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

German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 4: Friedrich Schelling

While influenced by Kant and Fichte, Schelling deviates from them insofar that he does not start with mind (as Kant and Fichte) but with nature (per Goethe). Therefore, Schelling’s axiomatic foundation is not the mind, the rational (or transcendental) but the natural; nature. The mind, for Schelling, is an outgrowth of the forces of conflict … Continue reading German Idealism, From Kant to Hegel, Part 4: Friedrich Schelling

Augustine’s City of God, XIII: Finale, The “Image of the Trinity”

Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, and many other continental psychoanalysts have paid homage to the bishop of Hippo for his insight into the human psyche. Indeed, even Sigmund Freud’s triad psyche of the superego, ego, and id is owed directly to Augustine’s tripartite man: memory (superego), intellect (ego), and will (id). More recently David Brooks has … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, XIII: Finale, The “Image of the Trinity”

Augustine’s City of God, XII: Understanding the “Saeculum”

Another one of Augustine’s great themes that rides through the City of God is the concept of the saeculum.[i] It has been brought to attention of late by scholars like R.A. Markus and historians like Peter Brown, James Wetzel, and Peter Leithart. What is the saeculum, and why is it important to Augustine’s understanding of … Continue reading Augustine’s City of God, XII: Understanding the “Saeculum”

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