Spring 2022

Qualcosa di Dio: The Metaphysics of Desire and Paradox of the Real

Aaron Riches

Spirito e libertà1 was published in 1980 by the Milanese publisher Jaca Book. A revised text of two of the most controversial sections of Surnaturel,2 the book was Henri de Lubac’s third reflection on his masterwork to be taken alongside les deux jumeaux of 1965: Augustinisme et théologie3 moderne and Le mystère du surnaturel.4 The 1980 volume, as an act of self-reflection, is luminous for the audacity of what de Lubac lets stand. Without so much as a hint of self-conscious second-guessing or anxious dialing-down of his 1946 thesis, de Lubac repeats: the desire of the human heart is already “something of God.”5


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1. Henri de Lubac, Spirito e libertà (Milan: Jaca Book, 1980). Prepared in French in the late 1970s, the original manuscript of de Lubac’s Esprit et liberté was not published before the French original was lost. Its Italian translation remained de Lubac’s sole work available in Italian only until volume 14 of his Œuvres complètes appeared in 2013: Esprit et liberté dans la tradition théologique suivi de Petit catéchèse sur nature et grâce (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2013). This volume, a reconstructed French edition of Spirito e libertà uses the 1946 text of Surnaturel as its basis, integrating the modifications published in the 1980 edition of Spirito e libertà.

2. Henri de Lubac, Surnaturel. Études historiques (Paris: Aubier, 1946).

3. Henri de Lubac, Œuvres complètes, vol. 13: Augustinisme et théologie moderne (1965; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2000). This work is a revision of the first part of Surnaturel.

4. Henri de Lubac, Le mystère du surnaturel (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2000), a booklength expansion of “Le mystère du surnaturel,” Recherches de science religieuse 36 (1949): 80–121.

5. De Lubac, Spirito e libertà, 261 [Esprit et liberté, 187; Surnaturel, 487].