London: Burns Oates Washbourne, 1950. First edition. Octavo, original blue cloth, blue top edge, original dust jacket. Early owner signature and small bookseller's label to front flyleaf, blue cloth and top stain still bright, gentle creasing to spine ends of slightly toned dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #558
"REGARDED BY MANY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURIES' KEY THINKERS—WOJTYLA, RATZINGER, VON BALTHASAR—AS THE 'ONE INDISPENSABLE TEXT'" (ROBERT ROYAL) First edition in English of Henri de Lubac's influential study of the Fathers of the Church, a framework for unity in the modern world. De Lubac's efforts to find a balance between individual piety and the larger ecclesial community was written in the 1930s but was not translated into English until after World War II. "The organizing thesis of de Lubac's Catholicism is that the early Church, patristic sources, and great figures such as Augustine and Aquinas all speak of salvation, not in the exclusively individual terms that sometimes marked Catholic piety in the first half of the twentieth century, but in social terms that recognized the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ on its way toward its promised end." (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). The focus on the Fathers is apparent from the appendix, "Extracts, Mainly from Patristic Sources," placed before the text as a secondary table of contents, followed by de Lubac's Introduction, dated "Lyons, July 31, 1937/Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola." The Church Fathers in the appendix provide witness for the text, which is divided into three parts: Part I: I. Dogma, II. The Church, III. The Sacraments, IV. Eternal Life. Part II: V. Christianity and History, VI. The Interpretation of Scripture, VII. Salvation through the Church, VIII. Predestination of the Church, IX. Catholicism. Part III: X. The Present Situation, XI. Person and Society, XII. Transcendence, Mysterium Crucis. The Extracts. "At heart," the French Jesuit "represented a confidence in the ancient wisdom and tradition of the church and its ability, under the influence of the Spirit, to speak to the challenges of history." (Robert Ellsberg, All Saints). With a Translator's Note by Lancelot C. Sheppard acknowledging the fourth French edition (Paris, 1947) as the source of this edition. McLean, A Bibliography of Christian Philosophy and Contemporary Issues, 103. Approbations. A handsome copy of an important book.