In 'Theologizing Friendship', the author aims to revitalize Jean Leclercq's defense of monastic theology, while expanding and qualifying some of the central theses expounded in Leclercq's magisterial 'The Love of Learning and the Desire for God'. The current work contributes to a revised and updated status quaestionis concerning the theological relationship between classical monasticism and scholasticism, construed in more systematic and speculative terms than those of Leclercq, rendered here through the lens of friendship as a theological topos. The work shares with Ivan Illich's 'In the Vineyard of the Text' the conviction that the rise of the Schools (Paris, Oxford, etc.) constitutes one of the greatest intellectual watersheds in the history of Western civilization: where Illich's ruminations are largely philosophical and particularly epistemological, the author's are theological and metaphysical.
In his novel proposal that within the monastic and scholastic milieux there obtain parallel threefold analogies among friendship, reading, and theology, the author not only offers an original contribution to current scholarship, but gestures towards avenues for institutional self-examination much needed by the contemporary - modern and postmodern - Academy.
Nathan Lefler is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Scranton, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on friendship, worship, and the rudiments of the Christian Tradition.
Foreword Preface Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction 1 Differences Between the More Experiential Approach of Monastic Theology and the More Conceptual Approach of Scholastic Theology 2 The Theological Account of Friendship in Aelered of Rievaulx 3 The Theological Account of Friendship in Thomas Aquinas 4 Aelred and Thomas Compared: Analysis, Conclusions, Final Speculations Selected Bibliography