Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Milbank & Pickstock - radio interviews

Following some appreciative feedback on the YouTube John Milbank lecture, I thought I’d share with you an in depth interview with Milbank and Catherine Pickstock on the Radical Orthodoxy movement that was initiated by Milbank’s book Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (1990) The basic idea of the book is that modern social thought rests on a misguided voluntarist theology that triumphed with the breakdown of the participation metaphysic of Aquinas.

Milbank says that Duns Scotus was mistaken in teaching that God is the supreme “being” among many beings, in contrast with Aquinas for whom God is “Being itself.” Scotus thought he was making God more easy to understand, but, according to Milbank, his ideas have had negative consequences for Western thought ever since. God came to be seen as a distant Will that, while responsible for creating the cosmos and occasionally intervening in “nature”, was no longer necessary in order to explain the cosmos. Consequently the self-enclosed mechanism of nature as modern science understands it has not needed God. With Reason no longer naturally finding its completeness in God, Faith and Reason split.

Milbank, Pickstock and their collaborators in the Radical Orthodoxy movement seek to bring back the all-encompassing relevance of God by re-designating him as “Being itself.” All things participate and find their meaning in him. So they work to restore the Christian participation metaphysic supported by Aquinas. As the interview indicates, the Church as a cosmic community is crucial, and the Liturgy is the highest activity in the cosmos since it is the act through which all things find their consummation in God. Indeed, Pickstock, whose book is After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy, says that it is through the Liturgy that we become fully alive. Hence, a life centered on the Eucharist is the most rational and complete way of living.

Enjoy the interview!

Click HERE to listen.


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