Books by Henri De Lubac

At the Service of the Church: Henri Lubac Reflects on the Circumstances That Occasioned His Writings
In the words of Hans Urs von Balthasar, this memoir ``explains the genesis, meaning and fate of the books of Father de Lubac, and situates them within the course of the various stages of his life, his studies, his meetings, his friendships as well as his legendary exiles and banishment." Written by one whose life intertwined deeply with the great personalities and events of the pre- and post-Vatican II periods, the book provides a unique perspective on the intellectual and religious life of the Church and indeed European culture during these exciting times. De Lubac says that ``it is not without embarrassment, or even more than that, that I transcribe some of the texts in which I am too central a figure. But I have not wanted, through some subjective consideration, to omit anything that might help to shed some light on the matters concerned. Because of the circumstances, from beginning to end, the point of view is strictly personal."

In this book one finds an honest spirit that is without bitterness and self-pity, that on the contrary witnesses to a profound love of God and the Church. This book provides a perspective that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Co-published with Communio Books.

Brief Catechesis on Nature and Grace
The great twentieth-century theologian, Henri de Lubac, sought to clarify the relationship between nature and grace, a relationship that he thought had been greatly misunderstood by certain theologians. De Lubac’s insights revolutionized the modern discussion of nature and grace, and it influenced thinkers such as Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as well as Hans urs Von Balthasar.

This book, written after the Second Vatican Council and toward the end of de Lubac’s long life, summarizes and extends key ideas he sought to recover from the classical sources of early and medieval Christianity. De Lubac revisits the theme of his work, Surnatural, as well as its development in his later works, while addressing issues of the post-Vatican II era. Confronted with distortions of Christian teaching, de Lubac repudiates the extremes of, on the one hand, radically opposing nature and grace, as if the grace were entirely alien to nature, and on the other hand, of radically confusing them.

A Brief Catechesis on Nature and Grace also contains appendices, including de Lubac’s famous discussion, “The Council and the Parachurch”, in which he examines widespread misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council.

Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man
With a Foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI

This book first appeared just over fifty years ago. It is the pilgrimatic work of one of the 20th century's greatest theologians. Deeply rooted in tradition, it breaks ground and sows seeds which will bear their fruit in the Second Vatican Council's central documents on the Church. Here, Henri de Lubac, one of the giants of 20th century theology, gathers from throughout the breadth and length of Catholic tradition elements which he synthesizes to show the essentially social and historical character of the Catholic Church and how this worldwide and agelong dimension of the Church is the only adequate matrix for the fulfillment of the person within society and the transcendence of the person towards God. This book is a classic that deserves to be read and reread by every educated Catholic.

"For me, the encounter with this book became an essential milestone on my theological journey. For in it de Lubac does not treat merely isolated questions. He makes visible to us in a new way the fundamental intuition of Christian Faith so that from this inner core all the paricular elements appear in a new light."

— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI

"Few of our living authors have given us a work at once so profound, so apt and so persuasive as this of the great French Jesuit. Certainly, few could have written the book on the basis of such a rich knowledge of the Christian tradition.... De Lubac's thought has the originality which springs from the contact with a great tradition of a brilliant, deep and charitable mind. And it has a contemporaneity that bears witness to a profound, all-embracing, human concern."

— Dom Christopher Butler, Abbot of Downside

"We cannot leave it without referring to its almost incredible comprehensiveness of view. De Lubac writes of the Church in such a way as to allow fully for the truth there is in Protestant or Liberal views of the Christian society."

Church Times

Christian Faith: An Essay on the Structure of the Apostles' Creed
De Lubac shows that Christian Tradition is a living force and in the Apostle's Creed there is both depth and relevance for today's understanding of the Christian message.

