Descartes, Meditations

A few notes on Descartes, Meditations 1-2, with lots of help from Jean-Luc Marion. Descartes’s ego cogito, ergo sum is not, Marion points out, original, at least in its form. It has origins in Augustine, who offered this response to the skeptics: “I have no fear of the arguments of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Copernican Revolution

Some scattered thoughts inspired by comments from Chris Schlect and Doug Wilson at a faculty discussion of de Lubac today: How is it that theologians (like Norman Shepherd, Steve Wilkins, Rich Lusk, and others) who want to expunge the notion of merit from theology get accused of being . . . . Continue Reading »

Surnaturel and Protestantism

Milbank asks the intriguing question of whether de Lubac’s surnaturel thesis “rather deconstructs the terms of the Schleiermacher/Barth divide.” He appears to mean that the polarization of Schleiermacher’s “intrinicism” and Barth’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Against Yale

Milbank contrasts de Lubac’s advocacy of patristic and medieval hermeneutics, which insists that the allegorical fulfills and completes the literal, with the Yale school, which he sees as living in “the no-man’s land of ‘history-like narrative’ which at once abolishes . . . . Continue Reading »

Gift and Causation

Further along his his treatment of de Lubac, Milbank discusses the change in the meaning of causality and divine causality in the medieval period. Drawing on the work of Jacob Schmutz, he gives this account: Prior to 1250, influentia was understood in its etymological sense as a . . . . Continue Reading »

Henri de Lubac: A Brief Introduction

INTRODUCTION The French Jesuit theologian Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) was one of the most significant Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, a central figure in the ressourcement movement and the nouvelle theologie movement that inspired the change of atmosphere in the Catholic church . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Palm Sunday

Much of the following was inspired by a lecture by Dr. David Powlison of the counseling center at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia. INTRODUCTION As disciples of Jesus, we are all called to take our cross to suffer with Him. He suffered because He provoked murderous hatred from his enemies. Our . . . . Continue Reading »

Noah and the Sinners

At the end of his intriguing discussion of Gericault’s painting Scene of Shipwreck, Julian Barnes gives a brief summary of the fortunes of Noah in Western art, which he says change significantly after the Sistine Chapel: “In the Sistine Chapel the Ark (now looking more like a floating . . . . Continue Reading »


JL Austin once suggested that many people think of existing as something over and above the various activities of a thing, something things do all the time: “like breathing, only quieter - ticking over, as it were, in a metaphysical sort of way.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Aquinas and Cooperation

Exploring George Hunsinger’s criticisms of Thomas’ views on grace, Kerr argues that Thomas does not, as Hunsinger suggests, make human nature “conceptually prior to and independent of divine grace.” Rather “it is by grace that the soul of the sinner is open to God. . . . . Continue Reading »