Boyle gives 31st Aquinas lecture – ‘We are grateful for the straw’

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Alexa Turczynski, Contributing Writer

 

Dr. John F. Boyle, professor of theology and Catholic studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., was the speaker for the University of Dallas Philosophy Department’s 31st Annual Aquinas Lecture.
Boyle has attended various conferences at UD, and his son Jack is a recent UD graduate. Boyle holds degrees from the University of Toronto and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.
Aside from delivering this year’s lecture at UD, Boyle has also given the Aquinas Lecture at the University of Ireland, Thomas Aquinas College, and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He is best-known for his work on a previously unrecognized text written by St. Thomas Aquinas.
With the help of Fr. Leonard Boyle, he edited and prepared the lectura romana, which led him to a deeper appreciation of Aquinas as a person, and not merely a system to be understood.
The Aquinas Lecture, usually held on St. Thomas Aquinas’s feast day, Jan. 28, provides an opportunity “to develop contemporary Catholic thought in close dialogue with the tradition,” as stated in the philosophy department newsletter.
Through the lecture, students, faculty and alumni are able to engage in discussion with a Thomist speaker from outside UD.
Before the lecture, Philosophy professor Dr. Philipp Rosemann presented Boyle with the Aquinas Medal, a prestigious award meant to celebrate his endeavors in the field of philosophy.
Rosemann also announced that this would be the first of the Aquinas lectures to be published. St. Augustine’s Press will be publishing the lectures from now on as a series of small books.
Boyle began his lecture, titled “Master Thomas and the Fullness of Life,” by comparing teachers to friends: some we relate to instantly, and others take time to appreciate. He explained that his relationship to Aquinas was one of the latter, but that it grew to be something much more. Boyle concluded his talk by turning to Aquinas’s famous statement that all that he had written was but straw. He commented that we, small as we are, “are grateful for the straw.”
Sophomore philosophy major Anthony Carona appreciated Boyle’s understanding of Aquinas as more than a system.
“There were no contentious arguments,” Carona said. “It’s easy to read Aquinas and see what [Boyle] was saying.”

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