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Title: Herbert McCabe : recollecting a fragmented legacy
Author: Manni, Cosimo Franco
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 1052
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The first purpose of my dissertation is to present McCabe's theological and philosophical thought in a systematic way. In fact, this author treated many and various subjects, but rarely within extended and articulated studies, because he was more a speaker than a writer and expounded his thought in a fragmented way (as for the contents) and a scattered way (as for its publication). Those scholars who commented on his thought have done this in a similarly fragmented and scattered way. I achieve this purpose by presenting the completeness, complexity and systematic connectedness of his 1) philosophical theology, 2) philosophy of human beings and 3) revealed theology. A second purpose is to study the peculiar features of McCabe's Thomism, and the sources of his thought in 20th century history of philosophy. I achieve this purpose tracing his Thomism back to P. Sertillanges, E. Gilson an d V. White, that is, to 'existential' Thomists and their 'apophatic' philosophical theology. As I also show, apophaticism in turn facilitated his encounter with Wittgenstein's philosophy via the Oxford analytical Thomists and Anthony Kenny. My research thus fills two gaps present in the current not so rich literature on McCabe: the lack of a systematic treatment of his theological and philosophical works; and the lack of a historiographical characterization of his works. In addition, I present some of the findings of my detailed study of his intellectual legacy in today's theologians and philosophers, a study that is completely new in the scholarship. An in depth review of all his writings demonstrates that his work as a philosopher (including his philosophical theology) was much more important for him than his work on revealed theology. To be a great theologian you need, at least, a thick, continuous and passionate dialogue with the theologians that have come before you. This was eminently the gift of Henry de Lubac, not of Herbert McCabe. The gift of the latter was a mastery of philosophical reasoning that I do not find in any other philosopher of the second half of the 20 th century, apart from Karl R. Popper. In particular, I investigate and critically present every part of his philosophical theology which till today has been treated only in a most incomplete and sketchy way by the scholarship. Also, I investigate and critically present his philosophical anthropology, which tends to be ignored by the philosophers and anthropologists of today, I suggest, for the very reason that they are not able to understand it, since they are unable to adequately understand its sources: whereas it is the most original achievement of McCabe, fully capable of integrating Aquinas, Darwin, de Saussure, Wittgenstein and Konrad Lorentz. I identify two red threads flowing throughout his works, two strong messages that McCabe handed down to the theologians of today: a pervasive apophaticism strongly rooted in reason and void of any mysticism, and a tragic interpretation of human life. My research is informed by my interviews and email exchanges with people who knew him and his works well: David Burrell, Terry Eagleton, Alasdair McIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, Denys Turner, Brian Davies, Simon Gaine, Timothy Radcliffe, Richard Conrad, Robert Ombres, Peter Hunter and Fergus Kerr.
Supervisor: Ticciati, Susannah ; Davies, Oliver Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available