Volume 48, Issue 3, September 2008
Michael M. Waddell
Faith and Reason in the Wake of Milbank and Pickstock
In Truth in Aquinas, John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock attempt to render a “radically orthodox” reading of Aquinas that rejects an autonomous realm of natural reason unaided by faith. I argue that Milbank and Pickstock’s account fails as a reading of Aquinas and is problematic as a theory of the relationship between faith and reason. After sketching Milbank and Pickstock’s understanding of the relationship between faith and reason, I examine Aquinas’s doctrines of grace and divine naming in order to show how they resist Milbank and Pickstock’s attempt to do away with the distinct and autonomous category of natural reason. I then conclude by considering how Milbank and Pickstock’s failure to preserve the integrity and autonomy of natural reason ironically tends toward fideism while
simultaneously threatening to deprive faith of its meaning.