The Task of Christian Metaphysics: Ferdinand Ulrich and 20th Century Thomism
This course will explore the work of the speculative Thomist Ferdinand Ulrich within the context of the “rediscovery of being” in 20th Century neo-Thomism. The first part of the semester will be spent studying fundamental texts by Etienne Gilson and Cornelio Fabro—the founder of “existential Thomism” and the recoverer of the neoplatonic theme of participation in Aquinas, respectively. We will also read some lesser-known Thomists who developed some of the ideas of Gilson and Fabro further. The second part of the course, then, will be a study of principal sections of Ulrich’s Homo Abyssus. Our aim will be to see how Ulrich continues the lines opened up by the other Thomists, how he deepens some of their insights, and how he introduces new ways of interpreting Aquinas through an engagement with modern philosophy.