Jean Daniélou

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Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou

Cardinal-Deacon of San Saba
Giorgio La Pira and Jean Daniélou.jpg
Giorgio La Pira and Daniélou in Florence in 1953.
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office30 April 1969 - 20 May 1974
PredecessorAugustin Bea
SuccessorJoseph Schröffer
Ordination20 August 1938
Consecration19 April 1969
by François Marty
Created cardinal28 April 1969
by Pope Paul VI
Personal details
Birth nameJean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou
Born(1905-05-14)14 May 1905
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died20 May 1974(1974-05-20) (aged 69)
Paris, France
Previous postTitular Archbishop of Taormina (1969)
MottoFluvium aquæ vitæ
("River of life")
Coat of armsJean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou's coat of arms

Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou S.J. (French: [danjelu]; 14 May 1905 – 20 May 1974) was a French member of the Jesuit order and a Roman Catholic cardinal. He was also a theologian and historian and a member of the Académie française.


Early life and studies[edit]

Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou was born on 14 May 1905 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He was the son of Charles Daniélou and Madeleine Clamorgan. His father was an anticlerical politician who served in the French government several times as a minister, while his mother was an educator and the founder of institutions for women's education. His brother Alain (1907–1994) was a noted Indologist and a renowned historian.

Daniélou studied at La Sorbonne and passed his agrégation in grammar in 1927. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1929 and during his regency taught at a boys' school in Poitiers, from 1934 to 1936. He then studied theology at Fourvière in Lyon under Henri de Lubac, who introduced him to patristics and the Fathers of the Church. He was ordained a priest on 20 August 1938.[1]

Priesthood, episcopate and cardinalate[edit]


During World War II, Daniélou served with the Air Force in 1939–1940. With the fall of France to Nazi Germany he was returned to civilian life and entered doctoral studies, completing in 1942 his thesis on the spiritual doctrine of St. Gregory of Nyssa. He was then appointed chaplain to the female section of the École Normale Supérieure, at Sèvres. He spent most of his time on research in patristics, and became one of the founders of the Sources Chrétiennes collection. In 1944 he was named Professor of Early Christian History at the Institut Catholique de Paris, later becoming dean there. Beginning in the 1950s he produced several historical studies which included The Bible and the Liturgy, The Lord of History, and From Shadows to Reality that furnished background for the development of Covenantal Theology.[2]

Thoroughly grounded in the Fathers of the church, who worked from Scripture, Daniélou generally avoided the neo-Thomistic terminology and approach and used a more relational vocabulary, emphasizing our self-gift in response to God's gift in Jesus Christ, with the gradual unveiling of the Trinitarian life in history.[3]

Pope John XXIII appointed Daniélou a peritus for the Second Vatican Council.[4] In 1969 Pope Paul VI made him a cardinal, with the episcopal titular see of Taormina, and Cardinal-Deacon of San Saba.[5] Similar to his theology professor Henri de Lubac he twice refused the cardinalate but accepted on the insistence of Paul VI.[1] He was elected to the Académie française on 9 November 1972, to succeed Cardinal Eugène Tisserant.[4]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died unexpectedly in 1974 in the home of a woman who was alleged to be a prostitute. The Society of Jesus, after an investigation, determined that Daniélou was bringing money to pay for the bail of the woman's husband. His brother defended him strongly, pointing out that he had always gone out of his way to serve those in most need.[6]


A number of his works on the early Church abridged for a popular audience remain in print.

