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The Catholic Studies Reader$
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James T. Fisher and Margaret M. McGuinness

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234103

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234103.001.0001

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The Catholic Intellectual Tradition

The Catholic Intellectual Tradition

A Classification and a Calling

(p.43) 2 The Catholic Intellectual Tradition
The Catholic Studies Reader



Fordham University Press

The public perception of Catholicism does not always incline toward a scholastic tradition. For some, the Catholic intellectual tradition is the most engaging aspect of the religious heritage, boasting such famed thinkers as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. For others, the combination of “Catholic” and “intellectual” yields little more than a paradox. Depending on whom you ask both inside and outside the faith, the Catholic intellectual tradition can seem a vital and lasting part of this religion or a nonsensical contradiction of terms. Is there Catholic intellectualism? Is it a religious practice? How does intellectual work function within ecclesiastical structures? This chapter explores the Catholic intellectual tradition from Augustine through Thomas Aquinas. It envisions Catholic Studies as a mode of encounter with these canonical authors marked by openness and intellectual charity, driven by concerns of the present but engaged with the very different horizons of authors past.

Keywords:   Catholicism, Catholic Studies, intellectual tradition, intellectualism, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine

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