John Deely and Jacques Maritain Chair of Philosophy

From the beginning of his philosophical career, Deely has been deeply influenced by Maritain’s thought.  The John Deely and Jacques Maritain Chair provides a venue for scholars to continue working in this tradition. A providential reading of Quatre essais sur l’esprit dans sa condition charnelle and key passages in Distinguer pour unir ou les degrés du savoir gave him the direction needed for developing his doctoral dissertation, which undertook a rapprochement between the Thomistic account of esse intentionale and the problematic of Being in Heidegger’s thought.  This doctoral work eventually bore fruit in Deely’s first monograph, The Tradition via Heidegger, which he dedicated to the Maritains “at a distance” and was graced to present in person to Jacques on July 20, 1972.  This early engagement with Maritain’s thought marked the beginning of Deely’s life-long engagement with the Thomistic tradition, in which Maritain featured as his principle interlocutor and guide.

Deely, who is known internationally for his close connection to Maritain’s thought, has striven to develop the Catholic tradition in ways that meet the needs of our current age and that help to shape the future form of philosophical culture.  His advocacy of John Poinsot carries on Maritain’s own advocacy of Poinsot, whose writings are a sine qua non for understanding Maritain’s own “intellectual locale” as a Thomist.    As a result of Deely’s work, Poinsot is now recognized as a founder of the philosophical tradition (as distinguished from the literary tradition) in the contemporary interdisciplinary field of semiotics. Indeed, Maritain himself, as a consequence of such development, is recognized in this field as a major figure.

In addition to his landmark publications, Deely lectured worldwide on topics relevant to philosophical semiotics and scholastic philosophy.  He was a founding member of the American Maritain Association and a drafter of the Association’s constitution in 1977-1978. In 2009, he received this association’s “Scholarly Excellence Award.” In the same year, he received the Aquinas Medal for Excellence in Christian Philosophy from the Étienne Gilson Society.

Deely envisioned the Chair as providing a setting for continuing work in a forward-looking Thomism that is undaunted in embracing the Thomistic Commentatorial tradition that was so dear to Maritain.  The positioning of the Chair at St. Vincent College is Providential, given the Maritains’ connection to the Benedictine Order as oblates. St. Vincent College is staffed by members of St. Vincent Archabbey, which is one of the largest Catholic monasteries in the world.  The John Deely and Jacques Maritain Chair in Philosophy will enable a prayerful engagement in philosophy within the immediate context of St. Vincent’s Benedictine horarium.

St. Vincent College houses the personal library of John Deely, into which has been incorporated the Anthony F. Russell collection, together numbering over 12,000 volumes.  The collection contains a complete set of Maritain’s works (in French and English), as well as numerous secondary studies on the Maritain’s and their thought.  It also includes extensive resources in the Thomistic tradition as well as the interdisciplinary field of semiotics.  In addition to these volumes, the collection contains extensive, rare holdings from the works of Fr. Austin Woodbury, S.M., the founder of the Aquinas Academy in Sydney Australia.  A student of Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange and exponent of Maritain’s thought, Woodbury died leaving unpublished comprehensive, technical notes that recapitulate in detail Roman Thomism that formed the backbone of Maritain’s own intellectual training. These works provide a rare and incalculably important repository of Thomistic texts.

Memorial Mass for John Deely

Commemorate the Life of Dr. John N. Deely

April 26, 1942 – January 7, 2017

All are welcome to attend

Monday, May 8, 2017

Memorial Mass

11:00 a.m.

Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica

Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Luncheon to follow

Kindly respond by May, 4, 2017

(724) 805-2177 or  events@stvincent.edu

John and Brooke have established
The John Deely and Jacques Maritain Chair in Philosophy

at Saint Vincent College

Memorial Contributions are welcome and can be sent to:

Office of Institutional Advancement

Saint Vincent College

300 Fraser Purchase Road

Latrobe, PA  15650

CFP: Lex Naturalis

We are accepting proposals for the third issue of Lex Naturalis. Topics related to any issue concerning natural law will be considered, especially those related to contemporary cultural issues. Abstracts are due by March 15, 2017.  Please send to the editor, Walter Raubicheck, at wraubicheck@pace.edu.  Completed papers will be due by the end of May.

Lumen Christi Institute Summer Seminars for Graduate Students

Now in their ninth year, the Lumen Christi Institute’s Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition are open to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and other relevant areas of study. Room, board, and a travel stipend are included for those whose applications are accepted. Each seminar  includes five days of intensive discussion based on close reading of the assigned texts as well as daily presentations given by the professor and student participants. A deep knowledge of the material is not required to apply. These seminars give participants mastery over the material under discussion, both for teaching and research purposes, and also deepen participants’ understanding and awareness of the Catholic intellectual tradition. For more information and to apply visit, https://www.lumenchristi.org/programs/seminars

June 22-28

“Is God Knowable by Natural Reason? Philosophy, Theology, and Trinitarian Thought in the High Medieval Ages”

Mark Clark, Catholic University of America

Timothy B. Noone, Catholic University of America

Rome

In this seminar, scholar of medieval history Mark Clark and scholar of medieval philosophy Timothy Noone will offer an intensive survey of theological and philosophical debates about the natural knowledge of God in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Participants will read and discuss the writings Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, Bonaventure, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas as well as modern philosophical engagement with these questions.

 July 9-15

“The Thought of John Henry Newman”

Fr. Ian Ker, University of Oxford

Merton College, Oxford 

Now in its fifth consecutive year, this intensive seminar will examine Newman’s achievements as theologian, philosopher, educator, preacher, and writer. Remarkably, in each of these areas Newman produced works that have come to be recognized as classics: An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, The Grammar of Assent, The Idea of a University, The Parochial and Plain Sermons, and the Apologia Pro Vita Sua. This seminar will approach Newman’s thought through a critical engagement with these texts 

July 29-August 5

“Catholic Social Thought: A Critical Investigation”

Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa

University of California, Santa Barbara

 Now in its fourth year, this seminar will have students read, analyze, and discern continuities and discontinuities in Catholic Social Thought from the late 19th century to the present. Lectures, seminar reports, and discussion will focus on original sources (encyclicals and other magisterial documents), beginning with Rerum novarum (1892) and concluding with Caritas in veritate (2009) and Evangelii Gaudium (2013). This intensive course is multi-disciplinary, since this tradition of social thought overlaps several disciplines in the contemporary university including political science, political philosophy, law, economics, theology, and history.

RIP John Deely

John Deely died January 7, 2017. Past President Raymond Dennehy writes: 

“John was a founder and dedicated member of the American Maritain Association.  What stands out in my mind from when we first met — at the meeting in which the Maritain Association was formed — was John’s brilliant mind.  As time passed, it became increasingly clear that his brilliance embraced both a masterful ability as a translator of Latin and a luminous understanding of Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Maritain as well the discipline of Semiotics.  His books testify to his estimable scholarly and philosophical ability. His dedication and  personal authenticity will be missed.”

The Maritain Notebook will offer a full appreciation of John Deely and his work in a coming issue.