Related

  • The Creed and the Trinity, by Henri de Lubac | Foreword to The Christian Faith: An Essay on the Structure Of the Apostles' Creed
Christian Resistance to Anti Semitism: Memories from 1940 1944
The Discovery of God (Resourcement (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Henri de Lubac played a major role in nearly all of the theological debates within Roman Catholicism during the twentieth century. Educated in the renewed Thomism of Blondel, Rousselot, and Maréchal, he urged a return to the church fathers, cofounding Sources chrétiennes, and important series of patristic texts with translations. The Discovery of God contains the guiding thread of all of de Lubac's work: the idea of God and the life of the spirit.

In this important volume one finds the ultimate justification for de Lubac's positions against the atheisms of East and West. The book stands as a gloss on this dictum of Thomas Aquinas: “In every act of thought and will, God is also thought and willed implicitly.” Although his book provoked much controversy at the time of its original publication, de Lubac insisted that its intention was simply to draw on the double treasure of the philosophia perennis and Christian experience in order “to lend a helping hand to a few people in their search for God.”

Drama of Atheist Humanism
De Lubac traces the origin of 19th century attempts to construct a humanism apart from God, the sources of contemporary atheism which purports to have "moved beyond God." The three persons he focuses on are Feuerbach, who greatly influenced Marx; Nietzsche, who represents nihilism; and Comte, who is the father of all forms of positivism. He then shows that the only one who really responded to this ideology was Dostoevsky, a kind of prophet who criticizes in his novels this attempt to have a society without God. Despite their historical and scholarly appearance, de Lubac's work clearly refers to the present. As he investigates the sources of modern atheism, particularly in its claim to have definitely moved beyond the idea of God, he is thinking of an ideology prevalent today in East and West which regards the Christian faith as a completely outdated.

Related

History and Spirit: The Understanding of Scripture According to Origen
Origen (185-ca. 254), one of the most prolific and influential of the early Church Fathers, is best known to us for his Scripture exegesis. Henri de Lubac’s History and Spirit is a landmark study of Origen’s understanding of Scripture and his exegetical methods. In exploring Origen’s efforts to interpret the four different senses of Scripture, de Lubac leads the reader through an immense and varied work to its center: Christ the Word.

As Hans Urs von Balthasar said in discussing this seminal work: “The theory of the senses of Scripture is not a curiosity of the history of theology but an instrument for seeking out the most profound articulations of salvation history...” (From the book The Theology of Henri de Lubac.)

What the reader finds on this journey is not only, then, a fascinating view of the mind and spirit of an important Father of the Church, but an essential key to a more profound understanding of the way in which Christ speaks to us through Scripture.

Letters of Etienne Gilson to Henri De Lubac
Ignatius Press (April 1998)
Medieval Exegesis Vol 1 (Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought)
Henri de Lubac's four-volume study of medieval exegesis and theology is one of the most significant works in modern biblical studies. Now available for the first time in English, this volume stands on its own as an introduction and overview of the subject. It will be an essential addition to the libraries of all those studying in any field of biblical interpretation.

Reviews

Medieval Exegesis, vol. 2: The Four Senses of Scripture (Retrieval & Renewal Ressourcement in Catholic Thought)
Originally published in French as Exégèse médiévale, Henri de Lubac’s multivolume study of medieval exegesis and theology has remained one of the most significant works of modern biblical studies. Available now for the first time in English, this long-sought-after volume is an essential addition to the library of those whose study leads them into the difficult field of biblical interpretation.

The first volume in de Lubac’s multivolume work begins his comprehensive historical and literary study of the way Scripture was interpreted by the church of the Latin Middle Ages.

Examining the prominent commentators of the Middle Ages and their texts, de Lubac discusses the medieval approach to biblical interpretation that sought “the four senses” of Scripture, especially the dominant practice of attempting to uncover Scripture’s allegorical meaning. Though Bible interpreters from the Enlightenment era on have criticized such allegorizing as part of the “naivete of the Middle Ages,” de Lubac insists that a full understanding of this ancient Christian exegesis provides important insights for us today.

