Gift and the Unity of Being

By Antonio López

A treatise, combining classical theology and postmodern existentialist thought, on the gift of existence as the heart of the relation between God and creation.

ISBN: 9780227174272


Starting from both our originary experience of being given to ourselves and Jesus Christ’s archetypal self-donation, Gift and the Unity of Being elucidates the sense in which gift is the form of being’s unity, while unity itself constitutes the permanence of the gift of being. In dialogue with ancient and modern philosophers and theologians, López offers a synthetic, rather than systematic, account of the unity proper to being, the human person, God, and the relations among them. The book shows how contemplation of the triune God of love through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit allows us to discover the eternal communion that being is and to which finite being is called. It also illustrates the sense in which God’s gratuitousness unexpectedly offers the human person the possibility to recognize and embrace his origin and destiny, and thus he is given to see and taste in God’s light the ever-fruitful, dramatic, and mysterious positivity of being.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Rev Antonio López, FSCB, is Provost/Dean and Associate Professor of Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, DC. He is author of the book Spirit’s Gift: The Metaphysical Insight of Claude Bruaire (2006).


Foreword by John Milbank


I. Gift’s Originary Experience
     1. Approaching Originary Experience
     2. Terminological Clarifications
     3. A Distinct Understanding
     4. The Inexorable Presence of the Sign
     5. The Experience of Being Given
     6. The Exigent Character of Life
     7. The Time of Gift

II. Concrete Singularity
     1. The Allurement of Anarchy
     2. A Radical Difference
     3. Giving Otherness
     4. The Gift of Existence
     5. Open Principles
     6. The Singular’s Perseity
     7. Gift’s Bodily Perseity

III. Reception and Reciprocity
     1. Giving Freedom
     2. Ordering Freedom
     3. Reciprocity as Recognition
     4. Human Action and the Gift of Self
     5. Orphans, at Last

IV. The Son’s Gift of Self
     1. On the Way of Being
     2. Approaching the Figure of Christ
     3. “You Have Given Me Your Name” (John 17:12)
     4. Making All Things New
     5. Gratuity’s Owning

V. The Unpreceded Giver
     1. Unpreceded Origin: The Father as Absolute Person
     2. The Father’s Unfathomable Light
     3. A Father Like No Other
     4. Hierarchical, Constitutive Order
     5. Eternal Communion

VI. Gift’s Unifying Memory
     1. God’s Fruitful Gift
     2. Donum Doni
     3. Divine Memory
     4. Eternal Beginning
     5. The Gratuity of the Divine Gift

VII. The Unexpected Gift
     1. The Father’s Giving
     2. Restoration of Sonship
     3. The Unity of Life (I)
     4. The Newness of the Gift
     5. The Unity of Life (II)


Index of Names
Index of Subjects


Endorsements and Reviews

In this wonderful book Antonio López offers a profound metaphysical interpretation of the gift of existence that is at once rigorous, systematic, and systemically dialogical. López engages all the contending views of the gift out there, and especially those of Derrida, Marion, Milbank, and Guissani, [and] he offers his own alternative, which is embedded in the tradition of Aquinas and his theological and philosophical precursors and heirs. … A true tour de force!
Cyril O’Regan, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

I believed I was simply opening a brilliant, but also a routine, comment on Giussani’s thought. But what I discovered here was a masterpiece! This book is nothing less than one of the most complete expressions of the paradigm of gift in present Catholic thought, embracing the neglected polarity of gift and to-be-given.
Emmanuel Tourpe, Institut d’Etudes Théologiques, Belgium