Monday, July 18, 2005

Whig Thomists vs. Augustinian Thomists

In a recent post, an extensive dialog occurred in the comments. If you are not familiar with this multi-decade long debate and would like to know more about it, a good introduction was provided in this tNP article. tNP publishes articles, which touches upon this debate in nearly every issue. It's a subject near and dear to the heart of the tNP editors. Christopher Blosser has also built a beautiful website & related blog,which collects many of the on-line articles in regards to this on-going conversation.

For those of you who would like to sink your teeth into books related to this topic, I recommend the following:

Catholicism and Secularization in America: Essays on Nature, Grace and Culture

Heart of the World, Center of the Church: Communio Ecclesiology, Liberalism, and Liberation

Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny

Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II

The End of Democracy?


Unknown said...

Great books, all!

Fr. D.L. Jones said...

I've added Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny to the recommended book list. It's a great collection of essays from scholars on both sides of the debate.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I'm bit of a late-comer. Does anybody find the distinction Augustinian v. Whig incredibly odd and not really helpful for understanding what is going on in these debates? Don't get me wrong. I'm actually quite sympathetic to Rowland's project but she does herself a grave dis-service with these odd names. Also, her mishmash of different thinkers really confuses me; the problem isn't that I don't understand her but that I have read these people and her references tend to be incredibly obscure or, worse, misleading. As far as I can tell, she takes the adjective "Augustinian" from Macintyre's use of the narrative tradition in After Virtue but this is something he has moved away from big time since the early 1980s.

Fr. D.L. Jones said...

These titles were developed by the two major groups in this debate. We should let them speak for themselves.

A little background on these titles - Michael Novak and party have claimed the title of "Whig Thomists" for well more than a decade. (Refer to his chapter in CATHOLICISM AND SECLULARIZATION IN AMERICA, etc.) Augustinian Thomist is a more recent title for the other camp, but a good one in my opinion. It's involves questions on culture not just economics, etc. (Refer to Tracey Rowland's book.)

No titles are perfect, but these are much better than the older titles of Neocons, Theocons, Cultural Radicals, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just bumped into this conversation.

Have to agree with anonymous that the captioning here is poor, the self descriptions to which David points notwithstanding. One wonders what possible type of Thomist Fr. Neuhaus has become in light of his refusal to condemn the Bush stem-cell decision in 2001 and his hardened war salesmanship of more recent vintage. "Whig Thomist" is a bit off the mark, I believe. Perhaps "Bush Thomist" or "Rove Thomist" would be more on point. Truth be known you could remove the "Thomist" part altogether and the definition wouldn't suffer one iota. But if we must insist on labels - with which I think Rowland does poorly indeed - how about Catholic for the Schindler crowd and Catholican for Neuhaus, Weigel and company. That feels better to me.

John Lowell