Dupre, Louis 1925-
DUPRE, Louis 1925-
(Louis K. Dupre)
PERSONAL: Born 1925, in Veerle, Belgium; immigrated to United States 1958, naturalized 1966; son of Clemens Vincent and Francisca (Verlinden) Dupre; married Edith Cardoen (head of psychological services at University of Kortryk), May 17, 1978; children: Christian. Education: Catholic University of Louvain, Ph.D., 1952; post-graduate study in Denmark, 1957; Berchmanscollege Louvain, Belgium, Licence, 1958. Religion: Catholic.
CAREER: Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 1958–72, began as instructor, became professor of philosophy; Yale University, New Haven, CT, Lawrason Riggs professor of philosophy of religion, 1973–98, professor emeritus in religious studies. Visiting professor, Catholic University of Louvain, 1970–71, University of California—Santa Barbara, 1973–74, Loyola University, Chicago, 1979, Brigham Young University, 1980, Boston College, 1991, and Free University of Amsterdam, 1993.
MEMBER: Hegel Society of America (president, 1973–74), American Council of Learned Societies (fellow), American Catholic Philosophical Association (president, 1970–71).
AWARDS, HONORS: Public grants, Fondation Universitaire, 1954 and 1958; Danish government travel grant, 1956; American Council of Learned Societies grant, 1968; honorary doctorate, Loyola College and Sacred Heart University; Marianist Award, University of Dayton; award for excellence in teaching, Yale chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, 1996; Aquinas Medal, American Catholic Philosophical Association.
Het Vertrekpunt der Marxistischew wijsbegeerte: De kritiek op Hegels staatsrecht (title means "The Starting Point of Marxist Philosophy"), Staandard-Boekhandel, 1954.
Kierkegaard's Theologie: De Dialectiek van het Christen-worden, Spectrum, 1958, translation published as Kierkegaard as Theologian: The Dialectic of Christian Existence, Sheed and Ward (New York, NY), 1963.
Contraception and Catholics: A New Appraisal, Helicon, 1964.
The Philosophical Foundations of Marxism, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1966.
(Coeditor) Approached to Morality, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1966.
(Editor and author of introduction) Faith and Reflection: A Selection from the Writings of Henry Dumery, Herder (Freiburg, Germany), 1969.
The Other Dimension: A Search for the Meaning of Religious Attitudes, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1971.
Transcendent Selfhood: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life, Seabury Press (New York, NY), 1976.
A Dubious Heritage, Newman Books (New York, NY), 1978.
The Deeper Life: A Meditation of Christian Mysticism, Crossroad Publishing (Belleville, MI), 1981.
Marx's Social Critique of Culture, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1983.
The Common Life, Crossroad Publishing (Belleville, MI), 1984.
(Coeditor and author of introduction) Light from Light: An Anthology of Christian Mysticism, Paulist Press (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.
(Coeditor) Christian Spirituality: Post-Reformation and Modern, Crossroad Publishing (Belleville, MI), 1989.
Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1993.
Metaphysics and Culture, Marquette University Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1994.
Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection: Excursions in the Phenomenology and Philosophy of Religion, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1998.
Symbols of the Sacred, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2000.
The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2004.
Contributor of about 150 articles to philosophical and theological publications.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Third part of the trilogy, which includes Passage to Modernity and The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture.
SIDELIGHTS: Louis Dupre was hailed as "one of the most significant philosophers of religion of the twentieth century" by Edward T. Oakes in Commonweal. Author of over a dozen works on the philosophy of religion and more than 150 scholarly articles, the Yale professor emeritus has consistently examined the role of reason and rationality in the religious experience. Born in Belgium, Dupre came to the United States in 1958 and began his career at Yale in 1973. With his 1993 work, Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture, he began a trilogy of works dealing with the creation of the modern world of reason. The second volume, The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture was published in 2004. With Passage to Modernity, Dupre goes against the usual historical analysis in placing the birth of the modern age between 1400 and 1650. For him the intellectual forces were already in place by that time for the transition to a more human-centered cosmos. As Reed Way Dasenbrock noted in CLIO, Dupre "places the decisive moment in the evolution of modern culture considerably earlier than anyone else in this debate." Dasenbrock further commented that the author handles his argument "deftly and persuasively." April G. Shelford, writing in Renaissance Quarterly, praised the breadth of Dupre's study, observing that he "fills a large intellectual canvas with a crowd of philosophers and theologians from Plato to Pascal." However, Shelford also felt, "Many readers may feel uneasy with the terms of his argument." For Shelford, Dupre's refusal to contextualize his arguments in their cultural and societal connections was a failing of the book.
