This booklet was published in December 1957 in the GIAC Fonte Seniores series as an instrument for reflection and work for 1958. It addressed all the adult members of the Gioventù di Azione Cattolica in Milan (at the start of the following year an anonymous essay, with the same title, was also issued in the Fonte Juniores series. The edition was divided into nine lessons and adopted a more didactic approach, but it repeated statements and definitions present in the 1957 text).
The occasion for this publication, as explained in the introductory note, was the pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Milan Giovan Battista Montini for Lent 1957 titled Sul senso religioso, which is referred to in the text (pp. 4, 22).
The volume presents summarily the author’s fundamental insights, which were drawn on and developed in Senso Religioso published by Jaca Book in 1966 (now in Il senso di Dio e l’uomo moderno. La “questione umana” e la novità del Cristianesimo, BUR, 1994, pp. 7-75).
Republished complete in 1977 (Jaca Book), the text was subsequently enlarged. The topics dealt with were further developed in the volumes of PerCorso likewise published by Jaca Book (1986-1992).
In 1997 the volume was given its definitive format in the Rizzoli edition of PerCorso (1997-2003).
Chapter I of the 1957 edition, titled “Origine del senso religioso” (pp. 3-4), was published complete with the title “Antefatto” [Precedent] in L’autocoscienza del cosmo (BUR, 2000, pp. 7-8, i libri dello spirito cristiano. Quasi TISCHREDEN).