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92BOOK REVIEWS the entries. Enhancing the usefulness of this valuable reference tool, furthermore , are a detailed four-page chronology and a thorough thirty-two-page general index. G.A. Cevasco St.John's University, New York Creative Tension: The Spiritual Legacy of Friedrich von Hügel. By Ellen M. Leonard. (Scranton: University of Scranton Press. 1997. Pp. xv, 237. $24.95 clothbound; $18.95 paperback.) Ellen Leonard's study of Baron von Hügel focuses on his spiritual legacy, which, she says, "includes his writings and the example of his life." And her book, accordingly, is divided almost evenly between an account of his life and his various writings, including his letters. An appendix of thirty pages reprints the second chapter of the first volume ofvon Hügel's Mystical Element ojReligion , and this is appropriate because it is in this chapter that von Hügel gives his preliminary explanation of the three elements of religion which form both the theoretical and practical frameworks of his own religious life and that which he articulated to others who sought his help. The first part of this study will be disappointing to anyone familiar with von Hügel's life and thought, and for one being first introduced to the man it will be misleading. Instead of allowing von Hügel's voluminous writings, both published and unpublished, to shape her interpretation of his life, Leonard relies too heavily on the secondary literature of others for the framework and categories of her own study. Often she states an opinion of a previous writer about the Baron and then leaves that opinion to stand as though it is also hers, but without explaining why. Elsewhere she suggests the inadequacy of an opinion, but without giving sufficient explanation for its rejection. She mentions, for instance, Maisie Ward's theory of "the two von Hügels," only to reject it, but with an inadequate explanation. She accepts Nicholas Lash's ultimately meaningless remark that von Hügel was an "immensely learned amateur," as well as Marvin O'Connell's irrelevant observation that von Hügel "risked nothing professional in the scholarly wars . . . because he had no profession to risk." She can accept these characterizations because she herself places von Hügel in a false historical framework. She speaks of his giving his life to the "academic" study of religion, and elsewhere of his embarking on a "career as a scholar of religion ." The Baron's lifelong pursuit of the truth of religion as the means for making sense of his life had nothing to do with either the academy or a career, but rather with his own existential need and faith commitment. The particular form of his relationships with Troeltsch, Eucken, Holtzmann, and of course Tyrrell, Loisy, and a host of others, can only be understood within that very personal search. Other inaccuracies also weaken one's confidence in Leonard's control of the historical data. Von Hügel's diaries do not give "detailed accounts of his daily activities," as she states they do; nor does it make sense to say that BOOK REVIEWS93 "English Catholicism became his spiritual home." And to call Merry del VaI the "English member of the Vatican" requires more than a little explanation! The second part of this study which deals with von Hügel's writings is somewhat more successful in its achievement than the first.Yet even here, theological theorists like David Tracy and Elizabeth Johnson seem to influence Leonard more than what von Hügel actually wrote. Of course, von Hügel had the ordinary limitations of time, place, and information common to all mortals. But surely we do not condescend to the Synoptics, to St. Augustine, to St. Bernard, or to any other spiritual giant of on-going importance to lived Christianity because they lacked the specific insights of late twentieth-century postmodernists ! A careful reading of the Baron's essay on"The Place and Function ofthe Historical Element in Religion" might have modified Leonard's assertion that "Von Hügel, who shared the nineteenth-century approach to history with its emphasis on development and progress, had a naive faith in 'historical facts' which did...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 92-93
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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