«Sophia» XI (2019)

Table of Contents and Abstracts: Issues 1 and 2

«Sophia», Year XI (2019), Issue 1


Editorial (A. Clemenzia - P. Coda)




«I am black and beautiful, like the tents of Kedar, like the skins of Solomon» (Ct. 1,5): beauty and ugliness in the Commentary to the Canticle of Origen (Vito Limone)

Abstract: The chief aim of this paper is to explore the use of the notions of “beauty” and “ugliness” in the Commentary on the Song of Songs by Origen of Alexandria (185-254), with focus on his exegesis of Song 1,5: «I am black and beatiful, o daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon». In this regard, after an introductory section, this paper consists of two main sections. The first section is devoted to the controversy between Origen and the Platonist Celsus about the notions of “beauty” and “ugliness” of Jesus Christ, which will contribute to the understanding of the Alexandrine’s interpretation of Song 1,5. The second section is entirely dedicated to Origen’s reading of Song 1,5, with focus on the contrast between the “beauty” and the “blackneess”/“ugliness” of the bride, namely, the soul/Church of heathens. The conclusion is that the notions of “beauty” and “ugliness”, used by Origen both in the Against Celsus and in the Commentary on the Song, stand for the degree of access of the soul/Church of heathens to the Revelation and, therefore, of her communion with Christ.

Keywords: patristics – Origen – aesthetics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 11-20

Augustine and the inventio of the aesthetic form as forma Trinitatis (Piero Coda)

Abstract: The objective of this article is to indicate the advent of the forma aesthetica in Saint Augustine, in terms of human relations, against the backdrop of space and time, as a participation in the giving and receiving of the forma Trinitatis, which as an aesthetic form is the splendor of truth and beauty. Specifically, we concentrate on that tract of his writings described in books VI to VIII of De Trinitate.

Keywords: patristics – Augustine – love – Trinity – aesthetics – Trinitarian theology – mistica

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 21-31

The Trinitarian form in Augustinian ecclesiology (Alessandro Clemenzia)

Abstract: The present article, after briefly clarifying the epistemology, offers Saint Augustine’s reflection on the Trinitarian “form” of the Church, beginning with a commentary on the Psalms. This form which resides in the Trinitarian saying and giving of Godself is made present in history through our coming together in Oneness (con-venire in unum) as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Keywords: patristics – theology – Augustine – Trinitarian anthropology – ecclesiology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 33-42

The ontology of self-giving: Saint John of the Cross and the dark Night (Javier Roberto Gonzales)

Abstract: This article attempts a comprenhensive philological analysis of Saint John of the Cross’ poem «Noche oscura del alma», to show how both the mystical and human meanings of the conjugal symbol are not contradictory and how together they define a true ontology of self-giving.

Keywords: literature – aesthetics – John of the Cross

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 43-64

The Beloved Difference: Ontology of Relationship and Aesthetics of Love in S. Kierkegaard (Marco Strona)

Abstract: The “I”, man, is a derived relationship that owes its existence to an Other. Recalling Christian spirituality and tradition, Kierkegaard situates the question of the subject in its difficult equilibrium between identity and relation, between proximity and transcendence. The “I” recognizes itself as such only through its relation with Someone else and this means both with another I, and the Absolute, God, who as creator, establishes the same rapport. Kierkegaard re-presents interiority as a way of approaching the transcendent by seeing the person not as alien to us but as one who, through love and by means of love, becomes our neighbor.

Keywords: philosophy – love – anthropology – history – Søren Kierkegaard

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 65-76

«About Beauty» in the Theosophy of Antonio Rosmini Antonio Rosmini (Lorena Catuogno)

Abstract: When Rosmini in his Teosofia wrote his treatise on beauty, the final draft of his conceptual system and his greatest intellectual achievements were already in place. In the chapter «Della bellezza» thanks to his ontological rootedness, he address the aesthetical issue in its theoretical depth. Analyzing the essence and the elements of beauty, the aesthetical experience is conceived by Rosmini as a subjective act grounded in its manifest objectivity, and by so doing calls into question the ontological synthesis.

