A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
As a peritus at Vatican II and by the end of his life arguably the world’s leading Mariologist, René Laurentin has earned the privilege of republication of a work of considerable value for any theologian who aims for comprehensiveness of Catholic theological perspective, historically and systematically. Laurentin’s orthodox, yet highly original treatment displays his command of all of the relevant biblical, patristic, medieval and modern texts up to and including the entire proceedings of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the whole range of related historical and theological scholarship. His proposal to pursue Mariological speculation along two tracks – first, "from above," following the course of doctrinal development from biblical revelation to the VCII era, and second, "from below," considering Mary’s own life (walking in her footsteps, as it were), from before the Annunciation to the Parousia – provides a clear, accessible structure for the work, yielding rich theological and spiritual fruit. Not only are all the major Marian doctrines and their developments handled with the greatest sensitivity, from the Virgin birth to the modern promulgations of Immaculate Conception and Assumption, but Laurentin’s approach in his second part opens the way to a human-psychological treatment of motherhood, still solidly bolstered by traditional Christian anthropology. Regarding Mary’s status as Mother of God, Laurentin’s discussion of the Theotokos exhibits his deep ecumenical commitments, as much as his specific attention to Mary’s soteriological role as a sticking point for Protestantism. One of the most striking qualities of the work is Laurentin’s deft integration of his evident scholastic formation into an overarching vision thoroughly at ease with the phenomenological ("personalist") and existential currents in which he also inevitably swam throughout his education and professional scholarly occupation. As a result, the work can be read and appreciated instinctively, as it were, as much by the eclectic contemporary theologian, influenced by the likes of Heidegger, et al, as by the Thomist.
"Rene Laurentin was a wonderful scholar and was one of the very great Marian theologians of last century. This splendid treatise deals with the development of the Marian doctrine and approaches in five stages the key Marian mysteries. It concludes with twelve short and helpful appendixes on controversial questions. It is a go-to book for all those who need an introduction to Mariology."~Antonio Lopez, FSCB, John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family
" A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary is one of the classic modern surveys of the Catholic understanding of Mary's place in Christian theology. Laurentin is certainly one of the main Catholic theologians dealing seriously with Mary's role in the Church's life since Vatican II. He is always well-informed, balanced and thoughtful, and continues, since the late 1960s, to be the go-to expert on Marian questions. This book, summing up his thought on Mary, brings all his learning and powers of theological synthesis together in one brilliant volume."~Brian Daley, SJ, University of Notre Dame
"Father Laurentin's book is a classic--succinct, balanced, thorough. Contemporary Catholics too often lack basic knowledge of the Church's theology of Mary, and this lack impairs their theology of Christ, salvation, and the Church. This is the book to read--and to assign in class. Accessible and instructive to seminarians, undergraduates, graduate students and professors, and educated Catholics alike. A must read!"~Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"No theologian since Vatican II has made a more substantial contribution to Mariology than René Laurentin. The fruit of his lifelong engagement with the mystery of Mary, this book is the best introduction to Mariology presently available. Comprehensive, rigorous, yet clear and accessible, this is a book from which students will greatly profit and scholars will surely learn. Catholic University of America Press has done a great service to students and teachers of theology by making Fr. Laurentin’s work, in the final form he gave it, available for the first time in English."~Bruce D. Marshall, Southern Methodist University
"Scholars and Marian devotees alike will be delighted in the 6th edition of A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary. In it they will explore, study, and ponder with heart and mind the wealth of teaching on and devotion to the Blessed Mother throughout time. Father René Laurentin, a renowned French theologian and Vatican II peritus, offers his readers the findings of his research and reflection on Mary in six steps as it developed through history: Sacred Scripture, Patristics up to Ephesus (431), from the fifth century to the Gregorian Reform (c 1050), to Trent (1563), to the post-Tridentine period, up to the era of Vatican II. The reader will not only find historical development and doctrinal implications concerning the person and mission of Mary of Nazareth but will be led to enter the heart of the mystery of Mary as well."~Danielle M. Peters, STD, University of Notre Dame