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Maurice Blondel was a French Catholic philosopher.
He was a professor at the universities of Montauban, Lille, and Aix-Marseille
during his influential career. Like
his contemporary Henri Bergson he was anti-rationalist and scorned science. In his first work, L'Action (1893, rev. ed. 1950), he laid the groundwork for his later thought. Blondel held that action alone could never satisfy the human yearning for the transfinite, which could only be fulfilled by God, whom he described as the “first principle and last term.” In his positive affirmation of God he was close to St. Augustine, Plato, and Leibniz; he later also accorded legitimacy to the rational proofs of God's existence. His other chief works were La Pensée (2 vol., 1934–35) and Le Problème de la philosophie catholique (1932).
The following article was translated with a computer software translation program and without a doubt it contains several -- if not, many errors.
"Philosopher, theologist, nondogmatic catholic, Blondel was
in constant dialogue with his contemporaries, and his style of
hermeneutic of the crowned texts was integrated little by little
by the French theologists by the turning of the XIXe century,
and by those which followed, thus leading to the Vatican II
and the great catholic revival of the years 1960. It was
however not easy thing: this uvre causing (however ever put at
the Index) was read discreetly until 1950. Indeed, the
modernistic crisis of Catholicism was played around the
reading of the crowned texts, i.e., more precisely, around the
modern approaches of reading, in particular the
historico-critical methods (which, for some, threatened
positivity of the divine Revelation). If, like writes it
Létourneau, " the thought of Blondel can be seen like the
reception of the conscience of the history and modernity
inside Catholicism ", the work makes the eloquent
demonstration of it. One sees the philosopher there refusing to
move back in front of the questions caused by the
contributions of the history and theology: he questioned the
tradition starting from modernity, without fear. From this point
of view, the introduction of the book is of an admirable
clearness; it locates the actors as much that the stakes, just as
it paints France in crisis, shared between the secularity and the
emergence of a better and better organized social Catholicism.
Under the deaf person influences of Kant, Blondel practised
hermeneutic genius, which is often seen translated by the
means of vitalistic metaphors (grain, seed, germ,
fruitfulness...). They are there images characteristic of the
pastoral speech, very as much as thought on the language of
the years 1880-1900, under the influence of Darmesteter (life
of the words studied in their significances, 1888), another
dimension of modernity at Blondel. The discussion between
Loisy and Blondel, analyzed à.fond by Létourneau, reveals the
impacts of the meeting between history, philosophy and
theology (I would add also philology): the herméneutique one
of the crowned texts can it " legitimately " nourish intimate
experiment? How are the knowledge (and conscience)
historical opposed to the more personal " forms " knowledge?
Blondel wished the reconciliation from the points of view. "
Its " history lies within a scope of thought theological, history
which is also reflexion on the Church and the truth of the
Gospels. But it is all the same shock of the disciplines which
is born its herméneutique. The reader-Blondel is one believing
which seeks. It is not a question there of a paradox, but of a
volunteer position of the spirit, regarded " at the same time
action and as significance ". One did not finish yet taking the
measurement of the influence of the uvre of Blondel and the
work of Létourneau in fact amply the demonstration."
Source: Yannick Portebois, recension of the book of Alain
Létourneau on Blondel, appeared in University of Toronto
Works of Maurice Blondel
Works published with the university Presses of France
Genesis of the thought and stages of its spontaneous rise
Responsibilities for the thought and the possibility of its
The problem of the secondary causes and the pure one to act
The human action and conditions of its result
BEING ET.LES BEINGS
Test of concrete and integral ontology
The ACTION (1893)
PHILOSOPHY AND The CHRISTIAN SPIRIT
Essential autonomy and indeclinable connection
Conditions of symbiosis only normal and salutary
PHILOSOPHICAL REQUIREMENTS OF CHRISTIANITY
Letter on the requirements of the contemporary matter thought
of apologetic and on the method of philosophy dens the study
religious problem (1896). Letter with the director of "Annals
of Christian philosophy ". The idealistic illusion. Principle
elementary of a logic of the moral life. History and dogma.
Historical value of the dogma.
The herméneutique one of Maurice Blondel. Its emergence
during the modernistic crisis
Alain Létourneau, the St. Lawrence, Bellarmin, 308 p.
Source: The Encyclopaedia of the Agora - 2002
"Maurice Blondel was de Lubac's philosophical prophet;
he has at least as much right as anyone else to be
called the philosopher of the Second Vatican Council,
which did so much to bring back a spiritual
empiricism into Catholic thinking."
Abridged Biographical Data
"Maurice Blondel effected a new beginning in Catholic thought. In a highly original manner he took up modern philosophy – Descartes, Leibniz, Malebranche, Kant, Hegel, positivism – and developed a philosophy, which appropriated the ‘principle of immanence’ of these thinkers and opened it to a consideration of Transcendence and historical Revelation in Christianity. The reception of his work was hampered by immanent difficulties, personal problems (his blindness would hinder the writing of the later works) and the unfortunate situation of the Church at the time of its wrangling with modernism."
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