Key words: philosophy – Antonio Rosmini – aesthetics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 77-86

On the Steinian concept of Bildung: Formation as an 'aesthetic' process (Valentina Gaudiano)

Abstract: Edith Stein’s concept of Bildung/formation implies a series of aspects which weave together anthropology, pedagogy and ontology. The German philosopher declines the term Bild/image contained in Bildung, with the terms Abbild/copy and Urbild/archetype, which emerge particularly in her ontological writings. In this brief essay, we want to analyse the concept of Bildung/formation beginning with her vision of the human person so as to insert it into the wider context of ontology and reinterpret its conceptual form as an aesthetical process.

Key words: anthropology – Edith Stein – aesthetics – phenomenology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 87-97

Sound and exteriority the inedited works of Emmanuel Levinas (Gianluca Falconi)

Abstract: Levinas’s Wartime Notebooks although written between 1937 and 1949 were only published in 2012. His annotations of those years, mostly written while a prisoner of war, offer us the opportunity to assist at the birth and the maturing process of some of his key concepts. We will focus on three fundamental elements that clarify the conditions that influenced his thinking and his discovery of transcendence. These elements will outline: a phenomenology of the body in its corporality; a phenomenology of the senses with hearing as a fundamental prototype; his experience of suffering reflected in his human passivity that dominated the years of imprisonment. Starting with these, some embryonic elements of a rethinking of ontology will be clarified.

Keywords: philosophy – phenomenology – Emmanuel Levinas

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 99-109

The aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar between Trinitarian mysticism and the singularity of literature (Cecilia Palumbo De Avenatti)

Abstract: The article considers the unique contribution of Trinitarian mysticism and literature on the theological aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar, while underlining the decisive and central influence of Adrienne von Speyr’s charism on his work. The uniqueness is presented as a point of convergence from which Balthasar elaborates his aesthetic. These theoretical principles are applied to the analysis of the poetry of Christophe Lebreton. In conclusion, the article proposes a ratio figuralis trinitaria as the nucleus of a renewed reception of Balthasarian aesthetics.

Keywords: literature – mysticism – Mary – aesthetics – Hans Urs von Balthasar – Adrienne von Speyr – Christophe Lebreton

Read full article in Spanish: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 111-123

"Being-one-in-the-other": Trinitarian perichoresis and the theory of sphers in Peter Sloterdijk (Carlos Avellaneda)

Abstract: In his work Spheres, Peter Sloterdijk takes up the question of existential philosophy: «Where are we when we say that we are in the world?» And he replies that we are in “bubbles”, spheres where we build, protect ourselves and change. Human life always self-organizes by creating protected spaces. To live is to create spheres, spaces of relationship, climates and atmospheres. The experience of space is the primary experience of existence. “Spheres” does not mean a neutral space, but an animated and lived one, the receptacle where we are immersed. There is no life without spheres. Space is the primary experience of existing. Being is “being-in” which must be understood as «the coexistence of something with something in something». Sloterdijk raises the question of “being-in” from the perspective of Trinitarian dogma and the theological reflections ranging from the Cappadocian Fathers to the Middle-Ages.

Keywords: Peter Sloterdijk – Cappadocian Fathers – anthropology – ontology – Trinitarian theology – aesthetics

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 125-140


Bernhard Callebaut, The birth of the Focolari (Rome: Città Nuova, 2017)

Abstract: Two book reviews of Bernhard Callebaut, The birth of the Focolare Movement: The history and sociology of a charism (1943-1965) (Rome: Città Nuova, 2017), pp. 632, which was presented at the Sophia University Institute on October 1, 2017.

