John Rist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Michael Rist (born 1936), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada,[1] is a British scholar of ancient philosophy, classics, and early Christian philosophy and theology, known mainly for his contributions to the history of metaphysics and ethics. He is the author of monographs on Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicurus, Plotinus, the dating of the Gospels, and Augustine. Rist is Professor of Classics Emeritus at the University of Toronto,[2] part-time Visiting Professor at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome,[3] holds the Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., Chair in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.,[4][5] and is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. During his lengthy academic career he has also been Regius Professor of Classics at the University of Aberdeen (1983-1996), and the Lady David Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1995).

His work has been important in the fields of ancient philosophy and historical theology for two main reasons. First, Rist is noted for a level of conceptual reading comprehension in ancient texts that is exceptionally high; he thereby produced studies marked by "acute observations," singular "insights," and "valuable interpretations."[6] Second, Rist's work executes meticulous scholarship and detailed discussion of problems while engaging large philosophical and theological themes, setting both within their relevant historical contexts.[7]

Major Works[edit]

Books:

1. Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus and Origen. (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1964); Italian edition (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1995).

2. Plotinus: The Road to Reality (Cambridge University Press, 1967); Italian edition with new introduction (Genoa: Melangolo,1995).

3. Stoic Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 1969); Spanish translation with new introduction (Barcelona: Critica, 1995) 1995.

4. Epicurus: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 1972) pp. xiv, 185; Italian edition (Mursia, 1978); Catalan translation (Santa Coloma de Queralt, 2008).

5. The Stoics (ed.) (University of California Press, 1978).

6. On the Independence of Matthew and Mark (Cambridge University Press, N.T.S. Monograph Series 32, 1978).

7. Human Value: A Study of Ancient Philosophical Ethics (Philosophia Antiqua 40) (Brill: Leiden, 1982).

8. Platonism and Its Christian Heritage (Ashgate Variorum: London, 1985).

9. The Mind of Aristotle (University of Toronto Press, 1989).

10. Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized (Cambridge University Press, 1994). Italian edition (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1997); Spanish (Ediciones Destino) edition planned.

11. Man, Soul and Body: Essays in Ancient Thought from Plato to Dionysius (Ashgate Variorum: London, 1996).

12. On Inoculating Moral Philosophy against God (Marquette University Press, 2000).

13. Real Ethics: Rethinking the Foundations of Morality (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

14. What is Truth? From the Academy to the Vatican (Cambridge University Press, 2008) pp. xiv, 361.

15. Plato’s Moral Realism. The Discovery of the Presuppositions of Ethics (The Catholic University of America Press, 2012).

16. Augustine Deformed: Love, Sin, and Freedom in the Western Moral Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Philosophical and Religious Views[edit]

Rist has argued that the most coherent and sound form of ethical realism is what he calls 'transcendental realism,' that is, realism grounded in transcendent standards for morality, and thus in a metaphysics of morals that is in some sense 'Platonic.' Unlike Iris Murdoch's slightly earlier work proposing Platonic metaphysics as a guide to morals,[8] with which it shares some sympathies, Rist's project has been to show that in order for an ethics to be realist, it must be theistic, that is, grounded in a divine principle that is metaphysically real.[9]

Rist is a convert to Catholicism from agnosticism. As he explained in a 1997 article, after studying Plato and Plotinus he became convinced that the notion of an intrinsically evil act requires an unchanging standard for morality (cf. the Platonic Form of Justice), and that this transcendent standard must exist in a divine mind (cf. Plotinus' second divine hypostasis, νοῦς).[10] Subsequently, he became convinced that a divine mind that was absolutely good would intervene in human history out of concern for individual human beings; he thus began to move beyond neo-Platonism and become interested in Christianity.[11] A study of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark convinced him that the compilation of Matthew was to be dated before 70 A.D./C.E., and so he became convinced that "the full range of Christian beliefs must go back to the very earliest followers of Jesus, and in all probability to Jesus himself. The solution that either Jesus was a lunatic or his earliest followers were all blatant liars again seemed the only alternative possibility if their claims were false.... I had to decide only whether the totality of Jesus' recorded behavior looked like that of a madman; it was not difficult to see that it did not."[12] By further research into Patristics, and through reading John Henry Newman, he became convinced that the present-day Catholic Church is in continuity with that of the apostles.[13]

