Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2008


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

William Thompson-Uberuaga

Committee Member

George S. Worgul

Committee Member

James Swindal


Claude Tresmontant, Cosmology, Gianni Vattimo, Jean-Luc Marion, John Paul II, Metaphysics, Natural Theology, Ontology


It has been traditionally held that Catholic theology has notable metaphysical threads deeply connected with the fabric of its faith and its systematic presentation. This dissertation focuses upon those "metaphysical threads" in order to explore their past, present and possible future status within theology. In each section the goal is to investigate the contributions of John Paul II and Claude Tresmontant and the role they believe metaphysics has within Catholic Systematic theology. This work attempts to present and assess whether, which, and why components of metaphysics, according to John Paul II and Tresmontant, should be retained even in light of modern philosophical challenges. Chapter Two highlights the thought of Claude Tresmontant. Tresmontant was convinced that there was a distinct "Christian Metaphysics." He maintains that metaphysics is a necessary outgrowth of a thoughtful commitment to a Judeo-Christian biblical perspective. His metaphysical focus draws our attention towards cosmological and anthropological considerations. Chapter Three explores the thought of Pope John Paul II who advocated metaphysics as a way to ground both the contributions of phenomenology and Christian ethics, as well as being a precondition for achieving rationally grounded thought. Since Pope John Paul II's Fides et Ratio calls for metaphysics to be reinstated to its proper place within the Catholic intellectual tradition, this chapter investigates how John Paul II envisions integrating metaphysics within systematic Catholic thought. A thoughtful reflection upon these two thinkers seeks to provide a better understanding of at least some of what may be at stake by either maintaining, significantly revising, or abandoning the metaphysical tradition. Chapter Four presents the postmodern challenge to a continued metaphysics within Christian philosophical theology. The arguments of both Jean-Luc Marion and Gianni Vattimo seek to explicate the perspectives of thinkers of the postmodern philosophical tradition, arguing for the elimination of foundationalism in all its forms. Chapter Five places all four thinkers in dialogue and concludes with some propositions for future collaboration.