The Thomistic Response to the Nouvelle Theologie: Concerning the Truth of Dogma and the Nature of Theology

edited by Jon Kirwan
translated by Matthew K. Minerd
Catholic University of America Press, 2023
Paper: 978-0-8132-3663-6, eISBN: 978-0-8132-3664-3

The Thomistic Response to the Nouvelle Théologie: Concerning the Truth of Dogma and the Nature of Theology retrieves the most important and largely forgotten exchanges in the mid-20th-century debate surrounding ressourcement thinkers. It makes available new translations of works by the leading Thomists in the exchange: Dominican Fathers Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Michel Labourdette, Marie-Joseph Nicolas, and Raymond Bruckberger. In addition to a lengthy historical and theological introduction, the volume contains sixteen articles, thirteen of which have never appeared in English. All the major critical responses of the Dominican Thomists to the nouvelle théologie are here presented chronologically according to the primary debates carried on, respectively, in the journals Revue Thomiste and Angelicum. A lengthy introduction describes the unfolding of the entire debate, article by article, and explains and references the ressourcement interventions.

Unfortunately, the history of this important debate is largely surrounded by polemics, half-truths, caricatures, and journalistic soundbites. In the articles gathered in this volume, along with the accompanying introduction, the Toulouse and Roman Dominicans speak in their own voice. The central theses that define the two sides of the debate are sympathetically set forth. However, the texts gathered here show the immense lengths to which the Thomists went to initiate an authentic and fraternal theological dialogue with the nouveaux théologiens. Frs. Labourdette and Nicolas repeatedly argued for the importance of ressourcement work: they applauded its historical efforts, and they were generally sympathetic and complementary (although always pointed and persistent in gently expressing their concerns). Even Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange—whose infamous intervention is remembered as being a theological “atomic bomb”—is revealed as being no more guilty of escalation than the Dominicans’ interlocutors in their own responses to him and Fr. Labourdette.

This volume will greatly aid in the task of theological and historical reconstruction and will, undoubtedly, assist in a certain rapprochement between the two sides, as the essential texts, concerns, and theological arguments are made available in their entirety to professional and lay anglophone readers.
Jon Kirwan is assistant professor and Director of Graduate Programs in theology at the University of St. Thomas, TX. Matthew K. Minerd is professor of philosophy and moral theology, Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Pittsburgh, PA.
Translators’ Introduction: A Dialogue Delayed
Part 1: The Toulouse Response: Revue thomiste and Dialogue Théologique
1. Theology: Faith Seeking Understanding | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP
2. A Theological Dialogue | Raymond-Léopold Bruckberger, OP
3. Theology and Its Sources | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP
4. Criticism in Theology: A Response | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP
5. Theological Progress and Fidelity to St. Thomas | Marie-Joseph Nicolas, OP
6. The Analogy of Truth and the Unity of Theological Science | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP, and Marie-Joseph Nicolas, OP
7. Closing Remarks Concerning Our Position | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP
8. Discussion Surrounding Our ‘Dialogue Théologique’ | Michel-Marie Labourdette, OP, and Marie-Joseph Nicolas, OP
Part 2: The Roman Response: Garrigou-Lagrange on Truth and Dogma
9. Theology and the Life of Faith
10. Where is the New Theology Headed?
11. Truth and the Immutability of Dogma
12. Concerning Notions Consecrated by the Councils
13. On the Need to Return to the Traditional Conception of Truth
14. On the Immutability of Defined Truths, With Remarks on the Notion of the Supernatural
15. Relativism and the Immutability of Dogma According to the [First] Vatican Council
16. Correspondence | Maurice Blondel and Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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