At the origins of the Nouvelle Revue Théologique, we find the outstanding personality of Fr Jean-Joseph Loiseau, a priest of the Diocese of Tournai. He launched a first review in 1847 entitled Mélanges Théologiques (Theological Miscellany), and he directed it until 1858. But from 1856 until 1863 he took on a second journal Revue Théologique. Then, in 1865, in partnership with the Casterman publishing house, he founded the Nouvelle Revue Théologique and remained its director until 1895. The Nouvelle Revue Théologique has been in publication ever since, apart from some disruption in production due to the two World Wars.
In 1895 the review was entrusted to the Redemptorist Fathers who took charge of it until 1907. Then the Casterman publishing house found someone to carry it on in the person of a French Jesuit from Toulouse, Fr Jules Besson SJ, who directed the NTR until 1921. It was in this year,1921, that the editor asked the Belgian Jesuits to assume editorial responsibility for the review.
This responsibility lay with a group of professors teaching theology to young Jesuits in formation, first in Louvain (1921-1948) then in Eegenhoven, near Louvain (1948-1972). In the meantime, in 1968, at the request of Fr Philippe Franchimont, Provincial, and principally under the impetus of Fr Albert Chapelle, the Jesuit faculty had renewed its teaching methods: the Institut d’Etudes Théologiques (IET) was born.
From 1972 to 1997, while remaining under the responsibility of the professors of the IET, the Nouvelle Revue Théologique was published within the framework of the C.D.R.R. (Centre de documentation et de recherche religieuse) located in Namur where the library of philosophy and theology, reestablished after the war in Eegenhoven, had been brought.
In 1997, the Casterman publishing house, which still remained the owner of the review, transferred its ownership to the Society of Jesus. That was when its administrative headquarters settled in Brussels. Since the year 2000 the NRT has been printed by Peeters publishing company.
For a more detailed history of the review and more precise documentation concerning the authors, readership, themes treated, etc. one may consult B. Pottier, “80 years of the Nouvelle Revue Théologique (1921-2000)”, in NRT 2002 (124/1); p. 94-128.
Among the authors who have written in the Nouvelle Revue Théologique, are found famous names from contemporary philosophy and theology: von Balthasar, Congar, Daniélou, Durwell, Fessard, André Feuillet, Galot, Grelot, Malevez, Marcel, Maréchal, Martelet, Mersch, Philippe, Pickaers, Przywara, Rahner, Sesboüé, Tillard, Tillette, Vanhoye…