success stories

Posted June 19, 2003

Book: Edward Schillebeeckx: A Theologian in His History
Author: Erik Borgman
Continuum, New York, pp. 468

Excerpt from Jacket:

How did a young man from a traditional Belgian Catholic family, whose conventional training in philosophy and theology took place just before and during the Second World War, become one of the leading progressives at the Second Vatican Council and a theologian with an international reputation?

Edward Schillebeeckx: A Theologian in His History answers this intriguing question, using extracts from Schillebeeckx’s earliest, previously unpublished writings. This is the first full biography of his life and theological development until the end of Vatican II.

Erik Borgman vividly recreates a bygone Catholic culture; and by showing how Schillebeeckx reacted to, rose above, and helped to change it, he brings attention to the stature of this theological genius.

This is the story of the formation of the radically minded Dutch Church, which for many Schillebeeckx came to embody. Here, also, is vivid account of Vatican II from a Dutch perspective, which shows how hopes for the future came to be dashed and Schillebeeckx himself became the subject of investigation by the Vatican.

This book is essential reading alongside Schillebeeckx’s own major books Jesus, Christ and Church, offering deep insights into the mind of a master theologian.

Excerpts from Book:

“The present-day philosophical reflections which are bound up with life have rightly branded rationalism a living lie. The tame Enlightenment ideal of equilibrium, self-confident citizenship, has just had a rude awakening. Reality cannot be formulated. People have again gained a sense of mystery — including natural mystery. For our life is permeated with mystery. People now ‘believe’ in mysteries. And in all human knowledge there is doubtless a grain of irrationality, a crumb of ‘faith’, a touch of risk, a bit of verve.”

“Contemplation . . .is of the best, the noblest, that there is: the supreme pleasure. We have that happiness only now and then, just once in a while. That’s all. That God always possesses this happiness is truly striking. And there is more: that He has this to a still higher (infinite ) degree, how sublime that is! It is impossible to understand something so entrancing . . .yet true.”

Table of Contents:


Edward Schillebeeckx the theologian
Biography as contextual historiography
Approach and plan

Chapter 1: Youth and training up to 1944

Chapter 2: Working out the project of a theology of culture in the 1940s

Chapter 3: The view of the Church as a form of the theology of culture in the 1950s

Chapter 4: The Louvain theological synthesis

Chapter 5: A Dutch council theologian

Postscript: Notes on the theological yield