Like other Catholic intellectuals of the same generation—e.g. Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Rémi Brague—Rist has turned in his later career increasingly to the relationship of Catholic thought and culture to history and public policy.[14][15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Rist, FRSC
  2. ^ John Rist, Emeritus, University of Toronto Archived 2013-05-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Visiting Faculty, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Rome[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Kurt Pritzl, O.P. Chair in Philosophy, Catholic University of America
  5. ^ Press Release, Catholic University of America
  6. ^ See e.g.: M. Reesor, Review of Stoic Philosophy by John Rist, Phoenix 25.1 (Spring 1971): 78-80, p. 78; R. Hoerber, Review of Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus, and Origen by John Rist, Classical Philology 61.4 (October 1966): 276-278, p. 277; L. Sweeney, Review of Plotinus: The Road to Reality by John Rist, The Classical Journal 64.4 (January 1969): 180-183, p. 180 col. 2; T. Noone, Review of Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized by John Rist, The Review of Metaphysics 49.2 (December 1995): 430-431, p. 431.
  7. ^ See e.g. D. Morgan, Review of Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus, and Origenby John Rist, The Classical Journal 61.1 (October 1965): 32-32, p. 32; L. Sweeney, Review of Plotinus: The Road to Reality by John Rist, The Classical Journal 64.4 (January 1969): 180-183, p. 180 col. 1; T. Noone, Review of Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized by John Rist, The Review of Metaphysics 49.2 (December 1995): 430-431, p. 430.
  8. ^ Iris Murdoch (30 September 2012). Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4090-4405-5. 
  9. ^ See J. Rist, Real Ethics: Rethinking the Foundations of Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) p. 188 note 10; J. Rist, Plato's Moral Realism: The Discovery of the Presuppositions of Ethics (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2012) pp. 267-268; J. Dougherty, Review of Real Ethics: Rethinking the Foundations of Morality by John Rist, The Review of Metaphysics 56.4 (June 2003): 897-899, p. 898.
  10. ^ "Where Else?" in Philosophers Who Believe, ed. K. Clark (Intervarsity Press, 1997), p. 95
  11. ^ Ibid. p. 99.
  12. ^ Ibid. pp. 100-101.
  13. ^ Ibid. p. 88, 99, 101.
  14. ^ J. Rist, What is Truth: From the Academy to the Vatican (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
  15. ^ http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/resources/people/john-rist
  16. ^ Wilson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia
  • Kurt Pritzl, O.P. Chair in Philosophy, Catholic University of America
  • Visiting Faculty, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Rome[permanent dead link]
  • Faculty Emeriti, University of Toronto
  • M. Reesor, Review of Stoic Philosophy by John Rist, Phoenix 25.1 (Spring 1971): 78-80.
  • R. Hoerber, Review of Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus, and Origen by John Rist, Classical Philology 61.4 (October 1966): 276-278.
  • L. Sweeney, Review of Plotinus: The Road to Reality by John Rist, The Classical Journal 64.4 (January 1969): 180-183.
  • T. Noone, Review of Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized by John Rist, The Review of Metaphysics 49.2 (December 1995): 430-431.
  • D. Morgan, Review of Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus, and Origenby John Rist, The Classical Journal 61.1 (October 1965): 32-32.
  • J. Dougherty, Review of Real Ethics: Rethinking the Foundations of Morality by John Rist, The Review of Metaphysics 56.4 (June 2003): 897-899.

External links[edit]