Is the portrait of God revealed in Scripture fundamentally intelligible? The biblical accounts of God reveal seemingly contradictory themes: God’s holiness and narratives telling of his anger; the Divine Omnipotence faced with the Impossible; the suffering Christ upon the Cross and the transcendent Trinity of Persons in God; the unique Savior and the universality of God’s salvific will; and so forth. How are we to hold together all of this data without denying any aspect of the mystery of God? Must we give into our ambient culture’s sense that the biblical God cannot be taken seriously by truly discerning and rational minds when they try to understand "the Divine"? Or, in the midst of this apparent contradiction, can we find the lines of harmony in the revealed mysteries?
In Divine Speech in Human Words, Fr. Emmanuel Durand unties some of the knots that face us when we reflect on the God of biblical Revelation. In each of the essays gathered here, Fr. Durand sympathetically articulates the tensions and apparent contradictions experienced by contemporary minds as they strive to understand the revealed truth of God. A whole host of topics are covered in this volume: the Cross and the revelation of the Trinity; God’s holiness and transcendence; divine immutability and the sorrow of a loving God; Divine Providence and human prayer; the fatherhood of God and eschatology; Christ’s way of life; and many others.
Drawing philosophical insights from the Thomistic tradition as his intellectual tools, Fr. Durand nonetheless emphasizes the importance of a properly theological mode of reflection, allowing these issues to be illuminated by the revealed truth of Sacred Scripture. Thus, for each of these difficult topics, he shows that a vital theological response must not limit itself to mere logical rigor but, rather, requires metaphysical insight and, above all, sapiential appreciation of God’s revealed word. With such instruments in hand, each essay approaches the tensions of biblical revelation with an eager readiness to show how a thoughtful Thomistic practice of biblical theology can guide faith as it seeks an understanding of both contemporary and perennial theological problems.
"Durand’s key contribution comes in showing how an intentionally Thomistic approach to theology allows one successfully to navigate a range of theological problems, both contemporary and perennial, while simultaneously drawing upon the biblical witness to manifest how it might rightly be received not only as intelligible and truthful speech about God, but as God's very own speech to us."~Michael A. Dauphinais, Ave Maria University
"Rooted in the thought of St Thomas, and flowing from a life’s meditation on the riches of Scripture, these elegant and beautifully crafted essays model for us studious and prayerful dogmatic attention. Fr Emmanuel Durand, OP, shows us both how to attend to God and to God’s work among us - modeling the care and curiosity appropriate in our interrogation of Scripture, and of Scripture’s greatest interpreters – and he shows us what we should attend to – he shows us how powerful and imaginative theological thinking flows from attention to the core mysteries of the Christian faith. This is a collection for all theologians, those avowedly Thomist certainly, but also for all seeking to learn good habits of thought and concerned with the relationship between good dogmatic thinking and the close reading of Scripture. All of us have much to learn from Durand’s lucidity of expression and faithfulness in attention"~Lewis O. Ayres, Durham University
"Fr. Emmanuel Durand is among the most vital voices within Roman-Catholic (and Christian) theology today. Francophone readers have been able to learn from him these past few decades. It is very good to know that, with this publication, English-speaking readers can now profit from his insights. This is the kind of theology we need today: deeply attuned to contemporary concerns (for instance on the question of divine suffering and anger), constantly engaged with the scriptural witness, and steeped in some of the most significant theological and philosophical works (ancient and modern). If you wonder where Roman-Catholic theology might be (fruitfully!) headed these coming years, look no further!"~Christophe Chalamet, University of Geneva
"Durand is that rare breed of theologian who works from the biblical witness while engaging with readings in the tradition with equal seriousness and attending to relevant related teachings of the magisterium. Metaphysics, ethics and spirituality become intrinsic to the theological task. His erudition is impressive. Durand's Thomist orientation will appeal widely and well beyond Thomist circles. This is a gem."~Gavin D'Costa, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome
"This book is a model of ‘Thomistic ressourcement.’ Not only does Emmanuel Durand offer a profound reflection on the attributes of God, on God’s action, on Christ, and on salvation, he also formulates a quite exemplary method which brings together Sacred Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, Thomas Aquinas, and contemporary theology. The close attention Durand gives to Sacred Scripture and to the employment of analogy, together with a keen sense of God’s mystery and the singularity of Christ, allows him to offer a fresh reading of Thomas Aquinas on issues which are of utmost theological relevance today. This book is an exemplar of how to do theology."~Gilles Emery, OP, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
"This is an important work to have available in English. Fr Durand’s explorations are serious and learned, while always thoughtful, unpretentious and accessible. He is a Thomist with wide-ranging knowledge and interests, equally at home in St Thomas, the world of biblical scholarship and the landscape of modern theology. These essays will repay careful attention"~Karen Kilby, Durham University
"Fr. Emmanuel Durand is one of today’s most significant Catholic theologians. He addresses central questions posed by the Christian faith with unfailing rigor, learning, and imagination. In a coherent and convincing way the chapters of this book combine close attention to the words of scripture with exceptional speculative insight on a range contested issues in theology: the attributes, actions, and saving will of God—including whether God has emotions—the Trinity, the incarnation, and the universal saving significance of Christ. The appearance of Fr. Durand’s first book in English is an event of signal importance for contemporary Catholic theology."~Bruce D. Marshall, Southern Methodist University
"This volume is not only deeply instructive, but has the merit of showing in practice how theology can only be enjoyed when it is conceived in unity with life and the profound questions it poses to us. Following in the footsteps of Aquinas, Emmanuel Durand proves in these pages to be a true master of theology."~Guilio Maspero, Pontifical University of Holy Cross, Rome