Conference on Thomas Aquinas and the Greek Fathers

January 29, 2018

In January 2018, thirteen Dominican friars joined scholars from around the world to examine the relationship of Thomas Aquinas and the Greek Fathers at a conference in Ave Maria, FL cosponsored by the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University and the Thomistic Institute.

Fr. Andrew Hofer, OP of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, served as co-organizer of the conference and gave a paper titled “Aquinas and the Greek Fathers for Renewing Theology Today.” Four other professors from the Dominican House of Studies gave presentations: Fr. John Baptist Ku, OP spoke on “St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St. Thomas Aquinas on God the Father”; Fr. Dominic Langevin, OP, spoke on “The Eucharist as Medicine in the Greek Fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas”; Fr. Dominic Legge, OP, spoke on “Trinity and Christology in the Transfiguration: Aquinas and the Greek Fathers”; and Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP spoke about “Beauty as a divine attribute: from Dionysius to Aquinas.”

Five other friars of the Province of St. Joseph gave papers: Fr. Peter Totleben, OP spoke on “Maximus the Confessor and Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice in Christ”; Fr. Austin Dominic Litke, OP, spoke on “Thomas Aquinas on Nestorianism”; Fr. Reginald Lynch, OP, spoke about “Trinitarian Procession in Thomas Aquinas and Manuel Calecas”; Fr. Raymund Snyder, OP, spoke on “Aquinas’s Adaptation of the Neoplatonic Triad of Being, Life, and Intellect: Proclus, Pseudo-Dionysius, and the Essential Perfections”; and Fr. Innocent Smith, OP, spoke about “Pseudo-Dionysius and the Liturgical Theology of Thomas Aquinas”

They were joined by three other Dominican friars . Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn, OP, a professor at the Angelicum, delivered a paper on “The Christo-centric Mystical Theologies of Maximos the Confessor and Thomas Aquinas”. Br. Gregory Augustine Liu, OP, of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, spoke on “The Greek Patristic Heritage in the Trinitarian Theologies of Thomas Aquinas and Gregory Palamas.” Fr. Sylvain Detoc, OP, of the Catholic University of Lyon, France, delivered a paper on “The theologia philosophorum of Irenaeus compared with that of Thomas Aquinas.”

The variety of topics covered by the Dominican speakers alone reveals the breadth of Thomas Aquinas’s connections with the Greek theological tradition. The conference, which included an array of Catholic and Orthodox speakers, was a profound experience of shared inquiry into the deep connections between the Western and Eastern Christian traditions.

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