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Title: The Christian anthropology of M.-D. Chenu
Author: Gray, J. P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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Marie-Dominique Chenu OP (1895-1990) did not complete a full treatment of Christian anthropology, yet his writing demonstrates that such a theology of humanity was the basis of his historical, ecclesiological and socio-political theological writing. In the thousand and more articles and small number of monographs Chenu published, he foreshadowed outlines for a theology of history, a theology of matter and a theology of the world. This study attempts to show that underpinning all these was his principal project, a theology of humanity. The evidence for Chenu’s Christian anthropology is introduced in this thesis through his early study of the dynamic of human understanding and faith, then further developed in his theological reflection on humanity through actual human situations like industrialised work, human socialisation in the church, his theology of history, and the nexus of matter and spirit in humanity which for him informed the authenticity of human engagement in the world. Chenu employed these twentieth century concerns in dialectical tension with the pre-modern theological methodology of St. Thomas Aquinas, situating current struggles over society and individuality, immanence and transcendence in their broadest historical and philosophical contexts. Chenu’s theological anthropology is incomplete, particularly given his deficient examination of human sinfulness, due to his overarching optimistic attitude to humanity. Such a positive outlook appears unsatisfactory from a contemporary perspective, yet there is also something challenging in Chenu’s hope for humanity and the realisation of its potential in the full humanisation he finds inaugurated in the Incarnation and leading humanity towards God’s future. Chenu’s theology mostly avoided being relativised by modernity’s agenda and thereby resisted stagnation in only mid-twentieth century concerns. Across a range of contemporary theological topics, Chenu explored a Christian anthropology that articulated the experimental and concrete ‘history’ of human life in relation to faith.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available