Seeing Double

Abstract
This essay focuses on three interpretations of Aquinas influenced by Continental philosophy, those of John Caputo, Jean-Luc Marion, and John Milbank/Catherine Pickstock. The essay considers the well-worn question, whether Aquinas is an onto-theologian in Heidegger’s sense, but looks more broadly at the point of contact common to these interpretations: Aquinas’s relationship to modernity.As Continental thought has put into question the nature of philosophy through a critical look at modern philosophy—questioning its self-representation as progress and characterizing the present as post-modern—Aquinas is of interest to Continental thought in his anti-modernity. The author considers three issues: (1) What does Continental philosophy bring to the study of Aquinas missing from analytic approaches? (2) What is highlighted about Aquinas as he is seen by Caputo, Marion, and Milbank/Pickstock? (3) Can Aquinas escape both the limitations of modernism and the deconstruction of postmodernism, as some claim, and would he want to?
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