Keywords: sociology – Focolare Movement – charism – Work of Mary

Download the Issue to read the Book Review section in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-1) 141-156

Tiziano Vecchiato, Utopia, ratio e generatio nella nascita dei focolari  (142-149)

Jésus Morán, Il carisma e l’istituzione. Un libro universitario sulla storia dei Focolari (150-156)


«Sophia», Year XI (2019), Issue 2


Editorial (M. Martino)




Synodality exercise of the Church. About the document of the ITC (Piero Coda)

Abstract: The contribution offered by the International Theological Commission’s March 2, 2018 document, “Sinodality in the Life and Mission of the Church” can be summarized in this expression: “The Church’s exercise of sinodality”. In fact, the path of sinodality is presented in it as the exercise where the Church realizes itself, in other words the mission defining discipleship of the Lord Jesus listening to the Spirit at the service of the coming of God’s Kingdom. Four points are interwoven in the article: the document’s context and genesis; the two priority objectives it is meant to achieve: illustrating synodality as the kairós to be grasped and welcomed today and as the Church’s practice in which everyone fits as God’s people; some guidelines to be followed looking ahead to concrete reality since the document offers, but does not develop, the theological premises, acknowledging and leaving such a task to another moment.

Keywords: theology – synodality – International Theological Commission – Church – ecclesiology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 171-185

Veritatis gaudium: or about the desire for all to be one (David Luque)

Abstract: With regard to the recent publication of the apostolic constitution, Veritatis Gaudium, on the reform of studies, faculties and ecclesiastical universities, this article is meant to grasp the theology of education implicit in it. The fundamental thesis that I hold is that VG distills an educational theology inspired by a Trinitarian Theology that resonates with intratrinitarian relationships of reciprocal love for the fundamental elements of an educational theory: a curricular theory, the educational sociology of each center and the relationships of all the institutions that teach ecclesiastical studies. The fundamental claim of this dynamic is, on the one hand, the formation of a new humanity and, on the other, that those institutions where ecclesiastical studies are taught are already a living testimony of that civilization of love.

Keywords: education – Veritatis Gaudium – magisterium – John Henry Newman – pedagogy

Read full article in Spanish: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 187-201

The Charismatic Profile of the Church: a theological reading of the Iuvenescit Ecclesia (Alessandro Clemenzia)

Abstract: This article is meant to present the ecclesiological contribution of the Letter Iuvenescit Ecclesia by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in order to recover the profound and inseparable interaction in the Church between hierarchical and charismatic gifts. The co-essentiality between them is explained in the light of a pneumatological reflection, in which the peculiarity of the third divine Person is emphasized, in his action ad intra and ad extra.

Keywords: ecclesiology – charism – magisterium – pneumatology – Iuvenescit Ecclesia

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 203-219

Communion and otherness in John Zizioulas’ theology of personhood as basis for true otherness, identity and unity (Jesmond Micallef)

Abstract: John Zizioulas maintains that communion and otherness are complementary. Communion is the basis for true otherness and identity. Otherness is constitutive of God’s being, of the being of creation and humanity. Without them there can be no communion in the Church nor in society. This is the challenge of theology today.

Keywords: John Zizioulas – otherness – Orthodox Church – communion – God – society

Read full article in English: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 221-245

The Pneuma: between the trinitarian unveiling of the being in the entity and the symbolic language according to E. Stein (Alejandro Bertolini)

Abstract: This article reflects an effort to elucidate the connection between a trinitarian ontology and aesthetics. It consists of a search for the role of the Pneuma in Edith Stein’s cosmovision. The trinitarian structure of Creation emerges quite evidently from an analysis of some passages of Endliches und Ewiges Sein. Because of the Spirit, this structure takes on a symbolic function that makes the paschal journey possible all the way to a personal encounter with Crucified Love.

