Cardinal Walter Kasper I 00193 Rome, September 13, 2014.
Piazza della Città Leonina, 1
To whom it may concern
Expert for Professor DDr. Antonio Russo
After his studies at the Universities of Rome Sapienza, the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of St Anselm, and the Gregorian (1982-1989), Prof. Dr. Antonio Russo studied under my direction at the University of Tübingen. In 1989, he finished his studies with me working on a dissertation about Henri de Lubac, which was subsequently published by Studium in 1990.
During his time at Tübingen, I had many occasions to get to know Antonio Russo—both as a person and as a scholar. He participated regularly in my seminars and lectures, and his dissertation (on one of the most famous and influential theologians in the 20th century) was based on a new reading and his direct contact (personal and epistolary) with de Lubac himself. In this way, Prof Antonio Russo was able to document extensively the profound influence of Maurice Blondel’s philosophy on the theology of de Lubac, and in this regard he provided an important contribution to the history of theology in the 20th century.
Professor’s Russo’s work represents a radical turn –especially, since he brings to light a series of important results that are fundamental for any inquiry into the immense body of work by de Lubac. With Russo’s scholarship, we are dealing with a research achievement at an exceptional level.
From then on, I have remained in constant contact with Prof Antonio Russo, and with great interest, I have always followed and supported his activities—in particular, his studies on philosophical and theological anthropology, on the relation between philosophy and theology.
Recently, I have been able to read and greatly appreciate his publications on Franz Brentano and his Catholic school of thought (H. Denifle, L. Adler, H. Schell, G. von Hertling), which treated the relation between philosophy (intended as science) and theology. By treating important themes, Prof Russo has opened new perspectives for research on a field which is very little known. The same is true about his studies on the French philosopher Xavier Tiliette.
Alongside his industrious academic and editorial production (composed of more than 180 articles and 12 volumes), Prof Antonio Russo has developed with great competence and notable personal commitment (not to mention his enormous organizational capacity), a very powerful research output as an organizer of conferences and various initiatives (both national and international) – especially, on the theme regarding anthropological discourse, and in particular the dialogue between philosophy (science) and theology. All of these activities amply demonstrate his outstanding capacity to implement the proposed research project on ‘The Human Being’ to a very high standard.
All of this is to say that Prof Antonio Russo has always been very attentive to the developments of the most recent philosophical and theological currents—which by now is always considered more and more at the international level—and as a scholar, he has provided and continues to provide an outstanding contribution to the dialogue between philosophy and theology. In this sense, I have no hesitation in strongly recommending Prof DDr. Antonio Russo and his project for the most serious and generous consideration.