Being Laden with Love: A Theological Development of Jacques Maritain's Creative Intuition

Doctoral Dissertation


The purpose of this dissertation is to enrich contemporary theology of human creativity through a reconsideration of the work of twentieth century philosopher Jacques Maritain. I contend that Maritain’s mature work on creativity, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, provides a sound philosophical basis on which to build a theology of human creativity. I will argue that Maritain’s work on human creativity has two related virtues that recommend it for such a task. First, it provides a corrective to a standard modern account of the subject, one that alienates the subject from creation. Second, it offers a philosophical account of human creativity that is implicitly related to divine creativity by way of the analogy of being. In order to fully apprehend Maritain’s work on creativity, and in particular, the two aspects of that work described above, one must examine it in relation to Maritain’s earlier philosophical work, especially his early work on metaphysics and epistemology and his development of a Thomist existentialism. This dissertation begins with a study of, arguably, Maritain’s most important work, The Degrees of Knowledge, and his epistemological critique of modernity. I argue that a key thesis of The Degrees of Knowledge claims that a consequence of modernity’s prioritization of epistemology is what might broadly be referred to as a radicalization of the subject. The second part of the dissertation examines Maritain’s robust response to the crisis of the radicalized subject in the form of a Thomist existentialism, which restores the subject to its proper place among the community of existents. The third part of the dissertation analyzes Maritain’s philosophy of art in relation to post-Kantian German idealism and early Romanticism. It argues that Maritain’s recalcitrance regarding certain aspects of Romanticism and modernism arises from a residue of Kantian philosophy that persists in them in the specific form of the radicalized subject. This section concludes with an exegesis of Maritain’s philosophy of art in light of the philosophical developments highlighted in earlier sections. In the final section of the dissertation, I elaborate on why the philosophy of art I have expounded provides a sound basis for theological reflection on human creativity.


Attribute NameValues
Author Julianne Dolan
Contributor Jennifer Newsome Martin, Committee Member
Contributor Francesca A. Murphy, Research Director
Contributor Cyril J. O'Regan, Research Director
Contributor John Betz, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2020-03-20

Submission Date 2020-04-28
  • Aesthetics

  • Art

  • Philosophy

  • Jacques Maritain

  • Maritain

  • Theology

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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