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    Repetition and Mythos: Ratzinger’s Bonaventure and the Meaning of History

    Boulter, Matthew R. (2020) Repetition and Mythos: Ratzinger’s Bonaventure and the Meaning of History. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Writing his Habilitationsschrift as a young man in the late 1950’s, future Pontiff Joseph Ratzinger opined that, when St. Bonaventure composed his Collationes in Hexaëmeron in the spring of 1273, not since St. Augustine’s De Civitate Dei contra Paganos had the world seen such a ground-breaking work on the logos of history. Indeed, Ratzinger has much in common with his thirteenth-century predecessor: both led tumultuous lives intellectually and practically, lives which demanded prudence in the extreme. Such vicissitudes, in fact, impacted and shaped their respective theologies of history in riveting ways. Both, moreover, faced challenges coming from both science and novel eschatologies. At issue in Bonaventure’s historical work is the widespread assumption, rooted in the newly “rediscovered” Aristotle, that history is unintelligible. For Bonaventure, deeply committed to historia salutis narrated in Scripture, this stance is however unacceptable. Here I show how mythos mediates the difference between science and history, yielding a non-positivistic approach to history. But this history: is it static or progressive? Building on the dynamics of Plato’s Divided Line, I show that the days of creation, narrated by Bonaventure, structure both history and thought. Progressive though it be, on this journey the destination nevertheless returns back to its origin in a non-identical repetition ending on a higher plane. Yet the journey, crucially, must encompass the dimension of human affect, for both thinkers insist that, in order to reach our divine destination, our passions must be transfigured. In the end these common features of mind and history must apply to the whole, on the largest possible scale. If history is a story, it has beginning and eschatological end. In the spirit of Bonaventure and Ratzinger, I insist that history and hence eschatology, finally, have a recognizable form. What is the logos of history? It turns out that it is mythos.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Repetition; Mythos; Ratzinger’s Bonaventure; Meaning of History;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Philosophy
    Item ID: 13540
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 11:24
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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