This Sunday afternoon I am delivering a lecture for the Chicago chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society. If you live in the greater Chicago area and have nothing planned for Sunday October 17th from 2:00–4:00pm, come to the Assembly Hall at Immaculate Conception Church at 7211 West Talcott Ave in Chicago (at the intersection of Harlem St).
The lecture is titled: “Thomas Merton the ‘Dunce:’ Identity, Incarnation and the Not So Subtle Influence of John Duns Scotus.”
The Chicago Chapter of the ITMS posted the following information in anticipation of my presentation. Please come and join us:
The influence of key figures in the early life of Thomas Merton, such as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and Columbia University professor Daniel Walsh, has been observed and studied for many decades. However, there is a significant thread of theological and philosophical contiguous insight that has been largely overlooked, both in its direct influence and its more indirect or subtle influence through these two intellectual and spiritual guides. The missing link of continuity is the medieval Franciscan thinker John Duns Scotus. Renown for his theological and philosophical originality, his logical and nuanced approach to complicated metaphysical questions and his difficult-to-penetrate work, Scotus – known as the Subtle Doctor – was a thinker that captured the attention of the young Thomas Merton and remained present in the background of his thought and writings until his death. This lecture will present two major themes in the writing of Merton in light of their resemblance and likely indebtedness to the original work of John Duns Scotus; namely, the True Self and the Incarnation. In addition to being another infrequently considered dimension of Merton’s Franciscan impulse, the influence of Scotus in the 20th Century monk’s work can help us appreciate Merton’s innovative spirituality even more. Perhaps like Merton we too can be numbered among the dunces of history, that is, in its original meaning – a follower of the school of Scotus.
“Dan Horan is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province (NY) and a member of both the International Thomas Merton Society and the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland. A former Daggy Scholar, he is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (NY) and the Washington Theological Union (DC). His work has been published in journals such as America, The Merton Annual, The Merton Journal (UK), The Merton Seasonal, Heythrop Journal, Review for Religious, Spiritual Life, The Cord and others. He has delivered papers at the general meeting for the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland as well as the Eleventh Conference of the International Thomas Merton Society (2009). He has also delivered invited public lectures on Merton in Boston and Washington, DC. Dan will begin teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at Siena College (NY) in Fall 2010. It is a privilege for the Chicago Chapter-ITMS to offer this presentation by an outstanding young Merton scholar.”
The church is less than a half mile north of the Kennedy Express (I-90) Harlem exit in the Norwood Park neighborhood. Signs will be posted, and there is ample free parking. Presentations are followed by a question & answer period. Freewill donation (suggested amount, $6). Refreshments provided. For more information or to RSVP, contact Chapter Coordinator Mike Brennan at 773-447-3989.
Also, for additional information about this lecture and upcoming lectures, visit: The Chicago ITMS Blog