A Short Treatise on the Virgin Mary (Paperback)
As a peritus at Vatican II and by the end of his life arguably the world's leading Mariologist, Ren Laurentin has earned the privilege of republication of a work of considerable value for any theologian who aims for comprehensiveness of Catholic theological perspective, historically and systematically. Laurentin's orthodox, yet highly original treatment displays his command of all of the relevant biblical, patristic, medieval and modern texts up to and including the entire proceedings of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the whole range of related historical and theological scholarship. His proposal to pursue Mariological speculation along two tracks - first, "from above," following the course of doctrinal development from biblical revelation to the VCII era, and second, "from below," considering Mary's own life (walking in her footsteps, as it were), from before the Annunciation to the Parousia - provides a clear, accessible structure for the work, yielding rich theological and spiritual fruit. Not only are all the major Marian doctrines and their developments handled with the greatest sensitivity, from the Virgin birth to the modern promulgations of Immaculate Conception and Assumption, but Laurentin's approach in his second part opens the way to a human-psychological treatment of motherhood, still solidly bolstered by traditional Christian anthropology. Regarding Mary's status as Mother of God, Laurentin's discussion of the Theotokos exhibits his deep ecumenical commitments, as much as his specific attention to Mary's soteriological role as a sticking point for Protestantism. One of the most striking qualities of the work is Laurentin's deft integration of his evident scholastic formation into an overarching vision thoroughly at ease with the phenomenological ("personalist") and existential currents in which he also inevitably swam throughout his education and professional scholarly occupation. As a result, the work can be read and appreciated instinctively, as it were, as much by the eclectic contemporary theologian, influenced by the likes of Heidegger, et al, as by the Thomist.