Keywords: Edith Stein – esthetics – pneumatology – symbol – Trinitarian ontology

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 247-257

For an Aesthetics from the Experience of Unity in Klaus Hemmerle (Maria Benedetta Curi)

Abstract: This article is meant to explore the question of the relationship between aesthetics and trinitarian ontology. Together with the author of the Theses for a Trinitarian Ontology (1976), Klaus Hemmerle, it offers an essential path for an aesthetics stemming from the experience of unity. Hemmerle’s aesthetical vocation to unity, the experience of the marianum transcendental and engagement with an ontology of Claritas, will be the main stages along this route.

Keywords: aesthetics – Klaus Hemmerle – Trinitarian ontology – philosophy

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 259-268

Spiritual Discernment and the visio de Trinitate in Augustine of Hippo (Sungjin Bae)

Abstract: The fundamental condition for spiritual discernment consists of the visio intellectualis manifesting the Trinitarian structure of the Augustinian vision. This fact brings out the decisive role of the intentio animi illuminated by the Truth and led towards God by charity.

Key words: Augustine – contemplation – epistemology – Trinitarian ontology – discernment

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 269-278

The Jump in Meaning: the ethical perspective and metaphysical question in the thought of J.-F. Mattéi (Serena Meattini)

Abstract: In recent years a part of French thought has returned to reflect upon the possibility and, at times the need, of a return to metaphysics – a reflection which must be engaged with some issues of contemporary thought, and which is framed within a certain historiographical view of modernity. In this regard, Mattéi’s thought reconsiders these issues and offers very interesting insights.

Keywords: metaphysics – ethics – Mattéi

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 279-292


Giovanni Gentile and the We in God (Piotr Zygulski)

Abstract: Giovanni Gentile demonstrates that the truth of idealism today implies the existence of God, in a living unity of the We, in the heart of the Transcendental I, where being and thinking coincide. The critical reception of the New demonstration suggests how Actualism is meant to translate the Incarnation in a theoretical way in the light of the Trinity that puts abstract metaphysical thought into question.

Keywords: metaphysics – incarnation – Trinitarian ontology – Giovanni Gentile

Read full article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 293-305



The symbolic code for generative communication (Ana Cristina Montoya)

Abstract: The essay offered is based on the interconnection and the fruitful contamination between ‘gift’ and communication, where the expression ‘to relate’ means the communicative act leading a subject to make the whole experience of going from self to the other. The ‘initial impulse’ that can give life to a human relationship is always prevalently a communicative act. Following the thought of the sociologist, Pierpaolo Donati, an effort is made through the essay to answer the question about what should characterize this communicative act, so that it is the generator or regenerator of a social bond.

Keywords: communication – generativeness – relation – sociology

Reade the article in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 307-319


Martin Luther: in Dialogue with Silvana Nitti (Vincenzo Vitiello)

Book review of Silvana Nitti, Lutero (Salerno Ed., 2017), 528 pages

Abstract: Vincenzo Vitiello enters into dialogue with Silvana Nitti in this review. She is the author of a recently released book on Luther’s biography. The topic of freedom is studied in particular, while dwelling on some decisive issues in the great reformer’s thought.

Keywords: Martin Luther – liberty – freedom

Download the Issue to read the Book Review in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 321-329


The Gospel of Creation (Gérard Rossé)

Book Review of Francesco De Feo, Verbum Divinum est omnis creatura. Il Vangelo del creato (Rubbettino, 2019), 307 pages

Abstract: The work of De Feo is involved in the modern debate about the relationship between science and theology in the context of the biblical theme of creation. Doesn’t current scientific knowledge about the universe make any theological pronouncement on the topic superfluous? So this study presents the discussion which occurred in the twentieth century, starting in particular with the works of Von Rad and Karl Barth who subordinate the topic of creation to salvation. The reaction to this thesis is presented as well, where a theological significance is attributed to creation in itself, taking the wisdom literature into account. The author also includes the apocryphal material of the Old Testament, the basis for contextualization of Paul’s texts including Rm 1:18-23 and 8:18-22 examined by De Feo.

Keywords: creation – biblical exegesis – salvation

Download the Issue to read the Book Review in Italian: «Sophia» XI (2019-2) 321-325


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