The Franciscan Order’s intellectual tradition rests on St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bonaventure and Bl. John Duns Scotus said a professor from St. Paul’s Seminary on Tuesday in the Gentile Gallery.
Jared Isaac Goff, who holds a doctorate in historical theology, identified these three “pillars” during a talk titled “The Center Does Hold: The ‘Franciscan Intellectual Tradition’: Context, Continuities, and Provocations.”
Goff said that Bonaventure and Scotus are the fathers of the Franciscan intellectual tradition, similar to how St. Thomas Aquinas fathered the Dominican intellectual tradition.
He said that Christ is at the center of Franciscan theology and philosophy, citing Bonaventure’s belief that “Christ is our metaphysics.”
To demonstrate how Franciscan thinking meshes with the order’s charisms, Goff noted the Franciscan belief of “primacy of charity in divine activity.” By seeing Christ as the synthesis of theology and metaphysics, Franciscans believe that one comes to see the saving, redeeming actions of God, which are charity, said Goff.
He made a further distinction within the idea of salvation and redemption. Goff said that the three “pillars,” especially Scotus, noted a significant difference between redemption and salvation.
The Rev. Dan Pattee, TOR, said that this distinction was perfectly in harmony with the Gospels, noting a “redemption of purgation” and a “salvation of growth in love through glorification.” In other words, he said that redemption merely absolves sins, while salvation invites us to partake in the loving communion of the Trinity.
Throughout his talk, Goff said that Bonaventure and Scotus complement each other. He said that Scotus refined and perfected Bonaventure’s philosophy, elaborating on the point that Christ was formed by God’s charity, ultimately revealing that Christians are called to use that same charity to bring Christ to the world.
After the talk, graduate student Tyson Murphy said that Goff’s speech was critical for him since he is discerning joining the Franciscan Friars TOR.
Freshman James Mellow also offered his thoughts on the talk.
“The Franciscans saw theology and academics as practical,” said Mello.
He continued, “It was interesting to see how tradition (influenced) academics at this university.”
Goff holds master’s degrees in both philosophy and theology. He offers a unique perspective because he converted to the Ruthenian Rite in 2004. Currently, Goff teaches at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh.