Johann Sebastian Drey. Mein Tagebuch über Philosophische, Theologische und Historische Gegenstände, 1812-1817ed. by Max Seckler (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 85, Number 1, January 1999
- pp. 82-83
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82BOOK REVIEWS tory of religion in Europe of the Modern Age cannot be treated as a unit; it varies too much from country to country. Also: "A single church [i.e. parish] community can never be representative of an entire church" (p. 310). Much of this accords with the inclination of this reviewer (tentatively proposed in his presidential address of 1977 (ante, LXTV [April, 1978], 153-167) that histories of religious belief in the Modern Age, and especially in the age of great masses, pose questions and problems of method whose consideration may still be in its beginnings. John Lukacs Phoenixville, Pennsylvania Johann Sebastian Drey. Mein Tagebuch über Philosophische, Theologische undHistorische Gegenstände, 1812-181 7. Edited and introduced by Max Seckler. (Tübingen: Francke Verlag. 1997. Pp. LVII, 628. DM 164,-.) Grounded in the developmental methodologies of German romantic and historical idealism, the Tübingen School of Theology (1817-1850) began formulating perspectives that have helped nurture the reforms ofVatican Council II. The founder, Johann Sebastian von Drey (1777-1853), left behind his fivevolume , unpublished Tagebuch (1812-1817) in the Wilhelmsstift in Tübingen. These papers have for the first time been fully edited by Professor Max Seckler. The Tagebuch makes clear that at the very inception of his career, Drey was committed to an organic conception of development as well as to the use of Schelling's philosophical and historical models. Seckler's introduction has analyzed the earlier work on Drey and the Tübingen School, which was done by Karl Adam, Stephen Lösch, and Josef Rupert Geiselmann. These earlier scholars had to demonstrate that the Tübingen theologians did not fall into the so-called "errors" of modernism, which viewed the historical and individualistic turn to subjectivity as a danger to the faith. Excerpts of the Tagebuch were published by Geiselmann in 1940, but Seckler has advanced beyond this minimalist stage by organizing and editing Drey's material from all five volumes. Seckler's footnotes on Drey's sources and the inclusion of Drey's marginal comments can help the scholar understand the flow ofDrey's thought in his early career. The Seckler edition contains material used in Drey's lectures, heterogeneous reflections, and the extended ruminations of his thought processes. Such material can help Drey scholars understand his mature commitment to the concept of the organic development of Catholic tradition with its ongoing comprehension of revelation. The Tagebuch itself originated in Drey's Ellwangen years and ends when he assumed his professional career in Tübingen. Drey can be observed as a theologian struggling to assimilate into Catholicism the philosophical and theological perspectives of his culture. Drey's lifelong reflections acted as a very clear signal to his theological successors that theology has to engage culture from a BOOK REVIEWS83 non-defensive posture in order continually to nourish the Catholic tradition, in which doctrine was to be seen as a riving organism. Drey and his pupils were determined to maintain the living unity and the integrity of Catholic doctrine, while they tried simultaneously to illustrate how tradition was related to revelation and how both have historically unfolded to meet the needs of mutable cultures. The Tübingen School began to establish the Catholic foundation for ecumenical thought, which has flourished in the twentieth century, by insisting that revelation through the Bible and Tradition has historically been comprehended and has provided each generation with the nourishment needed for its own reflections. In the light ofVatican Council II and the subsequent decades of discussion, Drey's stress on revelation, located in the Bible and Tradition, has helped theologians nuance even current thinking about the relationships among religion, revelation, and the Church. Drey's and his pupils' works should encourage contemporary theologians to engage their culture with the same spirit of adventure as that displayed by the Tübingen School. Donald J. Dietrich Boston College The Letters and Diaries ofJohn Henry Newman. Volume VII: Editing the British Critic, January 1839-December 1840. Edited by Gerard Tracey. (NewYork: Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press. 1995. Pp. xxvi, 550. $95.00.) This latest volume of John Henry Newman's Letters and Diaries, for the years 1839 and 1840, sees Newman at...