In the second volume of his two-volume collection of essays from the 1980s to 2018, renowned Catholic theologian David Tracy gathers profiles of significant theologians, philosophers, and religious thinkers. These essays, he suggests, can be thought of in terms of Walt Whitman’s “filaments,” which are thrown out from the speaking self to others—ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary—in order to be caught elsewhere.
Filaments arranges its subjects in rough chronological order, from choices in ancient theology, such as Augustine, through the likes of William of St. Thierry in the medieval period and Martin Luther and Michelangelo in the early modern, and, finally, to modern and contemporary thinkers, including Bernard Lonergan, Paul Tillich, Simone Weil, Karl Rahner, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Iris Murdoch. Taken together, these essays can be understood as a partial initiation into a history of Christian theology defined by Tracy’s key virtues of plurality and ambiguity. Marked by surprising insights and connections, Filaments brings the work of one of North America’s most important religious thinkers once again to the forefront to be celebrated by longtime and new readers alike.