With The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, Dupre continues his study of the modern sensibility, examining the eighteenth century and the Age of Reason. Here, as Ricardo Miguel Alfonso noted in Atlantis, Dupre "attempts to rescue the Enlightenment from certain contemporary distortions and misconceptions." Alfonso further noted, "For Dupre, Enlightenment culture has provided our age with important and long-lasting concepts (expressivity in art, liberal democracy in politics, symbolism in theology), which we should not accept or reject in an outright manner if we are to understand their proper significance." Alfonso concluded, "Written in an accessible style despite its erudition, this contribution should leave a long-lasting mark in the field of eighteenth-century studies." Terry Eagleton, reviewing the same title in Harper's Magazine, had more measured praise. Eagleton felt The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, "ranging as it does over art, morality, religion, science, philosophy, social theory, and a good deal besides, is a marvel of scholarly erudition." Eagleton further thought the book could serve as "an excellent introduction to Enlightenment ideas for the general reader; if it is erudite, it is by no means esoteric." However, Eagleton also commented that Dupre's "book sacrifices analysis to description and depth to range. Its prose style is both lucid and lifeless, like Enlightenment reason at its least admirable." For Eagleton, what was missing in the work was "a narrative, thrust of argument, or critical edge." No such qualms affected Harry L. Carrigan, Jr., though. Writing in the Library Journal, he found the work a "magisterial overview" and a "first-rate history of ideas."
Dupre collects nine of his essays in the 1998 collection, Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection: Excursions in the Phenomenology and Philosophy of Religion. According to Todd Breyfogle, writing in Cross Currents, Dupre "sketches ways in which religious mystery may once again be asserted in modern intellectual terms." Breyfogle further commented that these essays display the author's "characteristic ability to pose the most fundamental questions in their sharpest aspect and to treat them with precision, rigor, and grace." Paul J. Levesque, writing in the Review of Metaphysics, felt the collected essays were "an excellent representation and overview, weaving the threads of [Dupre's] thought together." For Levesque, the core of Dupre's argument was that "all religious expression, insofar as it has a transcendent referent, is symbolic." Dupre's collection, Levesque concluded, is "a wonderful book through which to explore the role and very possibility of a transcendent dimension in our secular world." Emilie Griffin, writing in America, had further praise, describing the essays as "concentrated and substantive discussions." Likewise, David B. Hart, writing in First Things, called this same work "a beautiful book and one that merits far more than one reading." Oakes concluded that Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection is "one of the most satisfying works in philosophical theology that I can remember reading for some time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Levesque, Paul, Symbols of Transcendence: Religious Expression in the Thought of Louis Dupre, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.
America, February 13, 1999, Emilie Griffin, "Books for Lent," review of Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection: Excursions in the Phenomenology and Philosophy of Religion, p. 26.
Atlantis, revista de la Asociación Espanola de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos, June, 2005, Ricardo Miguel Alfonso, review of The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, p. 139.
Christian Century, July 16, 1997, "Seeking Christian Interiority: An Interview with Louis Dupre." p. 654.
CLIO, summer, 1997, Reed Way Dasenbrock, review of Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture, p. 512.
Commonweal, June 5, 1998, Edward T. Oakes, review of Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection, p. 26.
Cross Currents, summer, 1999, Todd Breyfogle, review of Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection, p. 266.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, November, 1998, David B. Hart, review of Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection, p. 55.
Harper's Magazine, March, 2005, Terry Eagleton, "The Enlightenment Is Dead! Long Live the Enlightenment!," review of The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, p. 91.
Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Harry L. Carrigan, Jr., review of The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, p. 166.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 1997, April G. Shelford, review of Passage to Modernity, p. 1202.
Review of Metaphysics, March, 1999, Paul J. Levesque, review of Religious Mystery and Rational Reflection, p. 673.
Theological Studies, June, 2005, Philip J. Rossi, review of The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture, p. 485.
Yale University Web site, http://www.yale.edu/ (August 20, 2005), "Emeritus Faculty."