Revista Studii Teologice


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Părintele Stăniloae şi receptarea lui în spaţiul francofon. Scurt expozeu

French-language works dedicated to Father Stăniloae: an overview

Autor(i): Eugen MAFTEI

Awareness of the inestimable worth of Father Stăniloae’s works and the ne-cessity to have it translated into the most widely-circulating languages, has entailed the need to update the record of his works published in the West. This has prompted the present study which lists the French-language works dedicated to the Romanian theologian so far.
Surprisingly, most of Father Stăniloae’s works were translated into French during his lifetime: four titles which even though are not the author’s most important ones, are still milestones in the effort to disseminate his writings and make them known. The first one is the is the translation of a Dogmatic Theology course with a view to a doctoral thesis, carried out in 1980 by D. Neeser, and entitled Dieu est amour. It attempts to present the „local theology”, so scarcely known in the West, by dwelling mostly on divine love, seen in the light of other divine attributes: God’s infinity, eternity, omnipresence and omnipotence. A second translation: Prière de Jésus et expérience du Saint-Esprit belongs to Olivier Clément. Beside the contents itself, the work is interesting due to the translator’s commentaries on Father Stăni-loae, which emphasize the value of Orthodox theology by describing him as a perso-nality preserving the Byzantine roots while also experimenting the challenge of the Western world. In 1983, Father Marc-Antoine Costa de Beauregard issued a collecti-on of yet unpublished theological and missionary texts compiled under the title: Ose comprendre que Je t’aime. A result of interviews with Father Stăniloae, this work impressively portrays the Romanian theologian as both a man of great theological, philosophical and scientific culture, and a man of prayer and devotion. This first stage ends with the publication of the Introduction to Father Stăniloae’s most important work, his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. The translation was carried out by His Beati-tude Patriarch Daniel under the title Le Génie de l’orthodoxie. The book maintains the original structure, addressing three main issues: creation as token of the divine lovingkindness, Christian faith as fulfillment, and the revelation seen as a Church mystery.
The second stage in the dissemination of Father Stăniloae’s works followed his death and was less productive in terms of the number of works published. It included the publication of his commentaries to St Maximus the Confessor’s Ambigua. The French translation of these commentaries, with the footnotes of the Romanian origi-nal in the Church Fathers and Writers collection, was carried out by rev. A. Grigoraş.
The same stage included the doctoral theses dedicated to Father Stăniloae’s works and defended in various French universities. The first such work: La déifica-tion de l’homme d’après la pensée du Père Dumitru Stăniloae is authored by P.S. Giosanu, defended at Saint Serge Institute in Paris, and supervised by professors Boris Bobrinskoy and Olivier Clément. As its title states, this thesis dwells on Father Stăniloae’s view of deification, seen as a complex process of advancement towards perfection, in communion through love, leading to union with God according to His grace. Then followed the thesis drafted under the joint supervision of professors Michel Meslin (Paris IV Sorbonne) and Jean Greisch (Institut Catholic de Paris) by F. Pop, who entitled his work La „Prière de Jésus” dans la pensée de Dumitru Stăni-loae: recherche sur une „théologie” de l’inconnaissance et du paradoxe. It is a re-markable approach to the knowledge of God from a twofold theological and philo-sophical standpoint. The same topic is tackled from a different angle by rev. I. N. Florea in his thesis La Philocalie et ses versions: son influence sur la spiritualité orthodoxe roumaine et dans la théologie du Père Dumitru Staniloae, supervised by professors Boris Bobrinskoy (Institut Saint Serge) and Yves-Marie Blanchard (Institut Catholic de Paris). Strasbourg University also recently hosted the public defense of a thesis dedicated to Father Stăniloae, dwelling on ecclesiological aspects of his theolo-gy. It is the work of Sorin-Constantin Şelaru, L’Eglise, image du mystère de la Trini-té: les accents ecclésiologiques de la théologie de Dumitru Staniloae. The series of French-language doctoral theses concludes with the 2009 work of professor Ştefan Stroia, defended at Ecole Pratique de Hautes Etudes, and investigating the attitude of the Romanian theologian towards the Holy Mysteries: Dumitru Stăniloae (1903-1993) et le renouveau de la théologie orthodoxe de langue roumaine: la doctrine sacramentale.
Finally, the third part of this study is dedicated to the translation of Father Stăniloae’s complete works, insisting on the first volume of this series, namely Théo-logie ascétique et mystique de l'Eglise orthodoxe. The translation, carried out by rev. Jean Boboc and Roman Otal, was published in 2011 by Cerf publishing house in Paris. Based mainly on the 2002 Romanian edition, it is a practically literal translati-on of Ascetical and Mystical Theology, attempting to render as faithfully as possible Father Stăniloae’s view on the various aspects of the human path to perfection. Ma-intaining the structure of the Romanian-language original, the book describes the three stages of Orthodox ascetical practice: purification (part I), illumination (part II) and deification (part III), following step by step a Christian’s spiritual progress until achieving his final goal: union with God according to His grace.
The study dwells not on the contents of Father Stăniloae’s works, familiar to Romanian readership, but focuses mainly on the perception of Father Stăniloae, as show its preface and foreword. It is not a mere Ascetical Theology treatise, but an insistent call for metanoia addressed to all those wishing to reach God. Admitting that this understanding of spiritual experience, alien to historical-rational criticism, might challenge Western theologians, the translator highlights precisely the importan-ce of experiencing God’s presence in man’s life. According to father Boboc, the origi-nality of this book lies in what he terms a „spiral thinking”, namely constantly if at times repetitively reiterating the same points, in order to offer an ever deeper inter-pretation, according to the reader’s new capacity of understanding, entailed by the subtlety and skill in leading him that far. We also note the relationship established by Father Stăniloae between theology, philokalia and philosophy, allowing the author to employ Patristic theology without ignoring the philosophical perspective. Originally this work was intended as a Moral Theology course delivered by Father Stăniloae at the Faculty of Theology, which accounts for the obviously homiletic tone. We deem that Théologie ascétique, alongside the other works to be traslated under this com-prehensive project, will make the great theologian’s thought better known abroad.

Pagini: 89-106