About

What this is about…? Well, let’s say we try to provide answeres where most of the time controversy hurts the people discussing and where prejudice often makes understanding impossible.

Two philosophers, one tiny flat in the middle of Protestant Rome (ie Geneva), a library of 5000+ books on medieval logic, semantics, intellect theory and the history of the western universities, paleography etc. and one blog later we’re here.

A small word on …

… God. The only thing our hearts and words should be turned to.

… Philosophy. A way of life. Not taking any quick answers. Inspiring people to reach further, get closer to what ultimately cannot be described as anything else than… the truth.

… History. A panoply of horrors and tremendous invention. The study of which justifies our being here and the whys of the whats.

Us:

Bettina: I am a devout Catholic, born in the north west of Switzerland: Basel and thus a German native speaker. I married a Southerner – from the Valais – and also devout Catholic. I turned into Philosophy because it was the dish of the day in my parent’s home and we were constantly urged to study the History of Ideas and look further into things. When during my studies I discovered that so much basic study work could be done in Medieval Philosophy I was hooked. The concept that there still is – and probably never will – be an edition of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae completely mesmerised me. I had through at that time that everything past was more or less discovered, that all ruins and texts had been found. I quickly learned that it wasn’t so and thus am now editing a text by Albertus Magnus, and preparing my PhD thesis on a quarrel on the Intellect Theory in the 13th century at the University of Paris, involving Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great and some other rather holy and unholy figures.
Faithwise I grew up in the movement of Saint Pius X and am thus considered a traditionalist. While this is still true, I have fallen out heavily with the doctrine of the leaders of this movement after Sept. 11th and the way this event was used to propagate a political agenda that had nothing to do with the faith and how I saw it. Only then did I see the poison of sectism in the movement and ended up cutting all active ties with it. I still feel like a defender of certain traditions, but my marriage and with J’s help I have found my way back into the Modern Church. Not so much internally, but spiritually. Being attacked for what you believe in from the Church as it is now (the FSSPX is heavily marginalised and persecuted in Switzerland and Germany, but also France), persectued for your faith makes you bitter. And it was thanks to the Dominican Spirituality that I have and still am learning how to deal with that.

Joël: Everybody knows that writing a blog with four hands means that one pair is busy and and the other casual. Here, I will be the one procrastinating, the husband, born in the southern French speaking part of Switzerland: the Valais. This will reflect one of the most well known caricatures of the great Swiss divide: the one from the North is the worker, innovates and is more serious, the one from the South sleeps, follows and is more silly. I like silly…

I never wanted to study philosophy. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a fireman, a policeman, a secret agent or, more realistically, a chemist; the only constant and profound wish was to be rich enough (read: a LOT) to do whatever I would like. I gave up the first three before reaching 16, the chemist idea at 20… I am not sure I will be able to give up the last one – I still play from time to time the lottery; even more now that I have chosen to study one of the most peculiar fields: mediaeval philosophy. Nothing predestined me to embrace this career: I did all my studies before the university to be a chemist (means lot of maths, physics, chemistry, biology,…) I studied nonetheless philosophy in high school (we didn’t have much choice) and liked it; it was not blow minding enough to make me change my life plan, but enough to light a small candle in my heart (that’s the dangerous part). During my first year at the university of Geneva, studying chemistry, I realized that this career was not meant for me. I turned to the humanities and to philosophy. That was the beginning of a very long addiction, which has not decreased since: I was hooked, especially to mediaeval philosophy. I met some very good professors who were and still are excellent researchers and wonderful teachers; they encouraged me to continue my studies and write a PhD: this is where I am now, making transcriptions of manuscripts, translations and commentaries. I LOVE this job.

Faith wise I was born in a catholic family. I was baptised quite early, first communion at 8, confirmation at 11, mass every Sunday morning… As children, this was fun (I liked the catechism, the stories,…); at 16 it was not any more. I think now, looking back, that the main problem was that all this catholic life was only a tradition; but not a way of life that I had integrated. When a tradition looses it sense and become something alien to the person living in it, it dies; and in the end, without sense, when the fun goes, everything else goes. Without any relation to my studies, I rediscovered my faith when studying in Geneva; philosophy didn’t play any role in it, but the people I met: in a protestant city (it is the city of Calvin indeed), I was asked very soon about my faith; I must say that many times questions were design to mock me (somebody coming from the Valais must be a catholic a bit simple, hard drinker and conservative – in other words an idiot), but this confrontation had a strange effect: in trying to explain that Catholics are not just bloody simple stupid persons, I got back to the fundamentals of my faith, and discovered something I’ve never realised before: I was – and still am – a catholic. My place was still there; I was not sure exactly where, but I knew somebody was waiting for me. Thankfully I met wonderful Dominicans along the road; I owe their friendship and spirituality a lot: my way.

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