Saturday 18th Feb. 9.30am to 4.30pm
We were delighted to welcome Prof Gavin d'Costa, Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Bristol, to Blackfriars in order to introduce books by Fr Simon and Fr Martin.
An examination of the human knowledge of Jesus Christ, arguing that the Son, while fully human, possessed the beatific vision of God.
Indian Thought and Western Theism. The Vedanta of Ramanuja. By Martin Ganeri.
This book considers the relationship between Western scholastic theology and classical Indian thought, arguing for an affinity between them.
'These books represent a rebirth of Thomism that is taking place in Europe and the United States. For Catholics it is an exciting time. Even while Thomism was the official theology of the Church during the Second Vatican Council, it was almost extinct soon after the Council. But the perennial nature, depth and gigantic range of Thomas, means that this genius will not lie down but keep renewing Catholic theology. Both these books are evidence of this, as well as being very significant in their own fields.
Martin Ganeri's lucid and engaging work, ‘Indian Thought and Western Theism. The Vedanta of Ramanuja’ develops the recent tradition of 'comparative theology'. Martin’s book is a sparkling companion to David Burrell's work in the theistic 'Abrahamic' traditions. Martin shows the power of Thomas to engage with Hinduism, and especially the Vedantic tradition in the form of Ramanuja. Martin shows that Ramanuja is scholastic in method, like Aquinas, and also in terms of their engagement with the question of 'God' and 'creation'. The differences between these two is never neglected. The outcome: there is much room for interreligious dialogue between these traditions, a dialogue that has only just begun in the modern period. Martin also frees Ramanuja from the philosophy of religion tradition that have recovered him, shorn of his scholasticism, and thus ‘recovered’ something of a mirror image to their own project. Those working in Indology, Thomism, and comparative theology will learn much.
Simon Francis Gaine’s work, ‘Did the Saviour See the Father? Christ, Salvation and the Vision of God’ is a major contribution in the field of Christology. Simon turns to the question of the knowledge of God in Christ’s finite human mind. He explores the intuitive beatific vision of the divine essence, the supernatural knowledge normal to angels, and the ordinary acquired knowledge. What is so striking about this work is that it is so radical and fresh, precisely by returning to a singular concern in Thomas’s ancient corpus and shows that these questions cannot be neglected. If they are, it is a deep loss in modern theology precisely because this cluster of issues helps focus on the metaphysical realities that constitute the man Jesus Christ as God, our saviour, without confusing the human and divine. Simon engages with scripture, tradition, the teachings of the magisterium, and all sorts of objections to this doctrine. His erudition and ease of prose lie beautifully together in this gripping read. His thoroughness means that his defence is robust and will stand as an important landmark in modern Christology, Thomism, and theological anthropology.
That both books come from Dominican authors and both from Oxford, tell us a lot about the vitality of the Dominicans in England. To them, to the authors, and to Saint Thomas – we are deeply indebted. '
On 25th November Blackfriars hosted a Thanksgiving meal for friars, staff and students.