THE GREATEST MARVEL OF ALL:
An introduction to the philosophy of the human person
by Pierre-Marie Emonet OP (trans Robert Barr)
(The Crossroad Publishing Co, 2000, 132pp, $34.95. Available from AD Books)
In a series of three small books, Pierre-Marie Emonet, a professor of philosophy at the Seminaire International d'Ars in France, brings the riches of philosophy within the reach of all.
In the first volume, Father Emonet introduces the basic principles of classical Thomistic metaphysics (the fundamentals of Christian philosophy). Here he turns to the human person: the life of the senses, the life of the mind and of the affections; freedom and subjectivity; and the soul and the spirit.
According to Cardinal Christoph Schšnborn, Archbishop of Vienna, "This series of books by Pierre-Marie Emonet is an excellent resource, for it provides the essentials of the philosophical background necessary for the study of theology."
The Greatest Marvel of All is particularly striking in that it reads like an adventure novel - something much needed in a book on philosophy. It is difficult to put the book down as one follows the next adventurous chapter of the story of this incredible creature God has made. (Each chapter is about three pages long.)
It is interesting to note that the author, Father Emonet, teaches where the Curé of Ars once lived. Interesting, because The Greatest Marvel is also striking in how it teaches profound things in a simple way, as St John Vianney himself did so well.
Some readers, it is true, may feel 'ripped off': "This is not philosophy! This is too sensible, too full of insights and wisdom. I thought philosophy would make me a sceptic."
Let the secret out: there really is a philosophy that is not only the friend and defender of common sense, but is also full of objective wisdom. If you would like something to ground your understanding of such pearls as the Pope's theology of the body, to counteract the dark philosophy, which not only puts humans on the level of animals, but even regards us as environmental contaminants, The Greatest Marvel of All is for you.
Michael Casanova works at the NCC office in North Melbourne.