Mariusz TabaczekCorresponding authorORCID id

A Trace of Similarity within Even Greater Dissimilarity
Thomistic Foundations of Erich Przywara’s Teaching on Analogy

23/1 - Spring 2018, pages 95-132
Date of online publication: 18 July 2019
Date of publication: 18 July 2019


This article readdresses the Przywara-Barth controversy concerning analogia entis. The main point of our analysis is the question of whether the concept of analogy presented by Erich Przywara was in line with the classical Aristotelian-Thomistic definition and use of analogy in theistic predication. First, we ask about Przywara’s strong conviction that analogy is primarily a metaphysical and not merely a grammatical doctrine. Secondly, after presenting the complexity of Aquinas’ notion of analogy, as well as the variety of opinions on this subject among his commentators, we analyze (1) the objectives of Przywara’s view of analogia entis, (2) his grounding it in the terminology taken from the typology offered by Cajetan and juxtaposing analogia proportionalitatisand analogia atributionis, and (3) his introduction of the concept of  “a new ‘attributive analogy’”, proceeding form above to below and sustaining the tension within analogia entis. We show that Przywara remained a faithful student and interpreter of Thomas, which makes Barth’s accusation that the Catholic doctrine of analogia entisputs God and creatures on a common plane of being, unjustified.


Cite this article

Tabaczek, Mariusz. “A Trace of Similarity within Even Greater Dissimilarity: Thomistic Foundations of Erich Przywara’s Teaching on Analogy” Forum Philosophicum 23, no. 1 (2018): 95–132. doi:10.35765/forphil.2018.2301.04.


von Balthasar, Hans Urs. The Theology of Karl Barth. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Originally published in 1951 as Karl Barth: Darstellung und Deutung Seiner Theologie by Verlag Jakob Hegner in Köln.

Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics. Edited by G. W. Bromiley and F. T. Torrance. Volume 1, Part 1, The Doctrine of the Word of God. Translated by G. W. Bromiley. London and New York: T. & T. Clark, 2004.

Bartha, Paul. “Analogy and Analogical Reasoning.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Winter 2016 edition. - analogy/.

Betz, John R. “After Barth: A New Introduction to Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis.” In The Analogy of Being: Invention of the Antichrist or the Wisdom of God?, edited by Thomas Joseph White OP, 35–87. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.

Betz, John R. “Translator’s Introduction.” In Erich Przywara, Analogia Entis: Metaphysics—Original Structure and Universal Rhythm, trans. by John R. Betz and David Bentley Hart, 1–115. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014.

Burrell, David B. Analogy and Philosophical Language. New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, 1973.

Burrell, David B. Aquinas: God and Action. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979.

Chavannes, Henry. The Analogy between God and the World in Saint Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth. New York: Vantage Press, 1992.

Cooper, John W. Panentheism—The Other God of the Philosophers: From Plato to the Present. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.

Culp, John. „Panentheism.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, Winter 2016 edition. https://plato.stanford. edu/archives/win2016/entries/panentheism/.

Darley, Alan Philip. “Predication or Participation? What Is the Nature of Aquinas’ Doctrine of Analogy?” Heythrop Journal 57, no. 2 (2016): 312– 324. doi:10.1111/heyj.12321.

Denzinger, Heinrich, and Peter Hünermann. Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals. 43rd edition. Translated into English and edited by Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Réginald. Dieu, son existence et sa nature: solution thomiste des antinomies agnostiques. Paris: Beauchesne, 1914.

Hart, David Bentley. The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. Michigan; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003.

Klubertanz, George Peter. St. Thomas Aquinas on Analogy: A Textual Analysis and Systematic Synthesis. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1960.

Johnson, Keith L. Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis. London; New York: T. & T. Clark, 2010.

Long, Steven. Analogia Entis: On the Analogy of Being, Metaphysics, and the Act of Faith. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.

Lyttkens, Hampus. The Analogy between God and the World: An Investigation of Its Background and Interpretation of Its Use by Thomas of Aquino. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1952.

Maritain, Jacques. Distinguer pour unir, ou Les degrés du savoir. Paris: De- sclée de Brouwer, 1932.

