Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship

This week I complete my M.A. in Catholic Studies, with my Master’s Thesis titled: “It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone: Love, Marriage, and Friendship in the Catholic Tradition.” The paper is still undergoing major revisions and additions, but I recently gave a brief presentation on my work. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio from my presentation below. Continue reading “Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship”

The End of an Era

With a smile on her face, I recently saw a bright young woman go straight to Professor David Solomon and hug him. I’ve seen this happen with many of Professor Solomon’s former students. They return to campus and light up when they see him, almost as if they are seeing their father after a long absence.

When I entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2009, not much time passed before I sat in his office with a couple of other freshmen and had a conversation about how we wanted to write tracts about what it means to be a Catholic university. I think starry-eyed students like us helped Professor Solomon to be ever-creative in his efforts to promote Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, from founding the Center for Ethics and Culture to beginning the Fund to Protect Human Life. I wonder if students have been doing this since he joined Notre Dame’s philosophy faculty in 1968. Continue reading “The End of an Era”

Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series.

“Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues” is a revised and expanded version of three lectures Alasdair MacIntyre gave in 1997. It seeks to address two questions: “Why is it important for us to attend to and to understand what human beings have in common with members of other intelligent animal species?” and “What makes attention to human vulnerability and disability important for moral philosophers?” MacIntyre especially hopes that his work on the latter question will help correct the insufficient attention given to it within moral philosophy. Continue reading “Summary: Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals”

Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part two)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Letter

Sixteenth century humanists may appear to “put aside such bodily gestures with disdain,” but Bray argues that “one need only lift a corner of its rhetoric to see how much it still drew on them and their continuing vitality.” This is illustrated in the paired portraits of Peter Gilles and Erasmus, which the two sent to Thomas More in 1517. In them, Erasmus looks up while composing his Paraphrase of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, towards the book to which Gilles is gesturing, More’s Utopia. “The book projects beyond the frame of the picture, and the gesture draws the unseen observer, More himself, into the intimacy of these two friends seated in Erasmus’s study.” Continue reading “Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part two)”

Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part one)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Sir Thomas Baines died in September 1681, and his friend John Finch died the following year. In their shared monument in the chapel of Christ’s College, Cambridge, there is a “single flaming funerary urn set above, in a visual pun on the marriage or love knot.” In Constantinople, Finch left an inscription to his friends memory, describing their friendship as an “Animorum Connubial”, a “marriage of souls.” Such an expression is “no eccentricity at the end of the seventeenth century” and can be seen in many other inscriptions. Continue reading “Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part one)”

Summary: The Friend Chapter 3, Families and Friends

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Chapter three opens with a discussion of the memorial brass for the joint tomb of John Bloxham and John Whytton in the chapel of Merton College, Oxford. The two stand beside each other with their hands together in prayer, looking at the viewer, a depiction common for joint tombs of spouses at the time. Bray points out that one of the most significant features of the memorial, however, are the names of the two men beneath an icon for St. John the Baptist. Bray writes that the design designates the saint “as their spiritual godfather and thus each other as spiritual brothers.” It establishes a kinship. Continue reading “Summary: The Friend Chapter 3, Families and Friends”

Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part two)

 

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

Christianity is marked by an “agape-philia” antinomy. This antinomy exercises itself in “equal love for all and each in their unity, concentrated in a single focus of love for several, even for one in his separation from the general unity.” Christianity is marked by a paradoxical character that is both esoteric and exoteric, which is “not rationally compatible… [but] reconcilable only in the most profoundly mysterious Christian life.” Continue reading “Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part two)”

Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

Letter eleven opens with Florensky’s description of a snowy night that brings back memories of his friend. “I light a fragrant candle of amber-yellow wax before the Mother of God. We brought this candle from there, that is, from where you and I wandered together… Again I am with you. Every day I remember something about you, and then I sit down to write. Thus, from day to day, my life slides toward ‘the other shore,’ so that I could at least look at you from there, ‘by love having defeated death / and by death having defeated the passions . . .’” Continue reading “Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)”

Summary: Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series.

Pavel Florensky, identified by many as the greatest Russian Orthodox theologian of his time, wrote largely at the beginning of the twentieth century. Drawing from his broad education in philosophy, religion, art, and folklore, he wrote The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: an Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters while a student, finishing it in 1908. It was published several years later in 1904. The book is composed of twelve letters, written to a “brother” or a “friend”, and is a broad exploration of Russian Orthodox theology. Continue reading “Summary: Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth”