Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Donald J. Keefe

Second Advisor

Joseph A. Murphy

Third Advisor

William J. Kelly

Fourth Advisor

Joseph T. Lienhard

Fifth Advisor

Patrick W. Carey


The present study inquires into the systematic interconnection of Henri de Lubac's work on exegesis, the Eucharist, and his primary image of the Church as the Body of Christ. It concludes that the source of the organic unity within his ecclesiology lies within the sacramental correlation of the Eucharist and the Church, a correlation best expressed by reference to the principles of spiritual exegesis. Chapter one situates de Lubac's theology within the theological movement in France in the 1940's known as the "New Theology." The controversy surrounding this movement clarified the themes of fundamental theology forming the basis of de Lubac's theology: revelation, tradition, faith. This dissertation responds to a possible criticism of de Lubac's theology as fideist through an examination of the shift in emphasis in the magisterial documents on revelation between Vatican I and Vatican II with reference to de Lubac's position on the relationship between faith and reason. Chapter two offers a synthetic exposition of the principles of spiritual exegesis and shows that the relationship between the Church and the Eucharist in de Lubac's work, Corpus Mysticum, incorporates the principles and realistic symbolism proper to this exegesis. This study concludes that these exegetical principles provide an intellectual framework for understanding de Lubac's ecclesiology. This conclusion is borne out by chapter three's analysis of de Lubac's treatment of the Church as the body of Christ, the spouse of Christ, and the sacrament of Christ. Chapter four demonstrates that the relationship between the particular churches and the universal Church lies in the eucharistic character of the Church. This eucharistic ecclesiology also provides a theological foundation for a consideration of what constitutes episcopal collegiality. Chapter five suggests that de Lubac has developed an anthropology that is a Christology of the "whole Christ" which responds to the criticism of Christianity by the atheist humanists. Consequently, de Lubac's ecclesiology represents the social dimension of his work on nature and the supernatural in terms of the supernatural finality of the human person, here defined as incorporation into the "whole Christ."



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