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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Bibliographying and the Père Marquette Lecture 
27th-Mar-2006 04:36 am
Marquette University
Today was the Theological Event of the Year at Marquette University, the annual Père Marquette Lecture, with this year's guest being Dr. Dr. Otto Hermann Pesch, flown fresh over from Deutschland. I'll have occasion to work with him later this week, too. Oh, man, the Luther/Aquinas stuff starts at 10am, I think. Less than six hours. I don't think that's happening. But he's going to work with the Luther class I TA for. Anyway, the Lecture. The Ecumenical Potential of Vatican II after 40 Years. . I'll have to write more about that when I'm conscious.

So. Up 'til 4-something now and still not done with the bibliographical re-writes Fahey wanted. I cannot believe how much time it took to track down some of this information. And then to page through the Chicago Manual of Style to make sure that I'm presenting it juuuusssstttt rrriiiiiiigghhttt. My dissertation director is one of the most exacting editors in the field and knows all these particulars intimately. And when he retires at the end of the semester, he's moving to join the large Jesuit community at Boston College.

At Boston College.

My dissertation director is going to live in the same community of Jesuits as my dissertation subject.

If you're laughing or swearing, you get it.
27th-Mar-2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an extreme case of no rest for the weary. Sounds exciting though. However, I suspect that a German theologian would be too much for me, especially one named Otto. I am quite happy, thank you, to stay with the level of Frank Sheed. Otherwise, one does risk getting lost.

On a side note: Do Aquinas's arguments for the existence of God still carry weight in the academic world? That Rice's daughter seems to think them worthy, as per her show on EWTN. I am enjoying that. Again, though, it is for us beginner types.
27th-Mar-2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
There's still an awful lot of work done with the five arguments, but more in philosophy than theology, which is really proper, given their nature. Thomas himself doesn't put a great deal of weight on them. They aren't terribly conclusive arguments: certainly there's a big leap from establishing the kind of "prime mover" that they go for, and then saying, "... and this we call 'God.'" I think it's recognized, in other words, that rather than establishing the existence of the Christian understanding of God in themselves, the arguments do not so much "prove the existence of God" as they "prove that belief in God is not irrational." And that's a significant difference.
27th-Mar-2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm laughing. With you, not at you. Okay, 75% with you, 25% at you.
27th-Mar-2006 10:36 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the clarity! I had a great deal of fun delivering that point to some departmental friends yesterday and watching them shudder in sympathy before they started laughing. I'm not actually too worried about it. Intimidated yes, but not so worried. And hell, the process was already intimidating....
27th-Mar-2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
You want a dissertation advisor to a) help you through and b) help you make your work the best it can be. Sounds like B is covered?
28th-Mar-2006 01:37 am (UTC)
More than covered! Professor Fahey, while being a zesty and brutal editor, just flat-out loves instructing students in how to write. As far as bringing my work to a scholar who is going to give it oodles of attention, all with the goal of making it fit to print, I couldn't have asked for better.

Which is, after all, why I didn't! I came to Marquette to write with Professor Fahey. My assessment was that he was, pound for pound, the best ecclesiologist in the United States. It's a fairly recent field, the study of the Church, at least in its modern form--it's pretty much a post-Vatican II development, so that's just 40 years, now. Cardinal Dulles at Fordham I thought was slipping and not going to be someone to study with anymore as he was getting so elderly and frail, and Francis Sullivan--the subject of my dissertation--was already retired in the Jesuit community at Boston College.

Those two, Dulles and Sullivan, in many ways were the "first" doing ecclesiology in the new mode, and I gave some of that edge to Sullivan, and so he became my object of study. Dulles, Sullivan and Fahey are all American Jesuits, which shows something of what a Jesuit "group project" this field almost was, at its top levels. The other really big name at the top, Richard McBrien, with whom I studied at Notre Dame, is the only non-Jesuit at the very top of the field.

So, all that to say that yes, I feel incredibly lucky to be exactly where I am, especially since Fahey retires in May but still was willing to direct me.
28th-Mar-2006 01:46 am (UTC)
Great googly moogly man, it never rains but it pours...

Hope that sleep does show up in a proper amount once you've gotten over this disserhurdle!
28th-Mar-2006 06:04 am (UTC)
I wish! It seems like I'm always in the non-virtuous states of either "excess" or "lack" when it comes to sleep....
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