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Seen but Not Heard: The Face of Univocity

Sat, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Palmer House Hilton, Seventh Floor, Clark 3

Abstract

Those who lay blame for the origin of modernity upon univocal predication have been faced with significant challenges. “The doctrine of univocity is a semantic doctrine,” insists Thomas Williams. John Duns Scotus, furthermore, made precisely the claim his recent critics accuse him of neglecting: “God and creatures are… totally distinct in reality, because they share in no reality.” This paper therefore recuses Duns Scotus and shifts the conversation to art history by examining images of the first person of the Trinity that were concomitant with theology’s late medieval mood. Images of the Father painted by Giotto de Bondone, the Subtle Doctor’s exact contemporary, more effectively conveyed the “domestication of transcendence” that critics of univocity rightly perceive. And while Brad Gregory admits that arguments for univocity “belonged to the stratosphere of high intellectual culture,” images of the Father had no such limitation. Ensuing Christian divisions, furthermore, rendered their correction impossible.

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