Rite and Man
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By Louis Bouyer
The beliefs and practices of Christianity find their source, not in man, but in God. Yet God was made man; he pitched his tent amongst his own creatures. And only with his Incarnation does he establish his Church and all its attendant, human practices. In Rite and Man: The Sense of the Sacred and Christian Liturgy, Louis Bouyer seeks to make these apparently abstract truths concrete. Aided by fresh insights from the fields of comparative religion and depth psychology, Bouyer examines the “anthropological antecedents” of the Christian ritual, with the express intention of bringing new and profuse light on both the humanity and divinity of Christianity. For “the more perfectly we know the human aspects of Christianity, the more perfectly we shall understand that part of it which is the result of divine intervention.”
A rite is the typical human action, inasmuch as it is connected with the word as the expression and realization of man in the world, and to the degree that this expression and realization are immediately and fundamentally religious. ( Louis Bouyer)
Discussing the commonalities between the pagan mysteries and the Christian liturgy; the relationship between language and ritual; the nature of sacrifice and sacrament; the continuity of the Word from myth to Gospel; and the realities of sacred space and time—Rite and Man offers an expansive and fascinating consideration of Christian sacramental realism.
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Louis Bouyer (1913–2004) was a member of the French Oratory and one of the most respected and visionary Catholic scholars and theologians of his time. Formerly a Lutheran minister, he entered the Catholic Church in 1939. Bouyer wrote over fifty works, including The Bible and the Gospel, Christian Initiation, and The Paschal Mystery.