RIP Fr. Lawrence Dewan - World-Famous Thomist of Dominicans Dies
Dominican University Release:
Lawrence Dewan O.P.
Funeral for Lawrence Dewan, o.p.
Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 10:30
Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, 96 Empress Avenue, Ottawa, ON
Father Lawrence Dewan, O.P., died peacefully yesterday (Feb.12) at Saint Vincent’s hospital. Born in 1932, he made his solemn profession in the Order of Preachers in 1976. Since then he was assigned to Saint John the Baptist Convent and had been faithfully lecturing at Dominican University College and around the world until last December.
Rev. Lawrence Dewan, O.P. was professor of philosophy at the Dominican University College, Ottawa, Canada, and a member (emeritus) of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Vatican City. A native (1932) of North Bay, Ontario, he studied philosophy at the University of Toronto, the University of Paris, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS).
Areas of expertise
His teaching career has included periods at the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto and PIMS, and the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. In November of 2003 he held the Lokuang Chair Professorship in the Dept. of Philosophy, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei. In 1998 the Dominican Order honored him with the title: “Master of Sacred Theology.” (Edited from http://dominicanu.ca)
Excerpts from his Lecture at Christendom College:
Renowned Dominican priest and Thomistic philosopher, Reverend Lawrence Dewan, O.P., delivered a lecture, as the keynote speaker at Christendom College’s annual St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture on January 28.
dewan“We humans will find ultimate satisfaction—happiness—only through intellectual appreciation of reality—knowing ‘what it’s all about,” Fr. Lawrence Dewan, O.P., told students and faculty. “Do we see ourselves as engaged in ‘the pursuit of wisdom?’”
Dewan explained that in “the pursuit of wisdom” one should be an apprentice to a particular philosopher. “I am an apprentice of St. Thomas Aquinas,” he said.
A member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Dewan studied philosophy at the University of Toronto, the University of Paris, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. He has taught at the University of Ottawa, Saint Mary's University, the University of Toronto, Université Laval of Québec, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is author of three books: Form and Being: Studies in Thomistic Metaphysics, St. Thomas and Form as Something Divine in Things, andWisdom, Law, and Virtue: Essays in Thomistic Ethics.
In his lecture, Dewan noted that while St. Thomas wrote extensively on metaphysical topics and the great truths that one can come to through reason, one should never diminish the importance of faith.
“In our rather secularist culture, our rationalist culture, we are likely to see our faith as bearing solely upon those things that transcend reason, and see the very existence of a God as readily available to what we might call ‘our natural selves,’” he said. “Thomas explicitly speaks of the need to believe by supernatural faith the truth that God exists—this is the case until one truly understands the power of the philosophical demonstration.”
Dewan said that Aristotle and the Jewish Philosopher Moses Mamaonidies are in accord with Thomas on the difficulty of metaphysical knowledge or the philosophical knowledge that attains to some truths about God.
The lecture drew a large number of students and faculty.
“It is the knowledge that is most difficult for the human being. It is ‘divine’ knowledge, because God alone can have it, says Aristotle, or God above all others,” he said.
Dewan explained that Thomas speaks of a spontaneous, natural reasoning to the existence of a God, something that any human being can be expected to have concluded, but Thomas finds that the reasoning alone is not enough.
“This sort of knowledge of a God [is] too easily confused or overturned. Even as to God’s very existence—besides the many odd conceptions of God’s nature that often appear at this level of human awareness,” he said. “What the faith provides is the certainty of the existence and of the goodness of God.” (Edited from http://www.christendom.edu/news/2011/01-31-dewan.php