetence on the subject, proceeded to offer a wonderful homily full of insights about St. Albert, and concluded with several revealing remarks about his own long journey in the Church and in theology.

    After sketching the historical context of St. Jacques at the time of St. Albert, Chenu pointed out the two areas that had attracted the saint’s attention: nature, in...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 226-232)

    THE CONTRIBUTION OF MARIE-DOMINIQUE CHENU to theological renewal came at a crucial time when the Church was in the midst of a painful struggle with the advent of modernity. The issue was to find a theological language that could speak to the concerns and aspirations of the modern world, yet could also overcome the shortcomings of the modernist proposals and be acceptable to the Church.

    It was through a determined and unwavering focus on incarnation that Chenu was able to negotiate successfully the major cultural shift facing the Church at the turn of the previous century. It was by remaining...

  12. Abbreviations
    (pp. 233-236)
  13. Bibliography of Marie-Dominique Chenu
    (pp. 237-321)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 322-328)
  15. Index
    (pp. 329-330)