Winter 2012

Introduction: Liturgy and Culture

Continuing our theme of “Liturgy and Culture,” Paolo Prosperi, in his article “The Birth of Sources Chrétiennes and the Return to the Fathers,” recounts the founding of what is often known as nouvelle théologie, a theological renewal begun by a group of Jesuits at Fourvière at Lyons in the 1940s, led by, among others, Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Jean Daniélou. Prosperi highlights the group’s efforts to “return to the sources”—to recover the work of the Fathers of the Church. For the Jesuits at Fourvière, turning to the Fathers meant above all “asserting the unity between dogmatic theology and the living experience of the mystery of Christ and the Church; in brief, . . . the unity between life and thought."

In “‘The Christian mystery is the mystery of creation’: An Introduction to Jean Daniélou,” Jonah Lynch exposits and reintroduces us to the work of Daniélou. In his capacity both as translator of the early Fathers and as theologian, Daniélou influenced the Second Vatican Council and its reception thereafter. Lynch pays special attention to Daniélou’s first book, The Presence of God, wherein “we see the style that will be the hallmark of all Daniélou’s literary production: it brings everything in—poetic passages and philological research, typology and the discoveries of archaeology—while leading to a precise and attractive description of the mystery of man and God.”

In Retrieving the Tradition, we present the first chapter of The Presence of God. Jean Daniélou explains that through the liturgy, “the universe has become once more a Temple, where we are at home with God in the cool of the evening, where man comes forward, silent and composed, absorbed in his task as in perpetual liturgy, attentive to that Presence which fills him with awe and tenderness.”