Maurice Bellet, a spirit in search


by Maurice Bellet, interviews with Nathanaël Wallenhorst

The Apple Tree, 166 p., €18

Let’s say it straight away, this book of interviews is probably not the best gateway to discover the work of Maurice Bellet (1923-2018), priest and psychoanalyst, theologian and philosopher, author of more than twenty trials. In many aspects unfinished, this work testifies on the other hand in a very interesting way to his spirit of research, to his way of standing in existence and in faith. The somewhat raw material of the exchange letting the harsh laboratory of thought show through without artificial embellishment.

Saperethis enigmatic title borrowed from Latin, means “to have flavor”, but also incorporates the idea of ​​wisdom and insight. This word sums up Maurice Bellet’s effort very well: to rediscover the sap of Christianity and its fruitfulness, beyond its disguises and, sometimes, its betrayals, in a context of profound anthropological and social transformations. This worry haunts these pages, sometimes turning into worry and even vertigo, but it is balanced there by a youthful enthusiasm and a resilient faith.

A book peppered with striking formulas

The dialogue with Nathanaël Wallenhorst, a young researcher in political science who came to his work from his own questioning of collective action, social coexistence and political hope, offered Maurice Bellet the opportunity to repeat, sometimes in a unprecedented, deep convictions and to show their resonance not for the sheep of the fold, but for the greatest number.

The book is peppered with striking formulas, of which Maurice Bellet had the secret, as when he diagnoses “the end of nice Christianity, which succeeded a terrifying Christianity”. Christianity, he points out “is neither nice nor terrifying. In a way, it’s much more dreadful (…). It is a position that wants to make the truth even against what we believe”.

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