Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (Tilburg University)

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Conference has been succesfull

According to participants the third international conference of the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht, entitled Divine Transcendence and Immanence in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas has been a success.
Fifty participants from 15 countries, who had travelled to Leusden last week, gathered at the conference center ISVW - in the center of the Netherlands - to discuss Thomas Aquinas' thoughts about God, creation, Christ and his sacraments and grace and life eternal.

On 15 December after the opening address by the director of the institute Herwi Rikhof, Conor Cunningham from Nottingham delivered the first main lecture 'Being Recalled: Life as Anamnesis', followed by Rudi Te Velde (Amsterdam/Tilburg) who talked about 'God and the Language of Participation'.

In the evening three paper session were programmed:
Session A
- Matthew Kostelecky (Louvain), Human nature reflected in the investigation of God: the case of the 'Summa contra gentiles'
- Fainche Ryan (Rome), Aquinas' understanding of God
Session B
- Mohammed Saeedi-mehr (Tehran), Aquinas and divine simplicity
-David Dawson Vasquez (Rome), The influence of Ps-Dionysius on Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of God
Session C
-Görge Hasselhoff (Bonn), Who is the Jew Thomas Aquinas refers to as 'Rabbi Moyses' and what is his relevance for the notion of God?
-Syds Wiersma (Utrecht), The doctrine of the Trinity in Raymundus Martini's 'Pugio Fidei'

On Friday 16 December the day started with two main lectures: 'Creatio ex Nihilo and the Being of Creatures. God's Creative Act and the Transcendence-Immanence Distinction in Aquinas' by Gregory Rocca o.p. from Berkeley and 'Ubiquity in Essence, Presence and Power. God's Omnipresence and the Transcendence-Immanence Distinction in Aquinas' by Harm Goris from Utrecht.

Before lunch during three paper sessions the sub-area 'Creation' was dealt with by:
Session A
-William Collins (Birmingham-Alabama), Biblical literalism and Aquinas on the six days (STh I, 65-74)
-David Burrell (Notre Dame), Forward to Vatican I: Proving the existence of an unknowable God
Session B
-Robert Masson (Milwaukee), Analogy as higher-order metaphor in Aquinas
-Gabriela Besler (Katowice), The analogy and Aquinas' method of philosophy of God
Session C
-Peter Candler (Waco), Creation and Convenientia in Aquinas
-Jennifer Hart Weed (Toronto), Aquinas' teaching on creation: the resemblance between effect and cause

After lunch Bruce Marshall (Dallas) and Henk Schoot (Utrecht) presented each a main lecture: 'Christ and Israel in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas' (Marshall) and 'Aquinas on Redemption through Christ' (Schoot).

After a quick dinner most participants departed by bus to Utrecht for a excursion to the new university library of Utrecht University. First Emile Ramakers from Maastricht presented a lecture with pictures about early mural paintings in Maastricht on which the life of Thomas Aquinas is depicted. Afterwards there were subsequent parallel tours through the library: 'Early prints at Utrecht University Library' and 'The new building of the University Library'.

The final day of the conference - 17 December - started with paper sessions around Christ and his sacraments:
-Fritz Bauerschmidt (Baltimore), Transubstantiation and transcendence: the logic of eucharistic presence in Thomas Aquinas
-Frank Steijger (Utrecht),Transubstantiation in discussion

-Trent Pomplun (Baltimore), Thomas Aquinas' De Unione Verbi Incarnati as a source for the analogia entis
-Stefan Mangnus (Utrecht), The christology of a prologue. Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great on John 1.

Stijn van den Bossche(Louvain/Utrecht), Marriage - the natural sacrament linking transcendence and immanence in Thomas Aquinas
-Antoine Coté (Ottawa), Aquinas and the Artistae on nature, miracles and proper method in philosophy

The last main lectures concentrated on the subarea 'Grace and life eternal: 'Thomas on Friendship of God and Image of God' by Hans-Christian Schmidbaur (Lugano) and 'Thomas on Adoptive Sonship' by Herwi Rikhof (Utrecht).

After Lunch there were two paper sessions:
Session A
-Giovanni Binotti (Rome), Terminologie du surnaturel et du transcendant chez saint Thomas
-Jeremy Wilkins (Houston), Why are there two divine missions? Thomas Aquinas' transformation of Augustinian ideas

Session B

-David Liberto (New Orleans), Ad imaginem Dei: Asymptotic assimilation in Thomas' understanding of grace
-Miroslaw Mroz (Torún), The virtue of hope: between transcendence of the gift of grace and 'actio immanens' of human nature.

The conference ended with a discussion led by David Burrell (Notre Dame), in which all participants were invited to share their considerations about the conference in particular and the subject of the conference in general.

We are now looking forward to the next conference in 2010!

Cristina Pumplun,
Secretary of Studies


This conference was organized with financial support of among others Netherlands Organisation of for Scientific Research (NWO), Radboudstichting, the Catholic Theological University at Utrecht and the Tilburg Faculty of Theology.