Main Content

Abstracts (fall 2006)

The Metaphysical Basis of the Difference between Men and Women
Francesca Murphy
King's College, University of Aberdeen

Trinitarian love is the basis of the male-female distinction. This makes drama the mediating analogy between anthropology and theology. The 'drama' of the intratrinitarian relations need not be conceived melodramatically, as relationships of power and submission, since persons are not only fallen but also redeemed. Unlike melodramatic characters, who are either victims or villains, characters in tragic and comic drama are many-sided, just as there are many ways of being male and female. A tragedy like King Lear provides an analogy for what masculinity and femaleness might be like within God; Lear is a father who wills to become vulnerable.


What Difference Does A Description Make?
Some concerns about Francesca Murphy's
"The Metaphysical Basis of the Difference Between Men and Women"
Agnes B. Curry
Saint Joseph's College (Conn.)

Sexual differentiation is a feature of our world and human life that is of great interest to some theorists and should be of interest to more. For those who see such differentiation in a positive light, and not merely as a limitation, grounding sexual difference in a metaphysical-theological framework, such as Trinitarian theology, is quite tempting. But such a project has many pitfalls; the impetus to hasty description and elevation of social prejudices to metaphysical truths is almost overwhelming. The essay tracks some of these pitfalls as they occur in Murphy's paper and in the works of her main inspirations, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Pope John Paul II.

Saint Anselm's Fides Quaerens Intellectum as a Model for Christian Philosophy
Gregory B. Sadler
Ball State University

The paper discusses Anselm's thought as Christian philosophy in light of positions developed during the 1930s French debates about Christian philosophy, specifically the complementary positions of Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain. I argue that, understood by reference to the frameworks of Gilson's early (1931-33) position and Maritain's position, Anselm's thought would not only be a Christian philosophy but also a model of Christian philosophy. Gilson's later (1934-37) position, however, held that Anselm's thought should not be considered to be Christian philosophy. I argue that his later position has several weaknesses, and that his first position provides the more adequate assessment of Anselm.