Wisdom's Apprentice: Festschrift in honor of Lawrence Dewan, OP

Okay, I know that Fr Dewan was my teacher in Toronto and all, so I might be expected to pay him filial homage now and again. But the fact is that it’s a good time to be Fr Dewan. He gave the Aquinas Lecture at Marquette University in 2007, and now Catholic University has not only recently published a collection of his essays on metaphysics (Form and Being: Studies in Thomistic Metaphysics [Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2006]—link), but they have also published a Festschrift in his honor: Wisdom’s Apprentice: Thomistic Essays in Honor of Lawrence Dewan, O.P. (PDF/link). Edited by Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College, here is the blurb:

Lawrence Dewan, O.P., has long graced the world of Thomistic scholarship with the impressive lucidity, depth, and comprehensiveness of his research on many facets of the Angelic Doctor’s legacy. A professor at the Collège Universitaire Dominicain in Ottawa and a member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas, his more than one hundred articles have brought him international renown as a foremost authority on metaphysics, natural philosophy, and ethics as well as on aspects of the work of John Capreolus, Albert the Great, Etienne Gilson, and Jacques Maritain, among others.

In Wisdom’s Apprentice, twelve distinguished scholars pay grateful homage to their friend and mentor in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the study of the philosophia perennis. Prompted by the honoree’s seventy-fifth birthday in March 2007, this volume gathers incisive essays on a variety of key topics in the Thomist tradition.

The book is divided into four parts. Part I engages fundamental metaphysical issues, Jan Aertsen writing on truth as a transcendental, Stephen Brock and David Twetten on the doctrine of being, and J. L. A. West on supposit and nature. Part II contains essays on natural theology, with Ralph McInerny and Leslie Armour posing questions on the rational basis of man’s knowledge of God and Gregory Doolan showing how deliberately Aquinas integrates divine ideas into his doctrine of God. In Part III natural philosophy comes to the fore: Christopher Decaen expounds the impossibility of action at a distance, Jude Dougherty the relationship between physics and philosophy, and Ralph Nelson the influence of Bergson on an important difference between Gilson and Maritain. The two authors of Part IV address the world of man; Kevin Flannery argues that for Aristotle no less than for Aquinas acts can be good or bad in their very species and Heather McAdam Erb unfolds Aquinas’s views on interior peace, the foretaste of eternal life.


  • Editor’s Introduction
  • Biography of Lawrence Dewan, O.P.
  • Publications of Lawrence Dewan, O.P.
  • PART I. Metaphysics
    • Is Truth Not a Transcendental for Aquinas? Jan A. Aertsen
    • Thomas Aquinas and “What Actually Exists” Stephen L. Brock
    • Really Distinguishing Essence from Esse David B. Twetten
    • The Real Distinction between Supposit and Nature J.L.A. West
  • PART II. Natural Theology
    • From Shadows and Images to the Truth Ralph McInerny
    • Re-thinking the Infinite Leslie Armour
    • Is Thomas’s Doctrine of Divine Ideas Thomistic? Gregory T. Doolan
  • PART III. Philosophy of Nature
    • The Impossibility of Action at a Distance Christopher A. Decaen
    • Physics and Philosophy Jude P. Dougherty
    • Two Masters, Two Perspectives: Maritain and Gilson on the Philosophy of Nature Ralph Nelson
  • PART IV. Ethics and Spirituality
    • Moral Taxonomy and Moral Absolutes Kevin L. Flannery, S.J.
    • Interior Peace: Inchoatio vitae aeternae Heather McAdam Erb
  • Works Cited
  • Contributors
  • Index of Names

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is an associate professor of Theology at Marquette University, and founded thomistica.net on Squarespace in November of 2004. He studied with James Weisheipl, Leonard Boyle, Walter Principe, and Lawrence Dewan, at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto, Canada).