"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Welcome Rehabilitation of Jean Daniélou

Sandro Magister, who is always worth reading, has recently written of the "rehabilitation" as it were of Jean Daniélou nearly forty years after his death. (Say what you want about the Jesuits, but they know how to keep a secret. Has anyone yet discovered what it was that led to the downfall of the Jesuit bishop and obnoxious chauvinist Michel d'Herbigny, whose meteoric rise under Popes Pius XI and XII was matched by an almost equally rapid crash and burn? Even after reading Leon Tretjakewitsch's fascinating study--sadly hard to come by today--many years ago, Bishop Michel d'Herbigny SJ and Russia: A Pre-Ecumenical Approach to Christian Unity, I find that the mystery remains a closely guarded secret, which is itself a source for speculation not just about d'Herbigny but also about his Jesuit superiors and papal sponsors.Who has the most to hide?) I am heartened to see Daniélou being brought back in from the cold as it were. It seems that his alleged offense, now shown to be false, was used to bundle him off after he incautiously expressed politically incorrect (but manifestly obvious and demonstrably verifiable) truths about the heterodox drift of religious orders in the aftermath of Vatican II, his own Jesuit order being arguably the worst offender.

His books were part of that ressourcement movement that did so much not only to renew the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the twentieth century, but also to bring them closer. He was a prolific author, but is best known for his work on the Greek Fathers, Gregory of Nyssa especially and also Origen. I greatly enjoyed his typological work in From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Biblical Typology of the Fathers as well as From Glory to Glory: Texts from Gregory of Nyssa's Mystical Writings.

Daniélou also wrote much else besides, including, as mentioned, works on Origen as well as liturgical works: Bible and the LiturgyThe Angels and Their Mission: According to the Fathers of the Church, and Prayer: The Mission of the Church.

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