French works, with English translations

  • Platonisme et théologie mystique: doctrine spirituelle de saint Grégoire de Nysse, (Paris: Aubier, 1944)
  • 'Les orientations preésentes de la pensée religieuse', Études 249, (1946), 5-21
  • Origène, Table ronde, Paris, 1948 [ET: Origen, trans Walter Mitchell, (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1955)]
  • Sacramentum futuri; études sur les origines de la typologie biblique, (Paris: Beauchesne, 1950)
  • Bible et liturgie, la théologie biblique des sacrements et des fêtes d'après les Pères de l'Église, Cerf, Paris, 1951 [ET: The Bible and the Liturgy, Liturgical Studies, 3 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1956)]
  • Les anges et leur mission, d'après les Pères de l'Église, Desclée, Paris, 1952 [ET: The Angels and their Mission: According to the Fathers of the Church, trans David Heimann, (1957)]
  • Essai sur le mystère de l'histoire, (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1953)
  • Dieu et nous, Bernard Grasset, Paris, 1956. [ET: God and the Ways of Knowing, trans Walter Roberts, (1956; repr San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2033)]
  • Les manuscrits de la Mer Morte et les origines du Christianisme, L'Orante, Paris, 1957 [ET: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Primitive Christianity, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1979)]
  • Histoire des doctrines chrétiennes avant Nicée, 3 vols, (Paris: Desclée, Éditions du Cerf, 1958-1978)
    • Théologie du Judéo-Christianisme, Histoire des doctrines chrétiennes avant Nicée vol 1, (Tournai : Desclée, 1958) [ET: The theology of Jewish Christianity, trans and ed by John A Baker, (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1964)
    • Message évangélique et culture hellénistique aux IIe et IIIe siècles, Histoire des doctrines chrétiennes avant Nicée vol 2, (Tournai: Desclée, 1961) [ET: Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture, ed and trans John Austin Baker, (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1973)]
    • Les origines du christianisme latin, Histoire des doctrines chrétiennes avant Nicée vol 3, (Paris: Cerf, 1978) [ET: The Origins of Latin Christianity, (Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 1977)]
  • Philon d'Alexandrie, Fayard, Paris, 1958
  • Approches du Christ, (Paris: B. Grasset, 1960) [ET: Christ and Us, trans Walter Robert, (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1961)]
  • Les Symboles chrétiens primitifs, Seuil, Paris, 1961
  • L'Église des premiers temps : Des origines à la fin du IIIe siècle, Seuil, Paris, 1963
  • (with Henri Marrou), Des origines a saint Grégoire le Grand, (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1963)
  • Les Évangiles de l'enfance, (Paris: Seuil, 1967) [ET: The infancy narratives, trans Rosemary Sheed, (London: Burns & Oates, 1968)]
  • La Trinité et le mystère de l'existence, (Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, 1968)
  • 'Saint Hilaire et son temps', in Hilaire de Poitiers: évêque et docteur; cinq conférences données à Poitiersà l'occasion du XVIe centenaire de sa mort (368-1968), (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1968)
  • La Foi de toujours et l'homme d'aujourd'hui, (Paris: Beauchesne, 1969)
  • La Résurrection, (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1969)
  • L'être et le temps chez Grégoire de Nysse, (Leiden: Brill, 1970)

Other works

Other English translations

  • The Salvation of the Nations, trans Angeline Bouchard, (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1950)
  • Advent, trans Rosemary Sheed, (1950)
  • Holy Pagans of the Old Testament, trans Felix Faber, (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1957)
  • The Lord of History: Reflections on the Inner Meaning of History, trans Nigel Abercrombie, (1958; repr Cleveland, OH: Meridian, 1968)
  • The Presence of God, trans Walter Roberts, (Baltimore, MD: Helicon, 1959)
  • From Shadows to Reality: Studies in the Biblical Typology of the Fathers, trans Wulstan Hibberd, (London: Burns & Oates, 1960)
  • The ministry of women in the early church, (Leighton Buzzard: Faith Press, 1961)
  • The Advent of Salvation: A Comparative Study of Non-Christian Religions and Christianity, trans Rosemary Sheed, (New York: Paulist, 1962)
  • The scandal of truth, trans WJ Kerrigan, (London: Burns & Oates, 1963)
  • Primitive Christian symbols, trans Donald Attwater, (London: Burns & Oates, 1964)
  • Prayer as a political problem, ed and trans JR Kirwan, (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967)
  • Dialogue with Israel, (Baltimore: Helicon, 1968)
  • Myth and Mystery. (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1968)
  • God's Life in Us, (Dimension Books, 1969)
  • Historical Theology. Viking Press, 1970
  • Why the Church? Franciscan Press, 1975
  • Prayer: The Mission of the Church. (Grand Rapids, MI: WB Eerdmans, 1996)


  1. ^ a b "Jean Guénolé Louis Marie Cardinal Daniélou, S.J." David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Jean Daniélou". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Jean Daniélou and the "Master-Key to Christian Theology" | Carl E. Olson | August 21, 2007". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Academie-francaise bio". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  5. ^ Salvador Miranda. "Daniélou, S.J., Jean". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Jean had always dedicated himself to disregarded people. For a certain period he had celebrated a Mass for homosexuals. He tried to help prisoners, criminals, troubled young people, prostitutes."Alain Daniélou.

External links[edit]