The Natural Desire for the Beatific Vision

Philosophy and Theology 9 (1-2):29-48 (1995)
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Abstract

The understanding of the human person as a natural desire for the beatific vision prompted fierce and convoluted debate between those who, like de Lubac, espoused la nouvelle théologie, and those who sought to maintain the standard view of the nature-grace relationship. This paper attempts to draw attention to the criticisms which Rahner addressed towards la nouvelle théologie, and to suggest that the distinction which Emmanuel Levinas makes between need (besoin) and desire (désir) offers a useful way of progressing the debate and articulating the understanding of the person as desiderium naturale beyond the language of logical and ontological coherence, and in the language of proximity, ethical summons, and responsibility.

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