27 July 2020

Dooyeweerd's Encyclopedia

I have just finished reading Herman Dooyeweerd's Encyclopedia of the Science of Law: Series A, Volume 8/1: Introduction. Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) was a Christian philosopher who taught at the Free University of Amsterdam from 1926 to 1965. He was a prolific scholar and writer who founded a unique philosophical school known as the Philosophy of the Law-Idea (De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee), or the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea. His major contribution to philosophy consisted in demonstrating that the pretended autonomy of philosophical thought is in reality nothing of the sort. All theoretical thought has its own religious starting point in naive experience, and to claim otherwise is to fall prey to dogmatism. For this reason, Dooyeweerd believed that the only way forward in the ongoing conversation between different philosophical schools was for their adherents to examine their own "Archimedean point," that is, the pre-theoretical standpoint from which they develop their theories. This requires a degree of self-knowledge that cannot be acquired through theory itself. Such self-knowledge is the purpose of his transcendental critique of theoretical thought.

13 July 2020

Ubi Caritas et Amor

This is an incomparably beautiful performance of the ancient Latin chant, Ubi Caritas, sung in a stairwell, of all places. I could listen to this all day and never tire of it.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Christ’s love has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice and be pleased in him.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And may we love each other with a sincere heart.

09 July 2020

M Elaine Botha (1938-2020)

This week we bid a reluctant farewell to Elaine Botha, a friend and former colleague whom I had known for many years. A native of South Africa, she taught philosophy for much of her career at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, later serving as vice president (academic) and professor of philosophy at Redeemer University College, where I knew her best.

I first met Elaine in the mid-1980s at the University of Notre Dame, where I was a PhD student. She was there for a sabbatical year, and we both worshipped at the same church. During that time we got to know each other, renewing our friendship when she came to Canada more than a decade later. Among other things, she had two earned doctorates, in cultural studies and in philosophy of the social sciences, the latter of which came from the Free University of Amsterdam. Her major field of interest was metaphor, on which she published prolifically.

Late in life she married Bob Goudzwaard, the Dutch political economist and one time member of parliament who is a major influence on my own thinking, particularly with respect to understanding the nature of political ideologies. They lived in retirement in South Africa until her passing.

Here is a link to her page at All of Life Redeemed. We who loved her will miss her, but not as those without hope. May she rest in peace until the resurrection.


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