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Good. No Jacket. There is a prior owner's name written on the front free endpaper, otherwise no owners' marks; pages are modestly age-toned but remain clean; binding is secure; the hard cover shows some wrinkling at the spine ends and some darkening the spine; there are also two drip-spots and a few small specks on the front cover surface and spots of rubbing along the spine shoulders and at head and heel, otherwise sound.
New. First published in 1944 and currently in its seventh edition, The Drama of Atheist Humanism is what we like to call both timely and timeless. Henri de Lubac's compelling historical survey of humanism (the substance of which he maintains is more antitheism than atheism) is largely free of theoretical discussion or 'theology, ' per se. His primary assertion revolves around the belief that a deep undercurrent of antitheism---a term coined by French socialist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and propelled by a large proportion of Western thinkers---has firmly taken hold of Western culture. Unlike the hollowing effect produced by purely critical atheism, 'contemporary atheism is increasingly positive, organic, constructive. Combining a mystical immanentism with a clear perception of the human trend...'Atheist humanism, as de Lubac concedes to name it for practical purposes, has three principal aspects typified by Auguste Comte, Ludwig Feuerbach (with his disciple, Karl Marx), and Friedrich Nietzsche. Their common foundation, he writes, is the rejection of God and 'the annihilation of the human person. ' What was once man's highest glory, the fundamental mystery of God-made-man, became a tyranny. In de Lubac's words, 'That same God in whom man had learned to see the seal of his own greatness began to seem to him like an antagonist, the enemy of his dignity. ' He does not speculate on the distortions and infidelities that altered man's understanding of God and himself, choosing rather to follow the particular ways in which Comte, Feuerbach and Nietzsche propagated their own systems, drawing from and refining the work of those who came before them. On these three he is very particular, and over half the book discusses the thought behind and connections between each man's particular design. Feuerbach and Nietzsche he names protagonists of the drama. Comte's positivism he classifies as ally to the Nietzchean and Marxist currents. 'Like them, ' de Lubac comments, 'it [positivism] is one of the ways in which modern man seeks to escape from any kind of transcendency and to shake off the thing it regards as an unbearable yoke--namely, faith in God. ' Comparing Nietzche with Soren Kierkegaard, de Lubac conducts an interesting discussion regarding myth and mystery. Like he does through the entirety of the book, de Lubac evenhandedly represents both figures and their ideas while steadily reinforcing his theme: 'Mystery is not a rational system; faith is not a 'starting point for thought'; belief is not speculative; the real individual is face to face with a real God: that is the quite simple truth that Kierkegaard is never weary of repeating, turning it this way and that. 'In the second half of The Drama of Atheist Humanism, de Lubac makes a dramatic turn. 'The sun did not cease to rise! ' he proclaims. 'Marx was not yet dead, and Nietzsche had not yet written his most searing books, when another man, another disturbing but more truly prophetic genius, announced the victory of God in the human soul, and his eternal resurrection. ' Fyodor Dostoevsky may have 'originated no system...supplied no solution for the terrible problems with which our age is confronted in its efforts to organize social life, ' but (as de Lubac provocatively claims) he did 'foreshadow a new state of humanity. 'Unlike Comte, Feuerbach and Nietzsche, Dostoevsky does not ultimately abandon God in favor of man. Though his heroes observe that 'there is nothing more foolish than this eternal conversation' (Brothers Karamazov), they continually go back to it. 'What torments these beings, ' writes Dostoevsky biographer Henri Troyat, 'is not illness or fear of tomorrow: it is God. Their author obligingly relieves them of petty everyday worries in order to leave them, naked, face to face with Mystery. Their active life corresponds to our underlying life. ' Where Nietzsche and the rest finally submitted to the 'impatience of limitations' (to quote...
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