New books in the library for spring 2012

New books in the library for spring 2012

Recent publications by professors of the IUS

Massimiliano Marianelli,
The Primacy of Passions. 

Alain interpreter of Descartes
(Consonance and dissonance) Mimesis Edizioni, Milan 2012

Alain, pseudo-name for Emile Chartier, was one of the maître à penser of France between the 1800s and 1900s. Professor at the Lyceum Henry IV, he had a profound influence on numerous intellectuals of his time who came in touch with and were engaged by his thinking, among whom Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil... In his introductory essay to “Les passions de l’âme” of Descartes, he saw precisely in Descartes the model of a committed philosopher, “always active,” attentive to the problems of human beings.

In the same essay, in which the passions took on a central role, according to Alain, Descartes, was the first one to correctly consider them as intermediary dimensions for the human person: through them the body conditions the mind, which in turn “has the resources” to change the course of involuntary actions. In any case, passions are “good” because they animate the spirit, forcing it into movement. Among them, the primacy is held by generosity, qualified by Alain as faith, and first of all as faith of the human person and in his/her capacity for self-determination.

The work at hand, besides describing the image of Decartes according to Alain, gives the opportunity to reflect on the sense and meaning of the individual personality, therefore, of freedom as self-determination and the characteristic trait of modernity.

Marianelli, now renown for his studies on Simone Weil, is a professor in the Faculty of  Philosophy at the University of Perugia and the Sophia University Institute.

Alessandro Clemenzia, In the Trinity Church. In dialogue with Heribert Mühlen, Città Nuova, Rome 2012

This first work of Alessandro Clemenzia, professor at the Faculty of Theology of central Italy (Florence) and at the Sophia University Institute, is the fruit of his doctoral thesis at the Pontifical Lateran University, with a preface by Piero Coda and postscript by Elmar Salmann.


Our contemporary world is undergoing a crisis that impacts all sectors of human life, but seems to strike in a special way at the sphere of interpersonal relationships. Does it still make sense to speak of a “we”? 

In these pages the question is approached from an ecclesial point of view. Therefore, questions are asked in constant dialogue with the theologian Heribert Mühlen, on the ecclesial ‘we,’ that finds its grounding and origin in the We of the life of the Trinity: the originating space and divine backdrop that manifests the interpersonal structure of God, model of synthesis between unity and distinction. The ‘we’ of the Church finds in the Spirit the actualizing strength and in Christ the one who makes it possible for us to go from ‘we’ to being ‘one,’ from the many to unity, from the plural to the singular. The  ecclesial ‘we’ shows itself, in the logic of the I that goes beyond self, as encounter with the other, as the place in which the divine Trinitarian We (in its essence of Love) happens in the history of salvation.


Piero Coda, The Negativ and the Trinity: Hypothesis on Hegel. Città Nuova Editrice, Rome 1987,  reprint with a new 2012 preface

A historical-systematic survey on the Hegelian «Denkform» in the light of the hermeneutics of Christianity. A contribution to the current debate on Christ crucified as the revelation of the Trinitarian God in history.

The current relevancy of Hegel’s thought and theology’s interest in it, have decisively consolidated in these recent years. The work of Piero Coda is part of the dialogue that Catholic theology has begun for some time now with Hegel, with a specific and original slant. 

Basing himself on vast documentation and by reviewing the principal stages of Hegel’s thinking, the author formulates the hypothesis that the typically Hegelian notion of “negative,” in its precise reference to the Trinitarian image of the Absolute, constitutes the propulsive heart of the entire Hegelian system, not only in its hermeneutics of Christian revelation, but also in its proposal for the logical-metaphysical and ethical-political problem.  

From this comes the fascination for Hegel’s thought and its powerful impact on a great part of the past thinking and ideological praxis. And it is with this precise nucleus of Hegelism (the Hegelian “Denkform”) that today theology must measure itself, in that hermeneutical perspective that the author has already traced out in his precedent work: “Evento pasquale, Trinità e Storia” (trans. Pascal Event, Trinity and History) which appeared in this same series, and that he then developed in his successive works up to the recent “Dalla Trinità. L’avvento di Dio tra storia e profezia” (trans.: From the Trinity. The God Event: Between History and Prophecy) (Pre-requisite at Sophia, 1).

In this sense, if it is true that Hegel shows himself today to the theologian – to use the famous expression of Karl Bart  – as “a big problem,” because of the intrinsic difficulty of his thought, and as a “huge disappointment,” for the unacceptable results of his system, it is just as true that he can also show himself as “a great hope,” or at least as an invitation to bring to life from the heart of  Christian revelation a more complete understanding of the mystery of being, and a more suitable and incisive project of Christian humanism.
Twenty five years from its first edition, the book maintains intact its incisiveness and provocation that, in fact, in some way it confirms and re-launches.  

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