Volume 23, Issue 1, Spring 2018
A Trace of Similarity within Even Greater Dissimilarity
Thomistic Foundations of Erich Przywara’s Teaching on Analogy
This article readdresses the Przywara-Barth controversy concerning analogia entis. The main point of our analysis is the question of whether the concept of analogy presented by Erich Przywara was in line with the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic definition and use of analogy in theistic predication. First, we ask about Przywara’s strong conviction that analogy is primarily a metaphysical and not merely a grammatical doctrine. Secondly, after presenting the complexity of Aquinas’ notion of analogy, as well as the variety of opinions on this subject among his commentators, we analyze (1) the objectives of Przywara’s view of analogia entis, (2) his grounding it in the terminology taken from the typology offered by Cajetan and juxtaposing analogia proportionalitatis and analogia atributionis, and (3) his introduction of the concept of “a new ‘attributive analogy’” proceeding from above to below and sustaining the tension within analogia entis. We show that Przywara remained a faithful student and interpreter of Thomas, where this makes Barth’s accusation that the Catholic doctrine of analogia entis puts God and creatures on a common plane of being unjustified.