Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carrying St. Thomas' Spear

Joseph Upton writes on why Ralph McInerny chose Thomism at First Things:
McInerny once remarked, “My ambitions have never gone beyond wanting to be a spear carrier in the grand Thomistic opera.” McInerny fulfilled his ambition well. Many students of theology would do well to follow McInerny’s lead and turn to Thomas, since many of the theologians they study today (Congar, de Lubac, Balthasar, Rahner, among others) built their theological projects on a critique of some form or another of Thomism..More>>

9 comments:

Der Wolfanwalt said...

I have an issue with this paragraph:

McInerny once remarked, “My ambitions have never gone beyond wanting to be a spear carrier in the grand Thomistic opera.” McInerny fulfilled his ambition well. Many students of theology would do well to follow McInerny’s lead and turn to Thomas, since many of the theologians they study today (Congar, de Lubac, Balthasar, Rahner, among others) built their theological projects on a critique of some form or another of Thomism.

...Actually, I think it may be less of an issue with the paragraph as a component and more with the article as a whole. There is an unquestioning assumption throughout the piece of a uniqueness to Thomas, rather than a firstness. Thomas did this, Thomas did that...which is fine and good, but just because he did it first doesn't mean he did it best. If the implication of the above paragraph is that Thomas did these things and, e.g., de Lubac or Rahner did not, then I would definitely disagree - having read Grace and Freedom by Rahner, I do not see a man who denies the union of Athens and Jerusalem.

I just don't think the essay is compelling in its point, if by point here we understand the author's apparent reverence for Thomism. I'm not left with any really coherent understanding here. Could you, perhaps, clear away some of the fog?

Athos said...

My read is St. Thomas first-ness, not uniqueness, DW, the beginner of the Thomistic thread, not even perhaps the finest. But the one without whom those like deLubac et al would be without a precursor of St. Thomas' magnitude for the Magisterium. Best

Der Wolfanwalt said...

Well I think that would be something we could all agree on. Non-Thomists...even non-Catholics or non-Christians, should be able to recognize that. On the most basic level, Thomas was an indispensable step in the progress of philosophy. I mis-took the use of critique in the paragraph quoted to be the more adversarial form.

TH2 said...

In addition to Congar, Rahner, et al, let us not also forget the twisted Thomism of Bernard Lonergan (e.g Insight), who effectively fused Kant's mental emanationism with Aquinas' objective realism. Coined "Aquikantianism" by Fr. Stanley Jaki.

TH2 said...

Derwolfanwalt - you said: "Thomas did this, Thomas did that...which is fine and good, but just because he did it first doesn't mean he did it best." You have a point there, as there was controversy over St. Thomas' views on Creation out of nothing (ex nihilo). He was not so clear on the matter.

However, for the record, know that I am a card carrying Thomist with a dash of Duns Scotus.

Athos said...

I bow to both of you in all things theological. I came to the affirm the Church's teaching office via anthropology and don't have the circuitry for a purely theological approach, or, not yet. It will be a gift of the Paraklete if and when it happens.

TH2 said...

Athos, because of you I am gaining greater insight into the Holy Faith by your discussions on Gerard-Mimetic theory. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you and please continue therewith...

Athos said...

Thank you, TH2. I believe you've checked it out, but for any other readers who want a primer in Girard's mimetic theory, his concept of "the sacred" (read: pagan), anthropologically speaking, and how the void created by secular humanism's rejection of the Judeo-Christian ethos is becoming a cesspool of neo-paganism, refer to the right sidebar: Paganism I, II, III.

TH2 said...

Acknowledged. Read PI, PII and PIII a while back, but will refresh my memory and read again.