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Durham e-Theses
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Ressourcement: a failed retrieval of the sense of the Tradition

MORRIS, JOHN,EBENEZER (2023) Ressourcement: a failed retrieval of the sense of the Tradition. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Accounts of Ressourcement usually focus on its material concerns---patristics, ecumenism, ecclesiology, theological anthropology---or its opponents: the ``new'' theology was one which did away with the ``old'' theology, i.e. neo-thomism. This thesis contends that this way of seeing things is at best misleading and at worst erroneous. Misleading, as taken by themselves these projects can seem eclectic; erroneous, as many of the accounts of Ressourcement endeavour (whether commendatory or accusatory) are materially inaccurate; nowhere more so than in the clashes with that ill-defined bogeyman, neo-thomistic scholasticism. Even that recent scholarship which does attribute to Ressourcement a unifying insight (most notably the excellent work of Hans Boersma) chooses to focus largely on its fruit.

Turning this procedure on its head, I argue: (i) that Ressourcement correctly diagnosed an intentional problem---the disconnection between spirituality and theology, between the virtue and the science of faith---menacing contemporary orthodoxy and driving contemporary heresy, (ii) set about addressing this intentional rupture in the reception of Tradition, (iii) was immediately and widely misunderstood and ultimately (iv) failed, exactly at its supposed moment of triumph, the postconciliar springtime, when the extrincisism which it had long combated became near-universal. This failure is with us today in the fast-disintegrating chaos of Catholic theology and practice. (It is the ultimate root of the astounding depopulation of our Churches, our seminaries---and our universities.)

The solution Ressourcement proposed remains viable (its failure due to incompleteness, not radical error) but only if one critical flaw is addressed: the lack of attention to liturgy. Thus with the clairvoyance of hindsight not only do I define the movement by an argument it never explicitly made---after all, what endeavour is aware, until afterwards, of its founding charter?---but I propose a solution---the retrieval and development of the ancient western liturgy---which would have seemed at least startling to most of my authors; yet which I am convinced truly captures the spiritual insight behind Ressourcement.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Ressourcement, Tradition, Catholic Theology, Liturgy, Intentionality
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 Nov 2023 09:17

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