New book by R.J. Matava on Báñez and physical premotion


R.J. Matava has published a book with Brill entitled Divine Causality and Human Free Choice: Domingo Báñez, Physical Premotion and the Controversy de Auxiliis Revisited. Here's the publisher's description:

In Divine Causality and Human Free Choice, R.J. Matava explains the idea of physical premotion defended by Domingo Báñez, whose position in the Controversy de Auxiliis has been typically ignored in contemporary discussions of providence and freewill. Through a close engagement with untranslated primary texts, Matava shows Báñez’s relevance to recent debates about middle knowledge. Finding the mutual critiques of Báñez and Molina convincing, Matava argues that common presuppositions led both parties into an insoluble dilemma. However, Matava also challenges the informal consensus that Lonergan definitively resolved the controversy. Developing a position independently advanced by several recent scholars, Matava explains how the doctrine of creation entails a position that is more satisfactory both philosophically and as a reading of Aquinas.

For the book page at Brill, go here. To purchase it at Amazon, go here. No doubt this volume by Matava will be a very important contribution to, among other things, the debates over physical promotion and the Congregatio de Auxiliis and their history.

Matava, who received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, is assistant professor of theology at the Christendom Graduate School.

A trove of digitized Garrigou-Lagrange texts

Not long ago there were not (as far as I know) many of Garrigou-Lagrange's writings available electronically online. Last month I discovered that there are now over a dozen available at the Internet Archive. They are all English translations, but for those whose French or Latin is poor or non-existent, this is quite a resource. Obviously, it will also be useful for professors who would like to incorporate some of Garrigou's texts in their classes.

There are now a total of fourteen texts up. You can find them here. Also included is the hitherto hard to obtain English translation of Garrigou's famous (for some, notorious) 1946 Angelicum article "La nouvelle théologie: oú va-t-elle?" Here's what's available as of this posting:

Beatitude: A Commentary on St. Thomas' Theological summa, Ia IIae, qq. 1-54

Christian Perfection & Contemplation

God: His Existence and His Nature (vol. 1)

God: His Existence and His Nature (vol. 2)

The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus (vol. 1)

The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus (vol. 2)

The Mother of The Savior and Our Interior Life

Our Saviour and His Love for Us


The Last Writings

The Priest in Union with Christ 

The Three Ages of the Interior Life (vol. 1)

The Three Ages of the Interior Life (vol. 2)

“Where is the New Theology Leading Us?”

There were two other entries that I did not include in this list because I'm not sure what they are. They are supposed to be an index and a bibliography to The Three Ages of the Interior Life. When I clicked on the links, however, I was led to blank pages. 

We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to whoever made the effort to put all of this up.

New translation of Dignitatis humanae contributor Michael Pakaluk has produced a new draft translation of the Second Vatican Council's declaration on religious liberty Dignitatis humanae. December 7 was the fiftieth anniversary of the document's promulgation by Paul VI, and December 8 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Council's closing.

Michael tells me that his main goal was to produce an instrument for accurate study. He believes that his translation better reveals Dignitatis humanae's classical roots and the care with which the document was written. He welcomes any corrections and suggestions for improvement.

You can find Michael's translation here on his page.

Thomism and hermeneutic violence: five Dominicans respond to Adriano Oliva

A few weeks ago on one of our contributors, Tom Osborne, shared some brief thoughts on Adriano Oliva's new book Amours. Oliva, a Dominican, is the president of the Leonine Commission. In Amours he argues for a number of controversial theses, including the moral goodness of some homosexual acts and the permissibility of the reception of communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. He enlists Aquinas in making these arguments.

Prior to Osborne's negative evaluation there was also a highly critical review by Thibaud Collin in La Croix, which you can find here. One of Collin's criticisms has to do with Oliva's reading -- or radical misreading, rather -- of ST, Ia-IIae, q. 31, a. 7. His comments are sharp:

Une telle argumentation repose sur des contresens qu’il convient de manifester. Il semble y avoir ici une lecture sélective du texte de saint Thomas. On rompt la cohérence interne de la doctrine thomasienne pour mieux ensuite piocher ce dont on a besoin afin de reconstruire sa propre théorie, plus proche de celle de Michel Foucault que celle du saint dominicain.

Now, five Dominicans -- Bernhard Blankenhorn, Catherine Joseph Droste, Efrem Jindráček, Dominic Legge, and Thomas Joseph White -- have responded to Oliva at First Things. Like Collin, they also charge Oliva with a radical misreading of Aquinas (among other things). You can find their comments here. I can only (not without sadness) concur with their judgments.

New book on Aquinas's philosophy by Stephen Brock

Stephen L. Brock, professor of medieval philosophy at the Pontificia Università della Santa Croce in Rome, has just published a book entitled The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas: A Sketch. Here is the book description from Cascade Books (an imprint of Wipf and Stock):

If Saint Thomas Aquinas was a great theologian, it is in no small part because he was a great philosopher. And he was a great philosopher because he was a great metaphysician. In the twentieth century, metaphysics was not much in vogue, among either theologians or even philosophers; but now it is making a comeback, and once the contours of Thomas's metaphysical vision are glimpsed, it looks like anything but a museum piece. It only needs some dusting off. Many are studying Thomas now for the answers that he might be able to give to current questions, but he is perhaps even more interesting for the questions that he can raise regarding current answers: about the physical world, about human life and knowledge, and (needless to say) about God. This book is aimed at helping those who are not experts in medieval thought to begin to enter into Thomas's philosophical point of view. Along the way, it brings out some aspects of his thought that are not often emphasized in the current literature, and it offers a reading of his teaching on the divine nature that goes rather against the drift of some prominent recent interpretations.

This sounds like an important new contribution. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing what in Brock's reading of Aquinas's teaching on the divine nature goes "against the drift of some prominent recent interpretations."

You can find out more information and purchase Brock's book here or here.