Medieval Exegesis, vol. 3: The Four Senses of Scripture (Retrieval & Renewal Ressourcement in Catholic Thought)
For many years biblical scholars were convinced that the Middle Ages was marked by a so-called pre-critical understanding of the Bible, with only a handful of isolated exceptions — like Andrew of St. Victor — popping up as precursors of the historical-critical method. Here, however, Henri de Lubac draws on extensive documentation to demonstrate that even among the Victorines traditional exegesis involving an interplay between the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture is a constant throughout medieval exegesis. The one exception — a radically important one, de Lubac readily admits — was Joachim of Flora, whose doctrine is considered in the final chapter of this volume.

This third English volume of de Lubac's monumental Medieval Exegesis covers volume 2, part 1 of his French volume and includes both the original Latin notes and an English version of the sources.

More Paradoxes
Following up his first book, Paradoxes of Faith, containing wonderful, short reflections on themes of Christianity and the spiritual life, this second book presents more thought-provoking gems that once again illustrate the magnificent language, clarity, spiritual understanding and shrewd discernment of the great theologian and spiritual writer Henri de Lubac, S.J.

These insights by Father de Lubac on a variety of subjects are rich and profound meditations, aphorisms and pieces of wisdom that express the freshness, incongruities and challenges of life. This is a book of inspiration by a master of the spiritual life that provides excellent material for prayer and meditation, as well as great homily ideas for the clergy.

The Motherhood of the Church: Followed by Particular Churches in the Universal Church
Priests are called "Father" and the Church is called "Mother". Our "Holy Mother the Church" is a traditional way of speaking among Catholics. But are these outdated, sentimental expressions? Or do they express a deep insight into the nature of the Church as a whole and of ordained ministry in relation to the Church? Is there a genuine theological meaning to the traditional reference to the Church as "she"?

Henri de Lubac addresses such questions with his usual profound erudition. He deeply mines the Christian tradition in examining the Motherhood of the Church. Focusing on the Church's Motherhood allows this great theologian to unite two profound truths: the Church is the Bride of Christ and the Church is Christ's Mystical Body. As de Lubac shows, the Church cannot be rightly considered apart from Christ and his saving work, both of which should be understood in light of the mystery of the Church's maternity.

Related

Paradoxes of Faith
A collection of profound aphorisms and reflections that are the fruit of de Lubac’s study over the course of his life on the themes of Christianity. They are rich and thought-provoking gems, spiritual aphorisms, and meditative reflections that express the freshness, and tensions of the spiritual life.
Splendor of the Church
Considered by many the bright jewel among the many enriching books of Cardinal Henri de Lubac, this work is a hymn to the beauty of the Church, under some of whose leaders for a time he unjustly suffered. The Splendor of the Church is, in a sense, a personal testimony of the great theologian's humility and love of the Church of Christ. It is also a classic work in the theology of the Church. Indeed, de Lubac's profound insights significantly contributed to Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, especially in its treatment on the Church as mystery and as the Sacrament of Christ.
Scripture in the Tradition (Milestones in Catholic Theology)
A presentation of the main themes of de Lubrac's monumental study where he demonstrates that forms of scriptural exegesis are part of the ongoing reflective life of God and the process by which the human race learns to share its mystery.

Reviews

Theology in History: The Light of Christ, Disputed Questions and Resistance to Nazism
The unique insight and impressive scholarship of the eminent French theologian Cardinal Henri de Lubac are clearly evident in this volume of collected articles and essays. An article of great timeliness on the priesthood according to St. John Chrysostom as well as an important study of the long debate over the salvation of Origen are among the texts included in the first section, devoted to patristics and Christian humanism. The second section, comprised entirely of an unpublished work on tripartite anthropology tracing the body-soul-spirit distinction from St. Paul, the patristic tradition, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, up to the modern period, will prove an invaluable guide for further study and reflection. The section concludes with a beautiful text entitled "The Light of Christ", a prayerful meditation written during the dark hours of Nazi domination. Section three deals with disputed theological questions such as the internal causes of the disappearance of the sense of the sacred, the mystery of the supernatural, and the development of dogma. He also has a section on Christian resistance to Nazism and anti-semitism, as well as two sections on the thought and writings of several important modern spiritual writers.