PhD, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
- Systematic Theology
STL, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley
MA, MDiv, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley
BA, University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara
One of my fundamental interests in teaching is to bring my students to recognize fundamental philosophical and theological principles, and to learn to think from those principles, so that they are able to "see the forest instead of all the little trees" in their theological endeavors. In other words, my attempt is to mentor my students in a way that they learn to think theologically. I have a secondary interest as well: the primary way in which I learn is from teaching, as I regularly come to see things in new ways through my class preparations, and through actually thinking through crucial ideas with my students time and again. I have long had a penchant also for what I consider to be the really core questions of human and Christian life, such as those concerned with basic moral principles (freedom, responsibility, intentionality, and the relation between who we are and what we do), as well as the fundamental principles of Christology: just who really is Jesus Christ in relation to God and to us, and how can the brutal death of an innocent man somehow be understood as salvific for all human beings, without glorifying suffering or making the Father a murderer (or at least a consequentialist!). I am also very concerned with how we, today, can translate the great Christian theological tradition into terms that our contemporaries find intelligible, cogent and salvific; in other words, how we can carry forth the development of doctrine in our own period of history.
Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of my inspirations: heir to a vibrant Christian theological faith tradition, and one of the great geniuses of the Western world, he nonetheless actively searched for knowledge wherever he thought he might find it: in "pagan" Greeks such as Aristotle, or Islamic thinkers such as Avicenna. I think that it never occurred to him to be afraid of the errors he might find in these (shocking) sources, because he believed at the core of his being that truth would ultimately vindicate itself, because God is the Truth. He also understood that the path of human beings toward the truth is inevitably through narrow and partial perspectives, and mostly through error, in the sense that many mistakes are made along that path; Aquinas chose not to dwell on the mistakes, however, but on where the path was leading. Hence he was always open to learning something new, including from his own mistakes and those of others, and willing also to take intellectual "risks" along the path of truth. We must do the same.
Ever since I took a basic music appreciation course in college I have enjoyed listening to classical music, particularly Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, Brahms, and Chopin; I particularly enjoy the intimate emotions of chamber music, and hold the late quartets and sonatas of Beethoven in the highest regard. On a totally different note, I also enjoy pouring over maps and globes, coming better to understand the geography of the world in which we live.
I am a member of Catholic Theological Society of America.
Contemporary Christology (ST-3115)
Interpretive Theological Application (ST-3720)
The Passion of the Western Mind (STPH-2045)
Revelation and Experience: An Analysis of the Theories of George Tyrrell, Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, and Thomas Aquinas (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1986).
"Salvation "Thanks to" or "In Spite of" the Cross?" In New Blackfriars 93 (2011): 572-79.
"The Intractably Hard Cases of Lethal Defense of Life: Continuing Reflections on Praeter Intentionem." In Angelicum 87 (2010): 273-282.)
"Clericalism and the Religious Life." In Review for Religious 66 (June, 2007): 248-64.
"Life, Death, and Resurrection." In The Parable: Dominican Theological Reflections for the 21st Century (Spring, 2006): 17-19.
"Can Effects That Are Inevitable and Instrumental Be Praeter Intentionem? Another Look at Aquinas' Understanding of Sit Proportionatus Fini. " In Angelicum 82 (2005): 77‑88.
Edited Journal Issue: Listening 39 (2004). "Introduction:" 370-2.
"The Good that We Intend versus the Evil that we Do: An Old but Revealing Case". In Listening 39 (2004): 398‑406.
"Between Fideism and Reductionism: Jean Porter on the NL" In Irish Theological Quarterly 68 (2003): 163-169.
"Goodness and Rightness Ten Years Later: A Look Back at James Keenan and his Critics." In American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (2003): 535-48.
"Five Tensions in the Moral Life." Doctrine and Life 53:1 (January, 2003): 37-55.
"Between the Scylla and Charybdis of Faith and Fact." Logos 5:4 (Fall, 2002): 109-123.
"The Good that We Intend, and the Evil that We Do. A New Look at Praeter Intentionem in Aquinas." Angelicum 79 (2002): 839-54.
"Liberalism and Conservatism: At the Intersection of Faith and Temperament" In Review for Religious 61 (August, 2002): 419-29.
"Two Unresolved Issues for the Third Millenium." In New Blackfriars 82 (2001): 177-181.
"Questing for Jesus: Need We Continue?" In Doctrine and Life 50:12 (December, 2001): 590-604.
"The Tension Between Individual and Political Ethics: Morality, Abortion, and Public Policy in the Contemporary United States." In Linacre Quarterly 66 (1996): 14-22.
"Aquinas, Veritatis Splendor, and Contemporary Moral Theology." In Listening 30 (1995): 50-63
" 'Christology from Above' and "Christology from Below'." In The Thomist 51 (1987): 299-306.
"Meister Eckhardt and St. John of the Cross: Perspectives and Contrasts." In Review for Religious 46 (1987): 612-19.
Aquinas and His Role in Theology, by Marie‑Dominic Chenu, O.P. In Horizons 30 (Spring, 2002).
Christ the 'Name' of God: Thomas Aquinas on Naming Christ, by Henk J. M. Schoot. In The Thomist 59:3 (July, 1995).
Born Before All Time: The Dispute over Christ's Origin, by Karl-Josef Kuschel. In The Thomist 58:4 (October, 1994).
The Passion of the Western Mind, by Richard Tarnas. In The Thomist 57:3 (July, 1993).
Christology and Spirituality, by William M. Thompson. In The Thomist 57:1 (January, 1993)
Toward an American Catholic Moral Theology, by Charles Curran. In The Thomist 52:4 (October, 1988)