Eucharistic unity, fragmented body: Christian social practice and the market economy

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Theology


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Vincent Jude Miller


The following is an interpretive synopsis of Henri de Lubac and Karl Polanyi's particular thought about how human sociality is organized around the formal influence of theological and economic structures, giving shape to the practice of everyday life. For De Lubac, social fragmentation and unity are central theological categories for understanding both the first instance of sin and the unfolding of salvation in history. God is at work in the world as an active agent in the reparation of discordant humanity, restoring humankind to its original state as one collective body in the Church. Karl Polanyi's analysis of the rise of market economics gives us a historical instance of social and ecological fracture, providing the possibility of relating de Lubac's theological argument in a particular historical context. Two competing logics of social formation emerge: 1.) the Eucharist implicates human sociality toward deep forms of community in the Church; and 2.) the mechanism of the self-regulating market actively dissolves these thick forms of community, organizing sociality around capital markets and production. Placing de Lubac and Polanyi in conversation provides a way of thinking theologically about the history of unity and break in an increasingly dispersed social era.


Lubac, Henri de, 1896-1991, Polanyi, Karl, 1886-1964, Economic anthropology, Lord's Supper Catholic Church, Eucharist Catholic Church, Church Unity, Agriculture, Economic History, Economic Theory, Economics, Environmental Economics, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Home Economics, Labor Economics, Religion, Religious History, Social Structure, Sociology, Theology, Eucharist, Henri de Lubac, Karl Polanyi, Catholic Church, Ecclesiology, Capitalism, Free Market, Thomas Aquinas, Agrarianism, Ecology, Creation, Sociality, Christian Social Practice, Community, Distributism, Unity

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2015, author