seminario istituto3

Trinitarian Ontology amid philosophy and theology

Tracing the footsteps of Klaus Hemmerle, a breakthrough philosopher


“Trinitarische Ontologie zwischen Philosophie und Theologie. Auf der Spur von Klaus Hemmerle der Grenzgänger”


International Seminar organised by the IUS Department of Trinitarian Ontology

At the “Chiara Lubich Mariapolis Centre,” in Cadine (Trent) – 14/16 December 2014


The second part of the programme was dedicated to the in-depth study of the existential and philosophical heritage of Klaus Hemmerle, outstanding theologian, philosopher, bishop, and above all, “disciple of the charism of unity” – as he used to describe himself - and who Chiara Lubich considered as one of the co-founders of the Focolare Movement, having contributed in a decisive manner to focusing contemporary debate on the theological, philosophical and trans-disciplinary impact of that specific relational ontology of the Trinity.


The first part, dedicated to Hemmerle, the Spiritual person, took place at the Ecumenical Centre of Ottmaring in Germany in April. The third, dedicated to the ecclesiastical figure of Hemmerle will be held in Dortmund next February. In Trent, the seminar highlighted the figure of Hemmerle, the philosopher.


The original plan on this occasion was to gather just around 30 scholars. In reality, the number of people who signed up grew rapidly, leading to a total number of more than 70 participants, with students and professors of Sophia and the theologian, Piero Coda, some professors from Trent, Austria, Spain and Poland, a young professor who came on purpose from Argentina, some doctorate graduates from Milan’s S. Raffaele University with the philosopher, Massimo Donà, and from the University of Santa Croce in Rome with the theologian, Giulio Maspero, besides Wilfried Hagemann, Herbert Laurenroth and Franz Sedlmeier from the Ottmaring Centre, and many others.


What made the initiative an attractive event was the fact that, years ago, Piero Coda  was asked to coordinate the group production of an encyclopaedic dictionary of Trinitarian Ontology, edited simultaneously in various languages, to offer an authoritative reference point for this very fertile and promising line of thought. Once the scientific committee was formed, the Trent Seminar had to offer a work method and create the ideal setting that would allow all to penetrate that “place” as the only setting where the exercise of Trinitarian Ontology amid theology and philosophy is possible.


Some citations of Klaus Hemmerle (dated Christmas 1993) recalled by Piero Coda in his first lecture, was an important start: «While I was out for a walk during my holidays in the Alps, I suddenly had the impression that the sun had dropped into the valley. Its light embraced the landscape not from above and from the extern, but shone from beneath and from within, and the mountains, trails and water blazed with the sun within and beneath them. Recently I came across a crèche, in which the source of light was the child. Yes, this is what Christmas means, seeing people, things, and life, in the light of that Sun immersed in us, to make it glow from within and below, in the tiny, daily things of life, of God among us.»


In this perspective, the Seminar aimed not only to launch a thematic, but also, and above all, a set a “friendly” opening. The three intense and luminous days proceeded from there on, and were full of surprises, dialogue and work threads for the future. It was practically impossible to summarise the array of ideas that arose along the way, not to mention the thoughts of authoritative figures of theology and philosophy who, throughout history, had sensed the urgent need to change the paradigm of the concept of being according to the Trinitarian point of view: Gregory of Nazianzus and Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas and  Bonaventura from Bagnoregio, Hegel and Schelling, Rosmini, Solov’ev and Florenskij, Bulgakov and Karsavin, and Guardini and Rosenzweig.


Also the speeches of the youth (the majority) were deep and passionate and brought hope for the future of research, as Kurt Appel of Vienna stressed. Each day ended also with precious moments of art and sharing with a piano concert offered by the Trent Conservatory, an unforgettable tribute by Wilfried Hagemann, with photos and poems of Bishop Hemmerle.


In the last session’s framework, in underpinning the liberal plurality of research trails, Lubomir Žák (from the Lateran Pontifical University), on behalf of those present, submitted to Sophia’s Trinitarian Ontology Department the revised edition of the new encyclopaedic dictionary, in total openness – in the words of Piero Coda – towards the queries Trinitarian ontology is called to answer today, to serve humanity.


The next steps are precisely: the publication of the Acts of the Seminar and a new translation into Italian of Hemmerle’s thesis, “Thesen zu einer trinitarischen Ontologie” (1976) interfaced with a critique and the original text. In April 2015 the scholars will meet again in Milan, for a new seminar on “The Fathers of the Church and Trinitarian Ontology.”


Author: Redazione Web
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