Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Newman and Stein: the desire for truth

From the Avvenire of today, 18 Jan 2017, the interesting news of the link between Newman and Edith Stein. Gerl-Falkovitz says:

Very few know that Edith Stein - herself a figure still to be fully discovered - had dedicated herself for several years to the study of John Henry Newman. Still, despite the several hundred pages translated, we must say that we are as yet unable to say much. [...]

Edith Stein worked at the translation of Newman from 1923, and soon afterwards, she devoted herself to Thomas Aquinas' Quaestiones disputatae de veritate, causing quite a sensation in neoscholastic circles. Two of the translations, Newman's The Idea of a University and Thomas' De ente et essentia, are still unpublished, even in the complete edition of the works of Edith Stein (ESGA, 28 volumes, Herder, Freiburg 2000-2017). The surprising quantity of texts translated after her baptism show Edith's clear desire to familiarize herself with the Catholic world, above all through philosophical reflection. [...]

With her translation, Stein places herself at the very beginning of the German reception of Newman and the scholarly study of his thought. In this sense, the work of translation is a "monument" whose value is not decreased by the differences with the thought of Newman that we are now aware of. On the contrary, from these [differences] it can find a deserved recognition. [...] Unfortunately, apart from the translations, we do not have any explicit reflection by Edith Stein on Newman, but the selection made in the Briefe und Tagebücher vor der Konversion is eloquent. in a letter to her friend Roman Ingarden on 19 June 1924 Edith Stein makes this beautiful and important affirmation: "Translating gives me real joy. Besides it is very interesting for me to enter into such close contact with a spirit like Newman, something that every translation brings with it. His whole life was a search for religious truth and that led him inevitably to the Catholic church." [...] the faith of Edith Stein was similar to that of Newman: although she had a rich experience of the world, her faith found its source in modesty and in ascesis, up to the profound acceptance of external lack of success. Newman's unconditional commitment to the truth, that was the basis of his project of life, appeared in his texts prior to conversion in a preeminent way. [...] In The Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) he wrote:

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thomas (and Lonergan) on violence and the will

See Verbum CWL 2:146-47 for Thomas insight and violence… connected, in fact, with pati!

“On the other hand, as soon as the theory of God moving the will to the act of willing the end was proposed, Aquinas immediately perceived a difficulty; that difficulty to a modern Scholastic would be in all probability that man must be the efficient cause of his own operation, action, act, willing; but to Aquinas the difficulty was that the act must be not violent but natural; he noticed it both in the De malo and in the Prima secundae, and his answers run as follows:

… the will contributes something when it is moved by God; for it is the will which operates, but moved by God; and therefore its movement, though it be from outside as from a first principle, is nevertheless not violent. [De malo, q. 6, a. 1, ad 4m.]

… it does not suffice for the note of violence, that the principle be external, but one must add that the receiver of the influence make no contribution (to the operation). And this is not the case when the will is moved by an external agent; for it is the will that wills, though moved by something else. [STh 1-2, q. 9, a. 4, ad 2m; see ad 1m and 3m; see also q. 6, aa. 4 and 5 (esp. a 4, ad 2m).]

Now what does the patient, the will moved by God, when it is moved by God, while it is moved by God, confer or contribute? It operates. It wills. In this case the operation is an operatio receptiva, just as sentire is a pati of sense and just as intelligere is a pati of the possible intellect. The will operates inasmuch as it is the will that is actuated. The will contributes inasmuch as an act received in the will has to be a ‘wiling,’ not because it is act, nor merely because of the extrinsic mover, but proximately because act is limited by the potency in which it is received.”

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Interreligious Dialogue

OLALEKAR Prashant. "Exploring Play: 'Out of the Box' Theologising." Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection 80 (2016) 774-800. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Paolo Chiesa

Ashley D'Mello, former editor of the Times of India, is searching for information about Paolo Chiesa, author of L'equivoco del male (2013), and of the Introduction to Odoric (of Pordenone), The Travels of Friar Odoric (W.B. Eerdmans, 2002). Chiesa is currently professore ordinario in the Dipartimento di Filologia Moderna at the Università degli Studi di Milano (The University of Milan). According to D'Mello, the book contains information about Western India and about three Italians killed at Thane.

The university website, at, supplies the following contact information:
0039 02 503 12893

The page above also contains a bibliography of Chiesa. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Levi-Strauss and Luigi Cocco

Cardinal Raffaele Farina, SDB, told us the other day about the work and anthropological studies of Salesian missionaries like don Cocco. At first, he said, Levi-Strauss was critical of this work. But, especially after what the cardinal called "the Turin book," the philosopher and anthropologist was more appreciative.

"Il missionario salesiano don Luigi Cocco, nato a Grugliasco (Torino) il 12 febbraio 1910 e morto a Torino l’11 febbraio 1980, è ricordato per la sua intensa opera missionaria svolta tra gli indigeni Yanomami del Venezuela, cui dedicò 23 anni della propria vita."

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Thomas Mann, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche

Sanford and Lough (What Men Are Like) mentioned Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. Among the free samples available on the net, I found Thomas Mann, Death in Venice and Other Stories, with a wonderful introduction by David Luke, who also provides what is said to be an excellent translation from the original German. I learnt that Mann read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and that the latter was attacking, in his writings, the rationalism of the former. He seems to have said that even Christianity was preferable to the pretensions of rationalism. In Mann himself, there seems to be a struggle between two kinds of aesthetics: "vitalism" and a more elevated kind of intellectual, superior approach. A struggle that he embodied in himself: deeply attracted by and at the same time  despising, what he referred to as the vitalism embodied by the Italians. The two contrasting figures for him were Lorenzo de' Medici representing the former, and Girolamo Savonarola representing the latter.

Like Goethe - and like many if not most writers - Mann's works are latent autobiography: where else does an author get his "stuff" if not from his own experience, and that of others? (Luke, Introduction ix) This is a process of self-mediation through writing - and, as Mann himself, or Luke, notes, it is also a process of self-discovery. In the process of writing, one mediates oneself, and "comes to light." 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Festschrift for Dr. A. Pushparajan

Johnson Puthenpurackal asked for a contribution to a Festschrift for Dr A. Pushparajan, on Gandhi. I thought I could work up the introduction to Richards and Swanger's book, Gandhi and the Future of Economics, but what I have is far to sketchy and simple. I wanted to speak of Pushparajan the teacher, Gandhi and Ambedkar, Ambedkar and De Nobili, but above all, on Gandhi and his dharmic approach to economics, and how Richards and Swanger make this come alive.