36th International Patristic-Medieval-Renaissance Conference, Villanova University, October 21-23, 2011

The 2011 PMR Conference, with the theme of “Natura: The splendor of these created things…” will be getting underway in a few weeks; set in the beautiful locale of the Villanova Conference Center just outside of Philadelphia, this conference usually includes a high concentration of sessions in Medieval theology and philosophy, and this year’s conference is no exception.

In addition to multiple sessions that would be of interest to students or scholars of Thomas Aquinas, the keynote speakers this year are Bruce Marshall and Richard Schenk. As is the PMR tradition, the conference concludes with a Sunday morning roundtable discussion between the participants and the keynote speakers, which is always fruitful and enlightening.

You may view the entire program here:


but here are  few excerpts of the sessions with substantial Thomas content:

1. Thomas Aquinas on Nature: Divine, Human, and Cosmic
Room 115/117
Chair: Michael Waddell, Saint Mary’s College

Thomas Aquinas on the Divine Nature and the Ecstatic Self-Determination of God’s Identity
Gary Culpepper, Providence College

Thomas Aquinas on the Principles of Human Nature and Original Sin
Robert Barry, Providence College

Thomas Aquinas on the Natural Foundations of Cosmic Liturgy
Matthew Cuddeback, Providence College

5. God, Causes, and Explanations: Issues in Medieval Philosophy
Room 114
Chair:  Michael Fatigati, Villanova University

Causes of Nature and Causes of Existence: Avicenna’s Innovations on the Nature of Aristotelian Efficient Causality
Daniel D. DeHaan, University of St. Thomas

Aquinas and Some Theories of Explanation
Peter Weigel, Washington College

The Seeds of Creation: Aquinas on the rationes seminales
Marco Emerson Hernandez, University of Notre Dame

7. The Nature of Theology: Franciscan and Dominican Perspectives
Room 115/117
Chair: Anna Moreland, Villanova University

Sponsored by the Boston Colloquy on Historical Theology
Organizer: Boyd Taylor Coolman

Salvation History, Human Affectivity, and the Nature of Theology in Aquinas and the Summa fratris Alexander
Boyd Taylor Coolman, Boston College

‘A Particularly Agitated Topic’: Bonaventure and Aquinas on the Subject of Theology
Gregory LaNave, Dominican House of Studies

The Supreme Authority of Theology: Ockham against the Papacy
Ian Levy, Providence College

Response: James F. Keating, Providence College


Bruce D. Marshall
Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine
Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Is Nature a Problem for Grace? Aquinas, Scotus, and the Modern Debate about the Supernatural

13. Grace Modifying Nature: How Christian Revelation Changed a Concept in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas
Room 115/117
Chair: Anna Moreland, Villanova University

“Substantial Nature” and the Hypostatic Union
Michael Gorman, Catholic University of America

St. Thomas Aquinas and the Gifts of Wisdom and Counsel
James Stroud, Catholic University of America

Propassiones in Christ, Propassiones in Us
Barrett Turner, Catholic University of America

Donum habituale: Systematic Divisions of Grace and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
John Meinert, Catholic University of America

15. Nature & Grace: Spirit, Humanity, & Sacrament among the Early Reformed
Room 103
Chair: R. Emmet McLaughlin, Villanova University

Natura et Spiritus Sanctus: Comparing Aquinas and Calvin
Berek Q. Smith, Nashotah House Theological Seminary

Nature, Grace, and the Reformed Objection to Donum Superadditum
S. Joel Garver, LaSalle University

The Nature of Grace: Calvin’s Semeiotic Sacramentology
Scott Schultz, Independent Scholar, Jacksonville, FL

The Theology of Nature in Reformation Theology and Protestant Orthodoxy
Leah D. Schade, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

19. Thomas Aquinas on Causality and Grace in the Perfection of Nature
Room 115/117
Chair:  Carl Vater, Catholic University of America

The End of Nature: Aquinas on Natural Final Causality
Corey Barnes, Oberlin College

‘The dignity of causing’: Aquinas’ Mature Doctrine of God’s goodness in grace in creation
Daria Spezzano, University of Notre Dame

Human Merit and Divine Causality: The Splendid Perfection of Nature in Thomas Aquinas
Shawn M. Colberg, University of Notre Dame

23. Thomas Aquinas on Human and Divine Nature
Room 114
Chair:  Paul Camacho, Villanova University

Aquinas on Debitum Naturae
Nicholas Kahm, Catholic University of America

‘From Him and Through Him and To Him”: the Incarnate Word as Exemplar and Consummation of Cosmos and History in St. Thomas Aquinas
Erik Van Versendaal, Independent Scholar, Washington, DC

Controlling Habits of Thought in Thomas Aquinas
Matthew Kruger, Boston College

24. Creation in St. Thomas Aquinas
Room 115/117
Chair: Michael Waddell, Saint Mary’s College

Is God Necessarily a Creator? Tensions between Immutability and the Creative Act in Aquinas
Brock Scheller, Fordham University

Aquinas on Creation: Transitive or Immanent Action?
Gregory T. Doolan, Catholic University of America

God as Ipsum Intelligere Subsistens in Aquinas’s de Potentia
Andrew M. Haines, Catholic University of America

26. Disputed Questions: Issues in Scholastic Thought
Room 120
Chair:  Shawn M. Colberg, University of Notre Dame

The Genuine Experience of Pain in the Human Nature of Christ: Patristic Questions and Medieval Answers to ‘Some Greatly Obscure Chapters of St. Hilary.
Eric Mabry, University of St. Thomas

The Natural Desire for Bodily Integrity: A Scholastic Debate about the Separated Soul
Ezra Sullivan, O.P., St. Gertrude Church, Cincinnati, OH

Session VII: Plenary Session

Richard Schenk, OP
President, , Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

The Limits of Nature as a Mark of her Splendor. Thomas Aquinas on the Role of The Imperfect in the Universe

Sunday Roundtable-The Splendor of These Created Things

An Open Conversation with Bruce Marshall and Richard Schenk