Paradoxes of Faith – Contents

This is the second installment in a series of posts on Paradoxes of Faith by Henri de Lubac published by Ignatius Press.  Here I will cover the contents of the book before giving my own personal thoughts.

In this book, de Lubac’s goal is to lay out many of the paradoxes of the Christian faith without putting them into larger discourses.  I may comment more on this in my personal thoughts, but here I will touch on why de Lubac does this and how he accomplishes it.

De Lubac’s reasoning for not placing paradoxes into larger discourses is that authors almost always end up trying to explain why the paradox is not so.  So, this is in an attempt to truly maintain the paradoxes.  He states in the preface:

If the expression of a thought is inevitably partial, in the sense that it is incomplete, its elaboration in connected discourse may sometimes mislead and make it appear partial in the other sense of the word.  It is hoped that such a risk will in some measure be avoided by a fragmentary presentation.  How can fragments be otherwise than incomplete?

So, how is this accomplished?  The paradoxes are stated in short sentences or usually no more than a paragraph or two.  Then there is a break in the text followed by another paradox.  This makes the book seem almost like a modern day book of Proverbs.  The paradoxes are arranged topically, but are in some way distinct from one another.  The topics covered in the chapters of the book are: Paradox, Christianity, Witness, Adaptation, Spirit, Incarnation, Disinterestedness, Socialization, Truth, Man, World, Others, Suffering, Interiority, and Faith.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite of the shorter paradoxes, just to a give you a bit of the flavor:

We fool ourselves if we think by denying the progress of our time we secure the inheritance of all the treasures of the past.

In the next post, I’ll give my personal reflection on the book.

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