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Aquinas’s Notion of Pure Nature and the Christian Integralism of Henri de Lubac

Not Everything is Grace


Fr. Bernard Mulcahy

Twentieth-century Catholic theology was strongly affected by Henri de Lubac’s claim that the western theological tradition went awry by allowing that one could have an adequate idea of human nature without reference to humanity’s supernatural end. According to de Lubac, the culprits were early modern scholastics, and their mistake was the idea of pure nature. Aquinas’s Notion of Pure Nature and the Christian Integralism of Henri de Lubac: Not Everything Is Grace contributes to the current literature criticizing de Lubac’s thesis. Specifically, it offers an explanation for its enduring power and popularity with particular attention to the contemporary Radical Orthodoxy movement.


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Preface ix


Preface SINCE THIS DISSERTATION’S completion in 2008 several new studies have im- proved the theological literature on pure nature. Articles and a second edition of Lawrence Feingold’s work aside, Steven A. Long’s Natura Pura (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010) must be acknowledged as an exceptionally clear and helpful work. Jürgen Mettepenningen has offered an interesting reading of 20th-century Catholic theology in his Nouvelle Théologie—New Theolo- gy (London: T&T Clark, 2010), one touching on some of the same points cov- ered here, albeit from a markedly different perspective. Among new studies of Jansenism and of early modern French religious and intellectual history are Joseph Bergin’s Church, Society and Religious Change in France (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009), John J. Conley’s Adoration and Annihila- tion (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), and Brian E. Strayer’s Suffering Saints (Brighton, SXE & Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2008). These are all very valuable to theologians, as is Eric Nelson’s The Jesuits and the Monarchy (Aldershot, HAM: Ashgate, 2005), a volume I unfor- tunately missed during my research. To avoid boring the reader with a more comprehensive list of personal and professional acknowledgements, I thank only God, the Order of Friars Preachers, and the exemplary theologians who were my supervisors at the Aus- tralian Catholic University, Anthony J. Kelly, CSsR, and Anne Hunt.

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