Early in the 1930s, a number of French Catholic and secular philosophers debated the question of the meaning, even the very possibility, of Christian philosophy. Positions articulated during these debates provided intellectual background to debates about nature and grace, and the interaction of philosophy and theology that informed theological debate before and during the Second Vatican Council. These questions continue to be raised in theological debate today.
This selection of previously untranslated documents from the French debates about Christian philosophy provides a long-needed complement to available English-language literature on the subject. These documents show that the debates were highly complex, involved multiple sides, and prompted development of certain participants' positions. Four of Maurice Blondel's contributions are included, as are selections by Gabriel Marcel, Etienne Gilson, Fernand Van Steenberghen, among others. A detailed historical introduction provides much-needed background to these intertwined debates.
The editor's thematic outline of seventeen different participants' positions and engagements includes but also goes beyond the selections translated in the volume. It provides a full and balanced treatment of the numerous participants, and sets the complex intellectual context for understanding the positions, issues, and main personalities of the debate. A chronological bibliography of literature comprising and commenting on the debates and their issues is also included and will serve as an invaluable aid to further scholarship.
Gregory B. Sadler is assistant professor of philosophy at Fayetteville State University and associate editor of the Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry.
"Sadler provides non-Francophone readers with a more complete understanding of the first phase of an important philosophical debate that has been ongoing for more than seventy-five years. In order to fill in the gaps, he makes available previously untranslated documents, many of which make the greatest contribution to the debate."--Peter Redpath, professor of philosophy, St. John's University