JEAN-JACQUES OLIER'S VIEW OF THE SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL OF HUMAN NATURE: A PRESENTATION AND AN EVALUATION (FRANCE, UNITED STATES)

LOWELL MARTIN GLENDON, Fordham University

Abstract

The writings of Jean-Jacques Olier, founder of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, present a view of human nature which appears unacceptable to most American Sulpicians. This has undermined efforts to return to the original spirit of the founder, as mandated by the Second Vatican Council. On the other hand, exegesis has taught us that the prima facie reading of any text can give way to more accurate and more nuanced understandings if we approach it with appropriate methodology.^ Therefore, in this study, the author examines M. Olier's writings on the spiritual potential of human nature to determine what he does or does not intend to say. To this end, the author situates M. Olier's teaching in a double context: that of the French School of spirituality, and that of his spiritual experience. Regarding the latter context, M. Olier's autograph journal of more than three thousand pages is a valuable resource to understand that his own negatively perceived human experience conditioned the development of his doctrine. In the French School, and in particular through Charles de Condren, M. Olier found encouragement and an apt environment for the thematization of his negative spiritual anthropology.^ The author abstracts from M. Olier's spiritual writings four propositions which express his view of human nature. The setting of the context, and the presentation of Jean-Jacques Olier's thought constitute the major section of the dissertation. After this, a final chapter seeks to evaluate whether the differences between the current American Sulpician world view and the founder's are apparent or real. The author describes in this chapter his failed effort at an exegetical translation of M. Olier's doctrine and explains why he concludes that the difference is real, because the fundamental view of the relation between God and man is not the same. Nevertheless, he suggests a possibility for productive dialogue between M. Olier and his contemporary American followers. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

GLENDON, LOWELL MARTIN, "JEAN-JACQUES OLIER'S VIEW OF THE SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL OF HUMAN NATURE: A PRESENTATION AND AN EVALUATION (FRANCE, UNITED STATES)" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323525.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323525

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