Research Projects

Love (the primary project)

A long term project to study the psychology of love and its elevation in the mystery of charity, which the tradition describes as an infused theological virtue.  The project has three areas of focus: history, science and literature

  • History of Love
    1. Friendship with God: this area of research studies the Patristic and Medieval analysis of the biblical affirmations concerning friendship with God as affirmed in passages such as Exodus 33.11, Wisdom 7.14, 27, John 15.15, and James 2.23. The research gives specific attention to the way Patristic and Medieval authors employ Greek and Latin philosophical analysis of friendship, especially Aristotle and Cicero, to develop their theologies of friendship with God, theologies that culminate in Thomas Aquinas’ assertion that the theological virtue of charity is itself a form of friendship with God. One goal of this research is to produce a monograph entitled: Friendship with God: Theological Reflections on the Pedagogy of Divine Intimacy.

    2. Augustine’s theology of charity: this area of research studies the evolution of Augustine of Hippo’s understanding of charity’s act, focusing on how Augustine shifts from a focus on charity as a desire for God toward a conception of charity that portrays its primary act as a form of well-wishing (benevolentia), noting also his attempt to develop a notion of love as principle of action.  This research gives special attention to the way Augustine becomes less Neo-Platonic in his portrayal of love as he deepens his understanding of the biblical account of charity, especially the affirmation in 1 John (4.8, 16) that God is love. One goal of this research is to produce a monograph entitled: Augustine on Love: the Evolution of His Thought.

    3. Thomas Aquinas’ theology of charity: this area of research studies the evolution of Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of charity’s relationship to knowledge and his integration of the Aristotle’s philosophy of friendship into his definition of charity.  One of the fruits of this research has been to underline the importance of Aquinas’ adoption of Aristotle’s little-known definition of friendship love (philia) advanced in Rhetoric (2.4).  When studied in relationship to the Twelfth Century controversies concerning charity, Aquinas’ use of Aristotle can be seen as providing Medieval theology a decisive solution to a controversy that raged for over a century. More research still needs to be done, however, to understand the full context and implications of Aquinas’ innovations.  One goal of this project is to produce a monograph entitled Thomas Aquinas on Love: the Evolution of His Thought.
  • Science of Love

    This area of research engages contemporary research in the biopsychosocial sciences and in contemporary philosophy concerning the psychology of love to consider the extent to which this research can deepen and advance the renewal of the theology of love developed by Thomas Aquinas and the Thomistic Tradition.  It also seeks to consider the ways in which the thought of Thomas Aquinas can deepen and advance the goals of contemporary research in philosophy and the biopsychosocial sciences to provide an adequate account of human love in all its complexity.

  • Literature of Love

    This area of research applies insights from ordinary language philosophy to analyze English language literary works (poems, plays, novels, and short stories) drawn from every stage of this literature’s history, from its beginnings in Saxon poetic epic to the contemporary fine writing traditions in Britain’s former colonies.  From Beowulf to Ballard, Langland to Lawrence and Chaucer to Chandler, this project seeks to understand the various and complex meanings of love in English language literature as it has evolved over the centuries in an attempt to identifies the continuities in the midst of change.

Virtue

A long term project to study the analogous meanings of the term virtue.  This project is undertaken in continuity with the work of Servais Pinckaers and other previous holders of the Chair in Fundamental Moral Theology who were dedicated to the renewal of moral theology.  The focus of this research is twofold: on the relationship between acquired and infused virtues and the analogous meanings of habitus proper to each form of virtue.  One long term goal of this project is the publication of a monograph entitled Christian Virtue: An Introduction.

Jazz

This project, undertaken in collaboration with Russell Gloyd, is dedicated to creating a catalogue of the numerous religious works of Dave Brubeck and to undertaking a comprehensive but introductory analysis of them.  One goal of the project is the publication of a monograph entitled Jazz Returns to Church: the Religious Works of Dave Brubeck.