PhD Day /3: Seminar for Doctoral Degree Students

PhD Day /3: Seminar for Doctoral Degree Students

Interdisciplinarity for Purpose of Research


The ‘PhD Day’ held last November 30 was, practically speaking, the third day of study reserved to the 30 doctoral degree students at the IUS, which was held on site a month after the dissertation of the first doctoral thesis, happily concluded by Paolo Frizzi.




“Some candidates are arriving at their goal, while others have barely started, some are half way there, and others yet, are working towards it in other faculties which are tied to Sophia – commenced Judith Povilus, co-ordinator and vice-provost of the IUS.  “The inter and trans-disciplinary style of our work is not acquired once and for all – added Piero Coda in his greeting – but rather, represents the method in our research to which one can refer to continually.  Hilario di Poitier wrote: “No one knows except through reciprocity”: this – concluded Coda – seems to me to be the profile of this day, in which the acquisition of epistemic notions must be rooted in the acceptance of the gift which is the other; much more than a simple combination of disciplines.” 


The central relation had been entrusted to Gerard Rossé, exegete: “The Bible as landmark for interdisciplinary research,” was the proposed theme.  “In order to avoid falling into arbitrary subjectivism, even the scriptural text needs to be interpreted the Fathers of the Church already knew, by which the Bible was fundamentally a uniting body.”  In his analysis, Rossé underlines both the expectations of faith and of reason, notwithstanding the known difficulties of this operation, without assuming synthetic positions, he concludes reminding that “It would be good to perceive that current results of biblical studies do not lessen faith; rather, it allows it to acquire more credibility. Similarly, in our daily work, it is about going beyond an infantile approach, to avoid falling into fundamentalist or voluble positions.” 


In the afternoon, one of the students nearing the end of his course of study, Giacinto Magro, had the occasion to present his research: “For a theology of ecclesial society.  A reading of the social significance of ecclesiology in L. Sturzo, I. Giordani, P. Foresi,” taking advantage of observations put forth by the listeners present.  “To support my course of study – he began – is the very same experience I live inside the IUS, an ever better founded auto-comprehension of my being through the sociality at Sophia.”  In facing the historical-theological analysis of a church which “has the task of capturing through relationships, access to God,” the Sicilian student intends to plumb the depths of the category of sociality in three Italian authors surprisingly similar under this profile.  In the work of Sturzo, emerges the commitment to ‘built the new man’ with precise attention to theological foundations: looking at society in its togetherness and to history as a process in which God ‘happens.’ Sturzo anticipates a concept that will emerge in the II Vatican Council.  Proposing  ‘an’agape anthropology.’  Solidarity is no longer an accessory, but a statute for human realization.  


In Giordani – continues Giacinto – Gospel sociality finds its centrality: the person is seen as the image of the Trinity and Christianity becomes a light which lights up fully humanity.”  Universal brotherhood is the starting point of a new society where all are brothers and everyone is gift. 


The work of P. Foresi gives great space to the relationship dynamic: Christ is trinitarian light which values all human dimensions: “It does not put ‘the being’ as a reference point, but rather ‘being there,’ for an anthropology which looks at the fallible reality of man and which, however, in Christ becomes a liberally chosen, wanted project.  


In concluding a very intense day, the project of Sophia becomes ever clearer:  to intercept and put together concepts and categories, proper of diverse disciplines, bringing examination and research to an authentic dialogue, in which the effort made by each one, is gathered into a picture of unity which inspires and orients multiple areas of knowledge.


Text: Mario Agostino

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