Sunday, August 31, 2014

Here and There

  • Interviewing Ikons: Fr Aidan Kimel - Interview with Fr. Kimel - one-time Catholic convert from Episcopalianism, now Orthodox and living "a tranquil retired existence in the foothills of Roanoke, Virginia, where he writes articles no one reads (or so he thinks) for his blog, Eclectic Orthodoxy." Kimel's post-conversion experience as a Catholic in contemporary times is, alas, may ring all too familiar to some readers: "My conversion to Catholicism had largely occurred in my head with my books. I knew very little about the Catholic Church on the ground level. Speaking only for myself, I increasingly came to realize that I could not spiritually survive in the Catholic Church."

  • 'The Classical Moment': Author Q&A with Father James Schall, S.J. Sean Salai, S.J. interviews the prolific Fr. James V. Schall on his latest book, The Classical Moment: Selected Essays on Knowledge and Its Pleasures (America 07/14/14):
    When you write, you write among both friends and antagonists. Of the latter, you want, as Aquinas would advise, to find the truth in what they are trying to say. Of the former, you are grateful that someone else has seen a truth before you did, or explained to you why it was so. So to “mix” these references is simply to be honest. Someone else really did guide you to some truth or insight that you might have otherwise never noticed.

  • Cultural-warrior Ryan T. Anderson in action (+ Q&A). Methinks this is how debates of this nature should be conducted, sans vitriol from either side.

  • How Husserl changed Catholic attitudes toward Judaism - Artur Rosman (Cosmos in the Lost) traces connections between phenomenology and Catholicism.

  • "A Word in Favor of Ideology" Throne and Alter 08/28/14,the author expresses his affinity with the Marxists' historical perspective, in an age where "libertarianism is not an ideology in the old sense. It is a dogma," (Mark Lilla), the blogger explains his affinity for the Communists of yore.

  • Recently published and translated by David Bentley Hart, Analogia Entis: Metaphysics- Original Structure and Universal Rhythm (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. February 2014)| Reviewed by Christopher J. Malloy (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews):
    Although Erich Przywara (1889–1972) was one of the preeminent Catholic theologians of his time and a profound influence on such people as Hans Urs von Balthasar and Joseph Ratzinger, he has remained virtually unknown in North America. This volume includes Przywara’s groundbreaking Analogia Entis, originally published in 1932, and his subsequent essays on the concept analogia entis -- the analogy between God and creation -- which has currency in philosophical and theological circles today.
  • In "The Rock Star of One First Street", Stephen Presser suggests that Bruce Allen Murphy's recent intellectual biography of Justice Antonin Scalia makes him out to be more honorable than the author may have intended, whose "jurisprudence is not really cherished by Professor Murphy, but he does a creditable job in explaining it and offering it a grudging respect."

  • "A Secular Age 2.0" - Matthew J. Milliner reviews Minding the Modern: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge (Books and Culture):
    ... like Charles Taylor (A Secular Age) and Brad Gregory (The Unintended Reformation), Pfau is a man equipped for the enormous cartographic task of remapping the rise of modernity. Sweeping narrative retellings such as Pfau's are frequently accused of being unfocused, tangential, historically selective, or insufficiently edited. Pfau, however, deftly avoids dilettantism by never quite leaving his realm of professional training even while he ranges widely beyond it. Which is to say, Minding the Modern is no history, nor is Pfau a historian. Instead, it is an extended, historically grounded close reading of texts that an accomplished literature professor is well equipped to provide. As he puts it, "any account of competing or intersecting intellectual traditions has to rest on the kind of close, textual analysis that, at its best, has always been the bread and butter of literary studies." Such an approach enables Pfau to seamlessly move, for example, between Shaftsbury and Heidegger, Augustine and Arendt, Levinas and Cardinal Newman, or Marion and Aquinas, on the same page. This stems not from indecision but from a premeditated attempt to intertwine historical and philosophical, or horizontal and vertical, approaches with a sustained argument. In addition, Pfau focuses his wide-ranging account by choosing the (admittedly enormous) category of human personhood, and its corollaries of will and agency, as the vehicle in which he takes his tour of the ages. His express aim is "to capture the intrinsic idea of will and person through a series of forensic readings of representative arguments."
  • Lastly, why am I just now hearing about this?!? -- The Grand Inquisitor, a comic book from the fevered imagination of Catholic blogger John Zmirak:
    The tale is simple, but all its permutations are profound. Sometime in the near future, a papal conclave drags on as the College of Cardinals finds itself at a deadlock. Tension mounts outside the Vatican walls. The liberals stage a walkout and hurl their scarlet robes to the crowd below in protest. The few remaining electors choose a complete unknown as the next pontiff, an African monk from a forgotten Traditionalist order. (Think Hadrian the Seventh, but with real saints and real sinners facing off rather than an empty conflict of aesthete poseurs and vulgar bureacrats). Unfortunately, one prince of the Church, possessing his own strange and alarming agenda, arranges a mix-up at the new pontiff's airport pickup. The vast bulk of the story deals with the confrontation between the cardinal--incidentally, a dead ringer for Teilhard de Chardin--and the simple priest, now imprisoned in the mental ward of a Roman hospital along with a dozen or so deranged papal claimants of a less legitimate nature. What happens next will decide the fate of the Church, and with it, the world.

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