About Elliot Milco

Elliot Milco graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a major in humanities. He is currently studying for a Masters in Theology at The Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He keeps a blog at paraphasic.blogspot.com.

On the Use of Arguments in Theology


I am currently working through Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae, commenting on one article each day.  Given the large interest among the Fare Forward community in the role of reason and argument in the exposition and defense of the faith, I thought a careful discussion of Aquinas's thoughts on this matter would be well received here.  So below is my discussion of Question 1, Article 8 of the first part of the Summa: Whether Sacred Doctrine is a Matter of Argument. (The English text of the arti … [Read more...]

Ask Aquinas Anything: Divine Perfection in the Face of Evil


Dear Thomas, My niece, who takes a daily two-minute break from facebook, sent me a message to ask: (1) how God, who knows everything, can know evil and still remain 100% actualized goodness; and (2) how God’s will can always be fulfilled given that there is evil in the world.  I'd be grateful for your advice.  Sincerely, Questioning in Quinnipiac.1.  The most important point here is to establish the difference between "good" and "evil".  Good is a transcendental quality of all being.  T … [Read more...]

On The Moral Qualities of Privilege


In light of Sarah Ngu's recent post on privilege, I'd like to offer some rough thoughts on problems we face in defining privilege and distinguishing between the moral qualities of different sorts of privilege. I'm still working through the issue, so comments on the view I'm presenting would be appreciated.1.  In Sarah's post, she cites Andy Crouch's definition of privilege as the enjoyment of benefits on the basis of someone else's past creative power.2.  By this definition, privilege i … [Read more...]

The Universe, Briefly Summarized


Before anything else there is God, absolutely simple and unique, utterly exhausting his own potentiality, totally free, impassible, immaterial, transparent to himself.[1] God first of all is, and his being determines the being of everything else. There could be no fuller answer to the question “What is?” than “God.” In God’s perfect possession of the highest actuality, his being lies open to itself, and communicates itself to itself in an eternal relation of knower and known. The divine essence a … [Read more...]

Waiting for the Bells


One of the greatest scenes in the history of cinema comes at the end of an obscure Russian movie about a medieval icon painter, Andrei Rublev.  The film, written and directed by Andrei Tarkosvsky in Soviet Russia (an unlikely Dostoevsky among directors in a secular age), tells the story of the painter and his struggles in seven episodes spanning the period from his early adulthood to old age.  The seventh and final episode of the film, entitled “The Bell”, focuses on a young man, the orphaned son … [Read more...]

Art and Friendship


When one thinks of art and its relation to ethics, one of the first things to come to mind is Plato’s treatment of poets and painters in the Republic.  Neither group is beloved of the philosopher: the poets do too much to lead the passions astray and create false notions of divinity and the afterlife; the painters create objects which form the lowest rung on the Platonic chain of being.  For Plato, immaterial forms are the untainted essences of things, while material instantiations of those forms … [Read more...]

Apollo and the Unmerciful Hermit


[This delightful story is one of many given in Benedicta Ward's translation of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, which makes excellent Lenten reading.]There was once a brother who was very eager to seek goodness.  Being very disturbed by the demon of lust, he came to a hermit and told him about his thoughts.  The hermit was inexperienced and when he heard all this, he was shocked, and said he was a wicked brother, unworthy of his monk's habit because he had thoughts like that.When the br … [Read more...]