The Analogia Entis in Erich Pryzwara and Ferdinand Ulrich: Toward a More Catholic Metaphysics

Our next monthly meeting will be held on Friday, August 14th from 3:00pm to 4:30pm. We will be discussing “The Analogia Entis in Erich Pryzwara and Ferdinand Ulrich: Toward a More Catholic Metaphysics” by John Betz from the Spring 2018 (Volume 46.1) issue of Communio entitled Being as an Image of Divine Love: A Symposium on Homo Abyssus.
The following is taken from the Introduction to the issue:
In “The Analogia Entis in Erich Przywara and Ferdinand Ulrich: Toward a More Catholic Metaphysics,” John Betz compares two of the twentieth-century philosophers who had the most decisive influence on Hans Urs von Balthasar. Betz illustrates the philosophical emphasis of each thinker by examining how Przywara and Ulrich differently interpreted Thomas Aquinas on the real distinction between being and essence as this bears on the relation between God and the world. In his judgment, “Przywara gives us a greater sense of divine transcendence; Ulrich gives us a profounder sense of divine immanence.” Far from opposing Przywara’s sense of reverence before God and Ulrich’s sense of intimacy with God, however, Betz argues that the tension between these is positively fruitful, and that the two thinkers should be read as companions.

We will be holding a hybrid meeting whereby you are invited to attend in person at the JPII Student Centre, located at St. Michael’s Church, 240 Hemlock Street, Waterloo, Ontario, with masks, physical distancing and attendance recorded, or via Zoom for those not attending in person.

Study Day: We are planning to hold hybrid study day on David Bentley Hart’s book That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation on Saturday, September 19th, in person and via Zoom, with the location to be announced.
If you would like to read the book in advance, you can order it here:

As a follow up to the meeting, Mark Haslett has provided the
following references:

The *Analogia Entis *as a Standard of Catholic Engagement: Erich
Przywara’s Critique of Phenomenology and Dialectical Theology
– John R. Betz

Modern Theology <>Volume
35, Issue 1 <>

First published: 17 December 2018
Collections: Themed Issue: Philosophy & Theology in Germany, 1918‐1933


The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to the
twentieth‐century Jesuit, Erich Przywara (1889‐1972), who was arguably
the most brilliant and prolific Catholic philosopher, theologian,
cultural and literary critic of the 1920s and 1930s, but is known today
more by association with his friend Edith Stein or his protégé Hans Urs
von Balthasar than for anything he wrote. Rather than focusing on any
single work, however, this article focuses on his early understanding of
the *analogia entis *as a synthesis of the teaching of Augustine,
Thomas, and the IV Lateran Council, and on his subsequent deployment of
the *analogia entis* as a Catholic standard in response to the
dialectical theology of the early Barth and the phenomenology of
Husserl, Scheler, and Heidegger, respectively. Looking back to Vatican I
and anticipating Vatican II, it is clear that Przywara was in the
vanguard of the Catholic Church’s engagement with the modern world. What
remains to be considered today, aside from his immense contribution to
modern theology, is the merit of his responses to Barth and Heidegger at
this time, e.g., his claim that dialectical theology, instead of being a
corrective to modernity, was only a symptom of its fundamental
imbalance, and that phenomenology, rather than overcoming or displacing
a Catholic metaphysics of the *analogia entis*, is fulfilled in the
ontological openness signified by it.
– Article
After Heidegger and Marion: The Task of Christian Metaphysics Today
– John R. Betz

Modern Theology <>Volume
34, Issue 4 <>

First published: 19 October 2018


Without denying legitimate criticisms of metaphysics that have been made
since the time of the Reformation, the purpose of this essay is to
challenge prevailing assumptions in continental philosophy and theology
since Heidegger that the age of metaphysics is now over and should be
replaced as “first philosophy” either by some version of phenomenology,
such as that offered by Jean‐Luc Marion, or by a pragmatic linguistic
approach in the spirit of Wittgenstein, such as that offered by Kevin
Hector. Notwithstanding the genuine merits of their proposals and
concerns, it is argued here that metaphysics is not so easily dismissed,
and that there is, in fact, a way to do metaphysics otherwise – a way
that was taken by Erich Przywara, whose analogical metaphysics is
characterized not only by an analogy between God and creation, the
*analogia entis*, but also by an analogy between philosophical and
theological metaphysics. In this, form, it is argued, not only is
metaphysics impervious to the standard criticisms of “onto‐theology,” it
also turns out to be, at its core, nothing other than a Christological
– Article

Mere Metaphysics: An Ecumenical Proposal

– John R. Betz

Modern Theology <>Volume
35, Issue 4 <>

First published: 02 July 2019


This is the second part of an essay that appeared in *Modern Theology*
in October, 2018, entitled “After Heidegger and Marion: The Task of
Christian Metaphysics Today.” Whereas the first part made a case for the
importance of metaphysics to Christian theology (specifically in the
form of an analogical, proto‐Christological metaphysics), and hinted at
its ecumenical potential, the point here is twofold: first, to provide a
more detailed argument for analogical metaphysics as the kind of
metaphysics Christianity in fact implies; secondly, to elaborate its
ecumenical potential – now, though, more specifically, with regard to
the Christian East. Whereas the previous essay sought to overcome while
respecting the difference between Catholic analogy and Reformed
dialectics by arguing for a dialectical analogy as the proper form of
Christian metaphysics, here the specific task is to show a formal
compatibility between the analogical metaphysics of the Christian West
and the sophiological metaphysics of the Christian East. Accordingly,
the goal is to show that there is such a thing as a mere metaphysics – a
common metaphysics – of the Christian tradition, notwithstanding real
differences and mutually enriching emphases.

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