Essential Supernatural, The

978-1-58731-240-3; 978-1-58731-241-0
New Books
Hardback, $42.00 Ebook, $30.00
398 pages, 6" x 9", introduction, notes

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Essential Supernatural, The

A Dialogical Study in Kierkegaard and Blondel

Agbaw-Ebai, Maurice Ashley

Plato wrote that truth is best seen in dialog, when two minds meet and sparks of truth flame out as from the contact between flint and steel. This is especially true when there are both strong agreements and strong differences between those two minds. This scholarly comparison of Kierkegaard and Blondel fits that model well. The differences are at first stark: Kierkegaard was strongly Protestant, Blondel was strongly Catholic; Kierkegaard focused on choice, Blondel on action; Kierkegaard is usually classified as an "existentialist," Blondel as a "personalist" or a "phenomenologist." What holds them together at their center? Not that both were philosophers, or that both were Christians, or that both happened to be both philosophers and Christians, but that both were Christian philosophers, whose center was Christ, and therefore both God and man, His image.

     Fr. Maurice helps us to see how these two very different personal temperaments and philosophical methods meet and see a similar light, not despite their divergence but in and because of it. I found this work surprising and enlightening, and I found Fr. Maurice to be a reliable, sympathetic, and trustable guide through both of these challenging thinkers.

     To call a philosopher "challenging" is often a negative euphemism for "difficult to comprehend." But in this case it is not negative but positive. Like Jesus and Socrates, both Kierkegaard and Blondel "challenge" us to a duel--a duel not with them but with some of our easiest and laziest assumptions about the intrinsic dynamism and restlessness of our very selves. This book should come with gentle warning labels to those who dislike that kind of challenge.

 

— Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College