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Herbert Mccabe

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Herbert McCabe and What Faith Is and Isn’t

One of the greatest Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century was Fr. Herbert McCabe. He is also one of the most underappreciated. Though he was a Dominican and (naturally as such) greatly influenced by St. Thomas Aquinas, it is said by those who know his work best that he was rather uncomfortable being called a “Thomist.” In the words of his literary executor Brian Davies, “He had a horror of being called a ‘Thomist’” Why? Because, in a sense, he thought the only true Thomist could be Aquinas himself, and that a philosopher’s chief authority can never really be another philosopher, it can only be reason. And for the Christian philosopher, it must be reason and God—the two of which can never be in opposition. Yale theologian Denys Turner captures the essence of McCabe’s attitude when he writes, “Herbert was no ‘Thomist’ if a Thomist is someone who thinks about Thomas. He thought with Thomas.”
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