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  • Do Not Stifle the Spirit: Conversation with Jacques Dupuis by Gerard O'Connell
  • Marinus C. Iwuchukwu
Gerard O'Connell, Do Not Stifle the Spirit: Conversation with Jacques Dupuis. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2017. Pp. 272. $30.00, paper.

In this book, O'Connell explains the rationale for publishing a posthumous work of Jacques Dupuis. According to him, the timing is consistent with the wish of Dupuis, who requested its posthumous publication. O'Connell explained that it is now an auspicious time to publish it because, besides the fact that Dupuis has since died, Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) is no longer the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) nor the pope. Moreover, the subject of Christianity's relationship with other world religions is still seeking a more appropriate Christian theological response.

The book consists of O'Connell's series of extensive interviews of Dupuis, focusing on his long investigation and trial by the CDF as well as his stimulating theology of religions and interreligious dialogue. In the interviews, Dupuis consistently maintained that the accusations made against him "as contradicting [End Page 143] the faith or the doctrine of the church were often due to misreadings or misinterpretations of what I had intended and written" (p. 126).

Although this book is a product of interviews by a journalist, its presentation does not minimize Dupuis's persistence in upholding a cutting-edge theology of religion, providing an effective mindset for promoting interreligious dialogue between Christians and people of other religious traditions. Despite his harrowing experience of the CDF trial, it is clear that he came out of it feeling more emboldened and determined in his core theological assumptions. However, Dupuis admitted that, as a result of the trial, he modified his use of two terms or expressions to eliminate possible ambiguities: "one terminological clarification is where I substituted the term 'Word of God as such' to that of 'the Word of God non-incarnate' (asarkos) distinct from the Word of God incarnate (ensarkos) or, better, 'as incarnate'; the other is where I have added the term 'asymmetrical' to my affirmation of a 'reciprocal complementarity' between Christianity and the other religions" (p. 119).

According to O'Connell, the trial by the CDF significantly promoted the theological ideas Dupuis espoused and definitely brought attention to the merits of inclusive religious pluralism as a credible Christian worldview for advancing sustainable interreligious dialogue—not only between Christians and other religions but also for the entire social and theological enterprise of interreligious dialogue across the globe. It is evident from the book that Dupuis has bequeathed to posterity a substantive theological model. His theology of religions has gifted to theologians and scholars invested in using religion to promote peace in society a truly Christian model of appreciating God's benevolence and ceaseless encounter with people of all religions. It must be said that this book is a brilliant hybridity of excellent journalism and theological scholarship, as well as an exceptional style of even flow of intellectually and theologically stimulating discussion—making this book a prize possession for both theologians and ordinary readers seeking to understand what transpired during the CDF's Inquisition-style interrogation of Father Dupuis, as well as another opportunity for further clarity in comprehension of Dupuis's inclusive religious pluralism and its value for interreligious dialogue. [End Page 144]

Marinus C. Iwuchukwu
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA


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pp. 143-144
Launched on MUSE
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