Mascall, Eric L. Existence and Analogy: A Sequel to “He Who Is.” London: Longmans, Green, 1949.

McCabe, Herbert, ed. and transl. Summa theologiae. Volume 3, Knowing and Naming God. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1973.

McInerny, Ralph M. Aquinas and Analogy. Washington, DC: Catholic Uni- versity of America Press, 1996.

McInerny, Ralph M. Being and Predication: Thomistic Interpretations. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1986.

McInerny, Ralph M. The Logic of Analogy: An Interpretation of St. Thomas. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961.

Milbank, John, and Catherine Pickstock. Truth in Aquinas. London: Rout- ledge, 2001.

Mondin, Battista. The Principle of Analogy in Protestant and Catholic Theo- logy. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1968.

Montagnes, Bernard. The Doctrine of the Analogy of Being According to Thomas Aquinas. Translated by Edward M. Macierowski and Pol Van- develde. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2004.

Nielsen Jr., Niels C. “Analogy and the Knowledge of God: An Ecumenical Appraisal.” Rice University Studies 60, no. 1 (1974): 21–102.

Penido, Maurílio Teixeira-Leite. Le rôle de l’analogie en théologie dogma- tique. Bibliothèque thomiste. Paris: Vrin, 1931.

Przywara, Erich. Analogia Entis: Metaphysics—Original Structure and Uni- versal Rhythm. Translated by John R. Betz and David Bentley Hart. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014.

Przywara, Erich. Religionsphilosophie Katholischer Theologie. München; Berlin: R. Old- enbourg, 1926.

Przywara, Erich. Religionsphilosophische Schriften. Einsiedeln: Johannes-Verlag, 1962.

Rocca, Gregory P. Speaking the Incomprehensible God: Thomas Aquinas on the Interplay of Positive and Negative Theology. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2004.

Söhngen, Gottlieb. “Analogia Fidei: Die Einheit in der Glaubenswissenschft.” Catholica 3, no. 4 (1934): 176–208.

Söhngen, Gottlieb. “Analogia Fidei: Gottähnlichkeit allein aus Glauben?,” Catholica 3, no. 3 (1934): 113–36.

Spencer, Archie. “Causality and the Analogia Entis: Karl Barth’s Rejection of Analogy of Being Reconsidered.” Nova et Vetera 6 (2008): 329–376.

Thomas Aquinas. In Librum Boethii de Trinitate, Quaestiones Quinta et Sexta, ed. Paul Wyser. Fribourg and Louvain: Nauwelaerts, 1948.

Thomas Aquinas. Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle. 2 volumes. Translated by John Rowan. Chicago: Regnery Press, 1961.

Thomas Aquinas. Scriptum super Libros Sententiarum Magistri Petri Lombardi Episcopi Parisiensis. Edited by P. Mandonnet. Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1929–1947.

Thomas Aquinas. Truth. 3 volumes. Translated by Robert W. Mulligan SJ et al. Albany, New York: Preserving Christian Publications, 1993

Thomas Aquinas. On the Truth of the Catholic Faith: Summa Contra Gentiles. 4 volumes. Translated by Anton C. Pegis et al. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1955–7.

Thomas Aquinas. Summa theologica. 3 volumes. Translated by the Fathers of the En- glish Dominican Province. New York: Benzinger Bros, 1946.

Thomas Aquinas. Commentary on the Book of Causes. Translated and annotated by Vincent A. Guagliardo, Charles R. Hess, and Richard C. Taylor. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1996.

te Velde, Rudi A. Aquinas on God: The “Divine Science” of the Summa Theologiae. Aldershot / Hants: Ashgate, 2006.

te Velde, Rudi A. Participation and Substantiality in Thomas Aquinas. Leiden; New York, Köln: Brill, 1995.

White, Roger M. Talking about God: The Concept of Analogy and the Problem of Religious Language. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.

White, Thomas. “How Barth Got Aquinas Wrong: A Reply to Archie J. Spencer on Causality and Christocentrism.” Nova et Vetera 7 (2009): 241– 270.

Wippel, John F. The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas: From Finite Being to Uncreated Being. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2000.