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    Princeton Initiative in Catholic Thought

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    Lectures & Seminars

    In the 2020-21 academic year, PICT will sponsor two courses in the fall and one in the spring. In the fall, Director Christopher-Marcus Gibson will offer the freshman seminar for its second year, Happiness & Being Human in Catholic Thought, and Professor Lara Buchak will offer an upper level undergraduate course on faith and knowledge of God. In the spring, Daniel Rubio, postdoctoral research associate in Philosophy and Religion, will offer an upper level undergraduate course on God and Human Nature in Catholic Thought.

    Happiness & Being Human in Catholic Thought

    Instructor: Christopher-Marcus Gibson
    Semester: Fall, 2021

    A freshman seminar offering an introduction to the Catholic intellectual tradition of reflection on the nature of happiness and its connection to what it means to be human. The course begins with a brief overview of the encounter between Greek philosophy and Christian revelation, followed by careful reading and discussion of key texts by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Pascal, Matthias Scheeben, and Henri de Lubac. Throughout, the seminar keeps central the fundamental ethical question, “How should I live?” and the difference that Catholic understandings make when posing this question and proposing answers to it.

    Syllabus

    Inaugural Maritain Lecture
    (Denys Turner)

    Lecturer: Denys Turner
    Semester: Spring, 2021

    On April 7th, 2021, Professor Denys Turner (Yale, Princeton) delivered the Inaugural Jacques Maritain Lecture, “Reason & the Mystical.” Professor Turner reflected on the implications of Maritain’s work of epistemology, The Degrees of Knowledge, for the place of theology in the contemporary university. In Professor Turner’s words:

    In his Degrees of Knowledge Jacques Maritain combined an account of the principles of knowledge generally with a large reflection on the mysticism of John of the Cross. For reasons that have emerged in more recent literatures, both of the mystical and of the rational, this project has come to seem impossible to replicate. But there are good reasons for trying again to repeat Maritain’s project, for there are in pre-modern traditions accounts of the rational and of the mystical that do not set them at odds, and these reasons are recoverable within projects and problems of our own times.

    Denys Turner is Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology at Yale University and Visiting Faculty at Princeton University.

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    Maritain Lecture: “How Not to Naturalize Death.” (Paul J. Griffiths)

    Lecturer: Paul J. Griffiths
    Semester: TBD

    A conceptual analysis of what the thought that kinds of creatures have natures does to our understandings of death. Before retiring from university life in 2017, Paul J. Griffiths held the Warren Chair of Catholic Theology at the Duke University Divinity School.

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    Testimonial

    I am thrilled to see an organization like the Princeton Initiative in Catholic Thought take up the work of communicating and contributing to the resources of Catholic thought right in the middle of the academic world. More than ever, we need the Initiative’s work to prepare a place for students and academics interested in Catholic thought to thrive and share these intellectual treasures with the world. I’m confident that work will continue to bear fruit abundantly.

    - Student