Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists

Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists

Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists

Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists

Synopsis

In this powerfully argued book, Knasas engages a debate at the heart of the revival of Thomistic thought in the twentieth century. Richly detailed and illuminating, his book calls on the tradition established by Gilson, Maritain, and Owen, to build a case for Existential Thomism as a valid metaphysics. Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists is a comprehensive discussion of the major issues and controversies in neo-Thomism, including issues of mind, knowledge, the human subject, freewill, nature, grace, and the act of being. Knasas also discusses the Transcendental Thomism of Marchal, Rahner, Lonergan, and others as he builds a carefully articulated case for completing the Thomist revival.

Excerpt

Alone one can write articles; only with friends does one write books. I want to thank publisher and philosopher Dr. Dalia Stanèiene of Vilnius, Lithuania, for the many invitations to teach in her Thomistic summer schools and to lecture in other venues. From these opportunities the main lines of this book were drawn. Assisting her in these projects have been: Dr. Vaclovas Bagdonavic¡ius, director of the Lithuanian Institute of Philosophy and Sociology; Dr. Rita Šerpytytë, director of the Religious Studies Center, University of Vilnius; and Dr. Kestutis Dubnikas, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Vilnius.

In a sophomore philosophy of the human person course and while still a history major, I contemplated the department chair’s emphasis on Bernard J. F. Lonergan’s insistence for personal appropriation of the truth, “I am a knower (according to a definite cognitional structure).” As I interiorly said the words, I was struck by the additional meaning in uttering “I am” rather than simply “I.” The meanings of the two utterances were starkly unequal. Am added something more to the meaning of I as clearly as a cry adds to a stillness. Moreover, the meaning of am was not simply additional but also most important, for without what was meant by am, what was meant by I was not yet anything. When I brought these observations to my teacher’s attention, he feigned interest but insisted that the more significant meaning lay in going on to add knower. I was disappointed. Later others introduced me to Maritain, Gilson, and Owens, who in turn ushered me to Aquinas. Joyfully I discovered thinkers who, I believed, saw what I did and from whom I could learn. Throughout almost thirty years of teaching and writing, I have tried to stay faithful to that intuition. Where I have faltered the responsibility is mine alone.

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