Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Call for Republication: 'A Gilson Reader'

There is beginning to be a renewed interest in the thought of Etienne Gilson. I have yet to discover, however, a blog or a website dedicated specifically to the wisdom and scholarship of this eminent historian of mediaeval philosophy. I, for one, would like to see the historic thomistic intellectual tradition, so richly informed and masterfully guided in the middle of the last century by Gilson, pick up again where the Rahnerians and Lonerganians left it.


shulamite said...
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shulamite said...

I started off reading Gilson, and I see the good that he did, but Gilson himself is responsible for some of the decay that came to Thomism. Your claim that he excercized "masterful guiding" is a bit too strong- he popularized Thomism, but he did so by alienating it from its proper ground in Logic and the Philosophy of Nature. Its unclear that he understood that Thomism is the fullest and most perfet kind of science. He more broke from the tradition of Thomism than guided it.

Steve Blakemore said...


I think you are on to something, especially Gilson's acknowledgement of the focus on existence in Thomas as the very starting point of his contribution in philosophy and theology. That said, I would like to quarrel, fraternally of course, with him on a few issues

Let me say, on another note, "three cheers" for your blog and for you engagement with those at 3rd Mill over the natural theology/Trinity discussions.

I read your profile. Ironically, I am a UM elder and I teach philosophy at a Wesleyan Tradition seminary in Jackson, MS. Further, however, I consider myself to be an irremediable "Thomistic Protestant." Maybe I am the ultimate in oxymoronic existence.

But, I want you to know that I appreciate you engagements in the ecumenical theological/philosophical dialogue that is going on at various blogsites. The East ought not misread Thomas before rejecting him.

Thomas said...

Rev. Blakemore,

Thank you for the encouragement.

I have to say that despite passing through both the Reformed/Presbyterian and Anglican traditions (while learning much), I most value my Wesleyan heritage. I have ancestors, buried near my home in Middle Tennessee, who were Methodist preachers within a generation of JW. Dr. D., of 3rd Mill, once described me as a ‘Wesleyan Anglican’ - a description I still take pride in.

As for Gilson, it is that very aspect of his historical research that most interests me as well. I think it goes to the heart of this discussion of the predication of the divine nature. The ‘a priori’ rejection of its intelligibility seems (1) incompatible with the biblical fact of its revelation (since that which has no ‘esse’ cannot be revealed, i.e. presented to the mind) and (2) fails to appreciate that, in effect, the incomprehensibility of the divine nature is preserved in Thomas’s theology.