Italian. b: 24 August 1911, Flumignano, Italy. Cat: Scholastic. Ints: Thomism; contemporary philosophy; philosophy of religion. Educ: University of Padua and University of Rome. Infls: Aquinas, Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Appts: 1956-81, Professor of Philosophy, Catholic University of Milan.
Fabro's vast output includes many studies of recent and contemporary philosophy, in particular of Kierkegaard, some of whose works he has translated into Italian. As a theoretical philosopher and, in particular, as a Thomist, he has been a central figure in the movement to reinstate the notion of participation in Thomistic metaphysics. The neo-Platonist concept of participation, which lies at the heart of Plotinus's Enneads, was adopted by the Christian Pseudo-Dionysius to describe and explain the relation between God and his creatures. Thus, all created things were held to participate in being in the sense that being flowed to them from God, and the human intellect, according to Augustine, participated in the light of the divine intellect. Fabro, together with others such as Louis de Raeymaeker, argues that the idea of participation survived the Aristotelian revival of the thirteenth century, and was employed by Aquinas in his discussion of essence and existence. Essence, taken in itself, is a potency, which is realized when it acquires existence, and this it does by way of participation in the act of being. It had always been conceded that Aquinas had studied neo-Platonist writings in his early years, for instance in his Commentary on the Divine Names. Fabro argues that this survived into his mature works, which, far from being a mere restatement of Aristotle, represented instead an Aristotelianism corrected by, and synthesized with, Platonic notions of participation. Fabro's formidable knowledge of contemporary philosophy makes him one of the most striking and accessible of twentieth-century Thomists, and his reputation is generally high.
Sources: DFN; EF; Dizionario génerale degli autori italiani contemporanei.
Canadian Jew. b: 1916, Halle, Germany. Cat: Rabbi and theologian. Ints: Metaphysics; philosophy of religion; existentialism; history of Jewish thought. Educ: Ordained rabbi, Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judenturns, 1939; emigrated to Canada, 1940; interned as 'enemy alien'; University of Toronto 1943-5; PhD, 1945. Infls: German idealist philosophy, history of Jewish philosophy, Martin Buber, and his own experience of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. Appts: Rabbi, Hamilton, Ontario, 1943-8; Lecturer, then Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto, 1945-; Fellow of Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1992-; various Honorary Degrees, LLD and DD.