New dissertation at the Thomas Instituut
On December 9, 2013, Kevin O’Reilly o.p. (Ireland) will defend his thesis at Tilburg University. His thesis is entitled “The Hermeneutics of knowing and willing in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas”. Directors of the thesis are Herwi Rikhof and Henk Schoot. From December 9 onwards, the book will be available with Peeters Publishers, Louvain. It will be published in the series Publications of the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht, as volume XV.This study elicits a concern to show forth those elements in the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas that can meaningfully engage with those trends in contemporary hermeneutical philosophy and theology that highlight the conditioned nature of human understanding. The main point of reference in this regard is the hermeneutical philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer.
At the heart of this hermeneutical enterprise is Thomas’s construal of the relationship between intellect and will, a relationship that can be described as one of dynamic reciprocity. A dynamic interaction between intellect and will obtains in both their natural and graced operations. Hence, the title of the book, The Hermeneutics of Knowing and Willing in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Some might be concerned that the notion of hermeneutics will import the spectre of relativism into Thomas’s thought. By guiding the reader through Thomas’s doctrine of man as made to the image of the Trinity, his Trinitarian theology, his Christology, and his treatment of grace, the theological virtues of faith and charity, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the author shows how Thomas in fact offers us resources for a theological hermeneutics of objectivity. The criteria for this objectivity, so the author argues, are Trinitarian, Christological, Pneumatological, ecclesial, and Scriptural.
It is to be hoped that this book will be read not only by those who have a particular interest in Thomas’s theology but also by theologians outside of the Thomistic tradition, particularly those interested in hermeneutics.
Kevin E. O’Reilly, OP, is a Dominican brother belonging to the Irish province of the Order of Preachers. He is author of Aesthetic Perception: A Thomistic Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007) and has published in a range of peer-reviewed journals, including The Thomist, Nova et Vetera, The Review of Metaphysics, Angelicum, and The Heythrop Journal. Before entering the Dominican Order he taught philosophy at the Milltown Institute, Dublin, and at Strathmore University, Nairobi.