Title The Givenness of Desire
Subtitle Concrete Subjectivity and the Natural Desire to See God
Author Randall S. Rosenberg
ISBN 9781487523671
List price USD 32.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 286
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Rosenberg has achieved something rare: a genuine and sympathetic conversation among neo-Scholastics, Lonergan, Girard, and la nouvelle théologie. The result is a valuable and immensely stimulating book, funded by terrific insight, for a theologically sophisticated readership.”

Jeremy D. Wilkins

Horizons: The Journal of the College of Theological Society June 2018


“This volume is a valuable resource for any scholar interested in the desire for self-transcendence and the natural desire for God.”

J.M. Meinert

Choice Magazine vol 55:05:2018


The Givenness of Desire creatively charts a path that mediates between the entrenched positions within the fraught debate about the supernatural. Appealing to Bernard Lonergan, Rosenberg looks for common ground by taking seriously the concrete subjectivity of religious experience and being-in-love as the way to arrive at a new relationship with God. The result is a daring proposal that suggests we move beyond the usual focus on intellectual desire to a mimesis of the living texts of the saints.”

Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College


“In the last decade and a half, the old debate over the natural desire for God in Catholic thought has been renewed with a vigor unseen since the days of Blondel and de Lubac. Rosenberg’s treatment of the topic is remarkable for its acuity and breadth, and is infused with a deep intelligence and a penetrating attention to everything most essential. Moreover, his account of Lonergan’s contribution is an extraordinary feat of conceptual clarification without any loss of profundity.”

David Hart, Fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study


The Givenness of Desire is a major and significant piece of work. Professor Rosenberg argues that the philosophical and theological insights of Lonergan can provide important correctives and new insights into the perennial theological issue of grace-nature. In his handling of his various sources Rosenberg is a sympathetic and generous interpreter, always looking for common ground and presenting his interlocutors in the best light. The work is scholarly, clearly written, and makes a welcome contribution to the current literature on grace-nature, bringing out the distinctive contribution of Lonergan’s work to resolving centuries-old disputes.”

Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology, Australian Catholic University


In The Givenness of Desire, Randall S. Rosenberg examines the human desire for God through the lens of Lonergan’s “concrete subjectivity.” Rosenberg engages and integrates two major scholarly developments: the tension between Neo-Thomists and scholars of Henri de Lubac over our natural desire to see God and the theological appropriation of the mimetic theory of René Girard, with an emphasis on the saints as models of desire. With Lonergan as an integrating thread, the author engages a variety of thinkers, including Hans Urs von Balthasar, Jean-Luc Marion, René Girard, James Alison, Lawrence Feingold, and John Milbank, among others. The theme of concrete subjectivity helps to resist the tendency of equating too easily the natural desire for being with the natural desire for God without at the same time acknowledging the widespread distortion of desire found in the consumer culture that infects contemporary life. The Givenness of Desire investigates our paradoxical desire for God that is rooted in both the natural and supernatural.




Part 1: De Lubac, Ressourcement, and Neo-Thomism

Chapter 1: De Lubac’s Lament: Loss of the Supernatural • The French Social and Political Context • Three Centuries of Neo-scholasticism: Separation of Nature and Grace • The Thomistic Consensus: The Silver Age of Scholasticism • Baius, Jansenius, and the State of Human Misery • De Lubac’s “Natural Desire for the Supernatural” • Impoverished Rationalism and a Return to Mystery • Surnaturel amid Theological Tensions: Daniélou and Garrigou-Lagrange • A Note on De Lubac’s Theological Style • A Different Kind of Lament: De Lubac after the Council • Conclusion

Chapter 2: Ressourcement and Neo-Thomism: A Narrative under Scrutiny, a Dialogue Renewed • Neo-scholastic Counter-narrative: Feingold’s Challenge • Natural and Supernatural Ends • Pure Nature and Concrete Historical Nature • Obediential Potency and the Aesthetic Compromise • The Intelligibility of Nature and the Human Good • Conclusion

Part 2: A Lonergan Retrieval: Pure Nature to Concrete Subject

Chapter 3: The Erotic Roots of Intellectual Desire • Analogy and Dialectic: Two Theological Trajectories • The Diminishment of Intellectual Desire • Beyond the “Erotic Cemetery”: Critical Realism and the Challenge of Intellectual Conversion • Eros of the Mind I: Natural Theology • Eros of the Mind II: The Emergence of the Question of God • Eros of the Mind III: The Challenge of Bias and the Human Good • Conclusion

Chapter 4: Concretely Operating Nature: Lonergan on the Natural Desire to See God • Nature I: Lonergan’s Scholastic Context • The Natural Desire to See God • Twofold End of the Human Person: Beyond Static Essentialism • Nature II: Lonergan on Emergent Probability • The Intelligibility of Nature and the Human Good Revisited • Obediential Potency and Vertical Finality in the Concrete World Order • The Aesthetic Compromise Revisited • Conclusion

Chapter 5: Being-in-Love and the Desire for the Supernatural: Erotic-Agapic Subjectivity • The Extrinsicism of Supernatural Desire • Sanctifying Grace and the Habit of Charity • The Four-Point Hypothesis: Trinitarian Structure of the Supernatural • The Shift to Interpersonal Relations: New Relation to the Same End • Metaphysical and Phenomenological Accounts of Love • Metaphysics of Love: Vertical Finality and a Critique of Extrinsicism • Phenomenology of Love: Lonergan and Marion • Erotic Subjectivity and Divine Grace • Desire to Be Loved • Loving in the Flesh: Sexual Pattern of Experience • You Have Loved Me First: Human Oath and Divine Love • Conclusion

Part 3: Mimetic Desire, Models of Holiness, and the Love of Deviated Transcendence

Chapter 6: Incarnate Meaning and Mimetic Desire: Saints and the Desire for God • Intellectual Desire and Mimetic Desire • Lonergan on Incarnate Meaning • An Expansion of Incarnate Meaning: Girard’s Mimetic Desire • Girardian Sanctity: Pacific Mimesis and the Graced Resistance to Violence • Sacrificial Violence, Self-Transcendence, and Self-Sacrifice • Conclusion

Chapter 7: The Metaphysics of Holiness and the Longing for God in History: Thérèse of Lisieux and Etty Hillesum • The Four-Point Hypothesis and the Metaphysics of Holiness • Thérèse of Lisieux: Love in the Heart of the Church • Contemplative Life and Openness to the World • Little Way as Sanctity Simpliciter • Contemplation and Action: Sanctity Simpliciter as Apostolic Sanctity • Habit of Charity: Feasting at the Table of Unbelief • Etty Hillesum: The Thinking Heart of the Barracks • Universal Activity of the Spirit • The Little Way of Etty: Quest for Simplicity and Contemplative Rest in God • Habit of Charity: “A Balm for All Wounds” • Conclusion

Chapter 8: Distorted Desire and the Love of Deviated Transcendence • A Civilization of Consumption: The Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching • Idolatry and Deviated Transcendence: Consumerist Practice in the Realm of the “Sacred” • Consumerism as a “Sacralization to Be Dropped” • Girard on Consumerism and Mimetic Desire • Consumerist Idolatry and the Distortion of the Scale of Values • Conclusion





About the Author:

Randall S. Rosenberg is an assistant professor in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University.

Target Audience:

People interested in Philosophy and Religion.

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