Henri de Lubac

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Cardinal coat of arms by Henri de Lubac

Henri Cardinal de Lubac SJ (born February 20, 1896 in Cambrai , † September 4, 1991 in Paris ) was a French Catholic theologian and Jesuit. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal .


De Lubac joined the Society of Jesus on October 9, 1913 and was ordained a priest in 1927 . From 1929 to 1961 he was professor of fundamental theology and the history of religion at the Institut catholique in Lyon . During the Second World War he was temporarily underground because of his work in the French resistance . In 1938 his programmatic work Catholicisme (German: 1943) appeared, which, from the theological tradition, re-accentuated the universal salvific meaning of the church. Since 1950 he had been banned from teaching for eight years by the order because of his doctrine of grace (especially Ora- naturel 1946) and during this time he published three books on Buddhism . Nevertheless, Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier , Archbishop of Lyon, chose him to be his advisor at the Second Vatican Council . On February 2, 1983, he was accepted into the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II without prior episcopal ordination as a cardinal deacon with the title deaconry Santa Maria in Domnica, in order to honor his theological life's work. As recently as 1969, Lubac had refused to be appointed cardinal.


Together with Marie-Dominique Chenu , Jean Daniélou and Yves Congar, Lubac is considered to be a pioneer of nouvelle théologie . She faced the problem of immutability and the historicity of truth in a new way, wanted to redefine the theological knowledge of God and the relationship between nature and grace as well as to non-Christian religions and to conduct a dialogue with Marxism . With this the main themes of the Second Vatican Council were planned.

The theologians mentioned never understood their “new” theology in the sense that the tradition of the church was henceforth irrelevant and theology “reasonable” only possible within the framework of the current state of scientific knowledge. Rather, Lubac recalled that it is precisely the Catholic dogma that creates community (Latin “communio”).

In the German-speaking world, Lubac mainly influenced the theologians Karl Rahner , Hans Urs von Balthasar , Joseph Ratzinger , Karl Lehmann , Erhard Kunz and Walter Kasper . His monumental compendium on the history of the fourfold sense of writing ( Exégèse médiévale: les quatre sens de l'écriture , Paris 1959–1964), which builds on preliminary studies since the end of the 1940s, received a lot of attention beyond theological specialist circles also in medieval studies .

The “post-conciliar crisis” prompted Lubac to again argue clearly in favor of tradition. He diagnosed: “The tradition of the Church is misunderstood and only felt as a burden. (...) This tradition, which is received with faith and carried on in faith, is measured against one's own personal 'reflection'. "

In 1968 Henri de Lubac was honored with the Grand prix catholique de littérature for his work Images de l'abbé Monchanin and for his life's work .


  • Crisis to salvation. A statement on the post-conciliar neglect of tradition. German Translated by Karlhermann Bergner. 2., revised. Ed. Morus, Berlin 2002. ( L'église dans la crise actuelle ) ISBN 3-87554-372-6 .
  • The divine revelation. Commentary on the foreword and on the first chapter of the dogmatic constitution “Dei verbum” of the Second Vatican Council. Johannes-Verl. Einsiedeln, Freiburg 2001. (Theologia Romanica; 26) ( La révélation divine ) ISBN 3-89411-369-3 .
  • Typology, allegory, spiritual sense. Studies on the History of Christian Interpretation of Scripture. From the French. transfer and a. by Rudolf Voderholzer . Johannes, Freiburg 1999. (Theologia Romanica; 23) ISBN 3-89411-357-X .
  • My writings in retrospect. With e. Foreword by Christoph Schönborn . Transferred from Manfred Lochbrunner a. a. Einsiedeln, Freiburg: Johannes 1996. (Theologia Romanica; 21) ( Mémoire sur l'occasion de mes écrits ) ISBN 3-89411-337-5 .
  • Corpus mysticum. Church and Eucharist in the Middle Ages; a historical study. Transferred by Hans Urs von Balthasar .: Johannes, Freiburg, Einsiedeln 1995, ISBN 3-89411-161-5 .
  • In the ways of God. Second German edition after the transfer by Robert Scherer, revised by Cornelia Capol: Einsiedeln: Johannes Verlag 1992, ISBN 978 3 89411 308 7
  • Schleiermacher , Fichte , Holderlin . Translated by Alexander G [arcía] Düttmann. In: Typology. International contributions to poetics. Frankfurt am Main 1988, pp. 338-356 (First in: La postérité spirituelle de Joachim de Flore . Part 1: De Joachim à Schelling Paris [inter alia] 1979, pp. 327-342).
  • Credo: Shape and vitality of our creed , Johannes Verlag: Einsiedeln 1975, ISBN 978-3-89411-167-0
  • Faith from love. Catholicisme. (2nd German edition of the French work from 1938, Einsiedeln 1970), 3rd edition Einsiedeln: Johannes 1992.
  • Ghost from history. The understanding of writing in the origins. Transferred and introduced by Hans Urs von Balthasar . Johannes, Einsiedeln 1968.
  • The tragedy of humanism without God. Feuerbach-Nietzsche-Comte and Dostoyevsky as prophets. German Translated by Eberhard Steinacker, Otto Müller Verlag, Salzburg 1950 ( Le Drame De L'Humanisme Athée ).


  • Martina Altendorf: Henri de Lubac: Basics of a fundamental ecclesiology. In: Cornelius Keppeler, Justinus C. Pech (ed.): Contemporary understanding of the church. Eight ecclesiological portraits. Heiligenkreuz 2014, ISBN 978-3-902694-64-5 , pp. 59–90.
  • Donath Hercsik: Jesus Christ as the center of the theology by Henri de Lubac (= Frankfurt theological studies 61). Knecht, Frankfurt a. M. 2001, ISBN 3-7820-0858-8 .
  • Ulrich Kuther: Church tradition as a spiritual interpretation of scriptures. On the theological use of scriptures in Henri de Lubacs “The Church. A consideration ” (= studies on traditional theory 5). LIT, Münster 2001, ISBN 3-8258-5563-5 .
  • Martin Lenk: From the knowledge of God. Natural theology in the work of Henri de Lubac . Knecht, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-7820-0683-6 .
  • Karl Heinz Neufeld: Henri de Lubac: Thinker between worlds and times. In: Janez Perčič, Johannes Herzgsell (ed.): Great thinkers of the Jesuit order. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2016, ISBN 978-3-506-78400-1 , pp. 75-86.
  • Peter Reifenberg u. a. (Ed.): God for the world. Henri de Lubac, Gustav Siewerth and Hans Urs von Balthasar in their basic concerns. Festschrift for Walter Seidel . Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Mainz 2001, ISBN 3-7867-2319-2 .
  • Ekkart Sauser:  Henri de Lubac. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 5, Bautz, Herzberg 1993, ISBN 3-88309-043-3 , Sp. 282-286.
  • Rudolf Voderholzer: Meeting Henri de Lubac. Sankt-Ulrich-Verlag, Augsburg 1999, (Witnesses of the Faith) ISBN 3-929246-44-9 .
  • Rudolf Voderholzer: “A genius of friendship” - Henri de Lubac (1896–1991). In: The Theological Backstairs: The Great Thinkers of Christendom. Edited by Michael Langer u. Józef Niewiadomski . Pattloch, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-629-01670-7 , pp. 9-21.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Henri de Lubac: Resistance chrétienne au nazisme. Paris 2006
  2. ^ Crisis for salvation. A statement on the post-conciliar neglect of tradition. Berlin 2002