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Maurice Blondel

    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).

Source: The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia


The following article was translated with a computer software translation program and without a doubt it contains several -- if not, many errors.

Maurice Blondel

               "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
               Quarterly .

               Works of Maurice Blondel
               Works published with the university Presses of France

               The THOUGHT

               Volume I
               Genesis of the thought and stages of its spontaneous rise

               Volume II
               Responsibilities for the thought and the possibility of its
               completion

               The ACTION

               Volume I
               The problem of the secondary causes and the pure one to act
 

               Volume II
               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

               Volume I
               Essential autonomy and indeclinable connection

               Volume II
               Conditions of symbiosis only normal and salutary
 

               PHILOSOPHICAL REQUIREMENTS OF CHRISTIANITY
 

               FIRST WRITINGS

               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.

               Documentation

               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."

Illtyd Trethowan

Abridged Biographical Data

                 Secondary school Dijon; Philosophy under Alexis Bertrand (Leibniz,
                 Maine de Biran)
                 University Dijon (Henry Joly: Leibniz)                  École normale superieure, Paris. Teachers: É. Boutroux, L.
                 Ollé-Laprune; Classmate: V. Delbos                  Teacher at secondary schools in Chaumont, Montauban,
                 Aix-en-Provence                  Dissertation: L'Action : Essai d'une critique de la vie et d'une science
                 de la pratique; "lesser thesis": De vinculo substantiale et de substantia
                 composita apud Leibnitium                  Professor at the University of Lille                  Lettre sur l'apologétique                  Professor at the University of Aix-en-Provence                  Histoire et dogme                  Takeover of the Annales de philosophie chrétienne until it was placed
                 on the index                  Begins publication of the later works: La Pensée, L'Être et les Êtres,
                 L'Action [II], La philosophie et l'esprit chrétien
 


    "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."

Albert Raffelt, Freiburg im Breisgau

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