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1. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Bloechl Editor’s Introduction
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2. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Joseph S. O’Leary Questioning the Essence of Christianity
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In accord with the motto of the Passionists—“We preach Christ crucified”—Breton located the essence of Christianity in a faith and love marked by open-ended questioning and dialogue and by an exodic movement of the spirit. Neoplatonism enabled him to raise his love of free inquiry to a high spiritual plane, and to bring into lucid focus the figure of Christ, ridding it of false absolutizations. Seeing the encounter with Buddhism as the next step in this purification of Christian vision, he pored over Nagarjuna in his last days. The totality of Breton’s life and work enacts a lighter, humbler understanding of the Gospel, one fully responsive to modern and postmodern questions.
3. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Bruce Ellis Benson The “Thinking-After” of Metanoia: On Breton’s The Word and the Cross
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Although Breton barely mentions the term “metanoia,” it well describes the radical change that takes place for anyone who adopts the logic of the cross. In effect, that logic results in a self that is radically de-centered. Moreover, to embrace that logic is to give up the demand for both reasons and signs. Arguing for a radicalconception of kenosis, Breton insists that it is a true emptying that remains powerless and senseless in light of any worldly logos and, as such, can only appear to be folly. Thus, the fool for Christ is truly a fool.
4. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Paul Ricoeur Logos, Mythos, Stauros
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In Etre, Monde, Imaginaire, Breton attempts to overcome the familiar opposition between being and world and, within the former, between mythos and logos. In The Word and the Cross, he refuses an opposition between the Pauline theology of the Cross and the Johanine theology of the Word. The success of these three moves depends on Breton’s claim for a Nothing that transcends both determination and reflection, as well as the contradictions that presuppose them.
5. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jean Greisch Ontology, Onto-Mythology, and the Imaginary-Nothing
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In Du principe, Stanislas Breton offers an account of his own metaphysics. In Etre, Monde, Imaginaire, one finds significant indications of an ontology woven into a cosmology. Specifically, the latter book examines the relation between being and world. This task calls for an exegesis of being that is attentive to the powers by which it becomes manifest as world. Such an exegesis, moreover, must apply itself especially to the fundamentally relational character of speech and gaze. Beneath the being as power of position and assertion, Breton catches sight of being as the gratuity by which all such power becomes possible.
6. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Philippe Capelle Philosophy and Mysticism: Toward a Typology of Their Relation
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The history of philosophy exhibits recurrent interest in the phenomenon and claims of mysticism. Contemporary philosophers (e.g., Blondel, Heidegger) have recognized the irreducibility of mystical experience to philosophical analysis, and adopted a receptive attitude toward it, considering it a valuable source of insight into the religious way of life. In Philosophie et mystique, Breton pursues this latter task according to a phenomenology of relations in which “being-in” the element of the Absolute appears as the essential structure of mystical experience. From this perspective, it becomes necessary to see a rationality that is both proper to mysticism and intelligible to philosophy.
7. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Bloechl The Philosopher on the Road to Damascus: On Berton’s St. Paul
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Will St. Paul have been a philosopher no less than an apostle and a believer? The proposal interests Stanislas Breton not so much as an occasion to redefine the relation between faith and reason as perhaps the site of their original emergence, together and at once, from a common source. In the image of Paul—who is Jewish, Greek, and Roman—struck down before the Cross, Breton sees the birth not only of a faith that transcends all particularity but also of a reason that refuses empty universality.
8. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Catherine Cornille Stanislas Breton on Christian Uniqueness: On Unicité et Monotheisme
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In the midst of the ongoing debate over the uniqueness of Christ and of Christianity, Stanislas Breton’s work Unicité et monothéisme offers new categories of reflection which may come to bridge the fundamental theological differences between pluralist and inclusivist perspectives. While his notions of méontology and of the Cross as the symbol of self-effacement create a radical openness to the distinctive truth of other religious traditions, this openness is itself firmly grounded within Christian self-understanding. Breton also reminds us that the ultimate Christian basis for salvation lies not so much in assent to particular doctrines, but in the act of total self-givenness to others, in particular to “the least of these my brethren” (Matt. 25).
9. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jacquelyn Porter Revelation, Scripture and the Word of God: On Breton’s Ecriture et Révélation
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At the peak of its influence and prestige, theology offered a compelling and complex analysis of the relation of Revelation, Scripture and Word. In Ecriture et Révélation, Breton asks how that relationship might be described in the contemporary world in which the situation of theology, its relation to metaphysics, and the very conditions of understanding have changed. Retaining from Thomas the term “spiritual sense,” Breton uses the notion of “scriptural space,” on which all things can be written, to describe the way in which the self “writes itself in the world.” In place of the classic emphasis on God as author of Scripture Breton focuses upon the Christian community in its search for unity, forming a canon in light of what he calls the “Christic present.” As he critiques different ways in which Scripture is read today, he argues that it is too often objectified or evacuated of meaning. Instead of complacent answers, he asks for continuous and profound interrogation so that praxis be informed by the cross.
10. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Stanislas Breton The Desert
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The desert is an experience before it is a figure or a concept. The experience of the desert is prior to any figure or concept, and in itself it is without figure or concept. Yet its emptiness is not therefore abstract but, to the contrary, vital. The emptiness of the desert, like the emptiness of God, coincides with an immeasurable plenitude. The words and actions that we live from presuppose the desert in which they are at once indispensable and unsatisfying.
11. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Stanislas Breton The Throwable: An Essay in Exegesis
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Considered from a certain distance, the French word jetable—throwable—connotes a susceptibility to movement by greater forces in which we may detect the sign of our vulnerability. This vulnerability is not only a defining feature of our spiritual being but is also felt in our relation to economic and ecological conditions that strike us in our physical being. Since our being is inseparably spiritual and physical, it is necessary to remain vigilant not only against a physicalism that would forget spiritual hunger, but also against a spiritualism that is too little concerned with physical suffering.
12. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey Bloechl Major Works of Stanislas Breton
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13. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Contributors
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14. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Marguerite Deslauriers The Virtue Of God In Aristotle
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The aim of this paper is to show that for Aristotle god is, and is not, virtuous. I consider first the arguments of the EN to show that the gods do not have virtue---beginning with an account of the divisions of the faculties of soul, and of the virtues that belong to those divisions. These arguments suggest that nous is a divine virtue, and so in the second section I consider nous, as a faculty of soul and as a virtue, and examine the differences between nous as a human virtue, and nous as a virtue which is also a substance, and with which the first divine principle is identified. In the third and final section I ask what kind of difference Aristotle takes the difference between human and divine nous to be---and in particular whether this is a difference in kind or in degree.
15. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Coleen P. Zoller Determined but Free: Aquinas’s Compatibilist Theory of Freedom
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This paper shows that Thomas Aquinas has a compatibilist position on the freedom of the will, where compatibilism is understood as the doctrine that determinism does not preclude freedom. Thomas’s position concerning free will is compatibilist regarding both the divine and human wills. Thomas pioneers the idea that human freedom is an image of divine freedom. It is on account of the notion that god is the exemplar toward which human beings proceed that it is much easier to understand why, if the freedom of god’s will is compatible with the determinism of omnibenevolence, it is acceptable that the freedom of the human will is compatible with the determinism that ensues from what Thomas calls the “natural necessity” of the human will. The evidence for his compatibilist stance on divine freedom emerges from Summa Contra Gentiles (SCG) I.74–91, whereas the strongest evidence for Thomas’s compatibilist position about human freedom derives from the Summa Theologiae (ST) and Quaestiones Disputatae De Malo (QDM) 6. This paper establishes a compatibilist reading of Thomas’s account of the freedom of the divine will and shows that Thomas’s theory of human freedom is modeled upon his treatment of divine freedom. Finally, I argue that the position maintained in QDM 6 does not abandon the theory presented in ST but instead is a clarification of it. Thus, Thomas presents a theory of freedom that is uniformly compatibilist.
16. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Joris Geldhof The Bible in the Later Thought of F. W. J. Schelling
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The author argues taht the most important source of Schelling’s ‘later thought’ is undoubtably the Bible. Schelling not only referred to it more than to any other work, he also systematically endeavored to harmonize his philosophical and theological ideas with the content of the Holy Scriptures. This was by no means evident in the post-Enlightenment context, which was characterized by its vehement critique of the Bible. The author thus investigates whether Schelling’s scripturally based forays into exegesis, dogmatic theology, and philosophy are convincing. Two Bible passages to which Schelling himself attached great weight are discussed: the prologue of St John’s gospel and the Christological hymn in St Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. The conclusion is that Schelling’s philosophy of revelation is worth studying as an original contribution to contemporary systematic theological reflection, even if not all problems concerning the relation between biblical heritage, its possible interpretations and contemporary theological concerns are resolved.
a symposium on radical orthodoxy
17. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
David B. Burrell Radical Orthodoxy: An Appreciation
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The author presents a brief appreciation of the merits of the Radical Orthodoxy movement. That appreciation centers on four themes: (1) theology as sacra doctrina, (2) countering secular reason in its latest avatar of “post-modernism,” (3) Radical Orthodoxy’s offering a theology of culture, and (4) the Thomism of Radical Orthodoxy. The author concludes with some remarks concerning the reception of Radical Orthodoxy in the United States.
18. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Anthony J. Godzieba The Fear of Time and the Joys of Contingency
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Radical Orthodoxy offers insight into the relationship between Christianity and culture. But it errs in its one-sided reading of modernity, its attempt to reduce philosophy to theology, and its prescription of a pre-modern metaphysics as the only authentic theological foundation. These suggest a fear of contingency and a desire for the immediate grasp of the divine which might circumvent history’s messiness. The result is a construal of reality that is in general inimical to an authentic Catholic reading of reality. Catholic theology must be more faithful to the incarnational and eschatological structure of revelation—and thus to contingency—than either it or Radical Orthodoxy has been in the past. Aquinas’ defense of philosophy and Metz’s principle of “dangerous memory” offer ways to overcome this fear and to enjoy created contingency, secure in hope for the eschatological transformation which God in Christ has promised to all persons and all epochs.
19. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
John Montag Radical Orthodoxy and Christian Philosophy
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The author discusses the origins and basic themes of the Radical Orthodoxy movement. Two major objections raised against the Radical Orthodoxy movement are canvassed, noting historical misconstruals of the neoplatonic tradition and Thomas Aquinas. The author concludes that the Radical Orthodoxy movement has not yet been able to find a lasting place in the theological conversation because of the difficulty of navigating the “range of tonalities” its name evokes in its readers.
20. Philosophy and Theology: Volume > 16 > Issue: 1
Philip Rossi The Metaphysics of the Sublime: Old Wine, New Wineskin?
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