Classics in Translation
Lawrence S. Cunningham May 9, 2007 - 1:28pm
It has long been my habit to try to read something from the classical tradition of Catholic theology each day (I do not always manage to do this if truth be known). Recently I have been reading early each morning some of the shorter treatises of Saint Bonaventure in a new volume from the Franciscan Institute (located at Saint Bonaventure's University) which is volume #10 of the Works of Bonaventure with the subtitle of "Writings on the Spiritual Life." It is not my intention to talk about Bonaventure here but simply to note the vast resources available to educated readers who make use of the splendid works made available to us over the past decades. The "Classics of Western Spirituality" (Paulist Press) continue to pour forth volumes as they have since 1978. The Carmelites, through their publishing arm known as ICS, have given us splendid primary works and ancillary studies on the Carmelite tradition as has Cistercian Publications (now published through Liturgical Press). New City Press, among other projects, is giving us an absolutely wonderful body of the writings of Saint Augustine. Other such venues could be noted like the handy little patristic volumes coming from Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press. What strikes me is how recent it is that we could have at hand such resources in reliable translations. While there is much talk (some of it idle) about the loss of Catholic roots after Vatican II, the flourishing of such publications, often inspired by religious communities, is one small sign that at least one desire of the great giants like Danielou, Chenu, and DeLubac of the pre-conciliar period is alive and well, namely, that ressourcement which permits us to go back to those wellsprings of our common heritage and be nourished by their wisdom.