Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (3/3): The Aesthetics of Horror and the Splendor of God

In this final exposition of Catholicism and the Gothic, we shall turn to the obvious in Gothic aesthetics and the quintessential characteristic of the traditional post-Carolingian aesthetic of Catholicism: The aesthetic of horror. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom is an integral aspect … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (3/3): The Aesthetics of Horror and the Splendor of God

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (2/3): Sex, Violence, and the Origins of the Sacred

Gothic horror often deals with sexuality, sexual torment, and graphic violence. One of the common polemical retorts against Catholicism is that it is obsessed with sexuality, sexual violence, and blood imagery. But how did Catholicism arrive at this nexus of the intersectionality of sex, violence, and the sacred? The Biblical account is unclear whether Adam … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche, (2/3): Sex, Violence, and the Origins of the Sacred

Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

The image of the Gothic is something usually depicted as something dark, depressing, and horrifying. The Gothic was, for a time, nearly synonymous with Catholicism, especially in the Protestant world where Gothic was associated with darkness and superstition like Catholicism was depicted as being—and this was reinforced and propagated by British Gothic horror often being … Continue reading Catholicism and the Gothic Psyche (1/3): Depth, Depravity, and the Restlessness of Man

Aquinas on the Levels of Life and the Soul

Following up on Aquinas’ Ladder of Being, we move into a related concern that the good doctor dealt with in Quaestio Disputata de Anima (Disputed Questions of Life or the Soul).[1] In this particular disputation, Aquinas is dealing with what distinguishes souls. The question at hand, which follows from an earlier disputation in another text … Continue reading Aquinas on the Levels of Life and the Soul

Aquinas and the Ladder of Being

St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the most recognizable names in Christian history and the Christian intellectual tradition. While generally held up as the perennial philosopher in the Catholic tradition, especially among Catholic realists, he is also loved—perhaps begrudgingly—by many in the Protestant world especially the so-called Reformed scholastics. There is also a lot of … Continue reading Aquinas and the Ladder of Being

Augustine’s City of God, XI: Understanding the Libido Dominandi

The libido domanandi is a Latin term that can be roughly translated as “lust for domination.” The lust for domination is, for Augustine, the driving impulse of fallen man and his society (the city of man). The twentieth century philosopher Eric Voegelin surmised that the libido dominandi was man’s “will to power” to borrow a phrase … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, XI: Understanding the Libido Dominandi

Augustine’s City of God, X: Understanding Augustine’s “Dialectic”

Augustine is sometimes seen as the father of dialectical philosophy and theology in the Christian tradition. While there is already an inkling of dialectical thought throughout the Bible, and the New Testament letters—especially Paul—it is Augustine’s City of God that begins the most robust effort at understanding this so-called dialectic of light and darkness, sin … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, X: Understanding Augustine’s “Dialectic”

Augustine’s City of God, IX: Understanding Augustine’s Hermeneutic

Part of Augustine’s ecclesiological hermeneutic which is developed more fully in the City of God is already a well-established hermeneutic in the early church: The Christological, Ecclesiological, and Spiritual reading of Scripture. However, Augustine provides the first arguable systematic account of this ecclesiological-allegorical hermeneutical lens especially from within the confines of covenant theology. While there … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, IX: Understanding Augustine’s Hermeneutic