Assistant Professor of Theology, Assumption University, Worcester, MA

Rachel M. Coleman is Assistant Professor of Theology at Assumption University in Worcester, MA. Her areas of specialization are metaphysics (ancient to modern), the philosophy of nature, and philosophical anthropology. She received a PhD in Theology in 2019 from the John Paul II Institute at the Catholic University of America, where she wrote a dissertation entitled Matter as an Image of the Good: Ferdinand Ulrich’s Metaphysics of Creation. Her dissertation board included David C. Schindler (director), Antonio López, and Michael Hanby, of the Institute, in addition to William Desmond (Leuven & Villanova). Professor Coleman has held fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Seymour Institute, Cultura Initiative, John Paul II Institute, and DeSales University. Her work has been published in Communio, First Things, and Humanum, and she has presented papers on continental metaphysics across North America and Europe.


  • “Thinking the ‘Nothing’ of Being: Ferdinand Ulrich on Transnihilation” (Communio 46.1, Spring 2019)

    “Thinking the ‘Nothing’ of Being: Ferdinand Ulrich on Transnihilation” (Communio 46.1, Spring 2019)

    “Not only is being ‘nothing,’ avers Ulrich, it is precisely being’s nothingness that allows being to be the perfection of all perfections and the act of all actualities. This may at first seem counterintuitive: how can that which is nothing in itself also be that which enables every being to be? But Ulrich demonstrates the logic here fluidly: were being as such a thing in itself—that is, subsistent—it could not be given to be infinite actuality. If being as such were subsistent, it would necessarily have to hold onto, as it were, some of this actuality for itself, rather than being the inner act of all finite beings. Moreover, were being as such subsistent, it could not be infinite actuality, because there is only one infinite subsistent actuality, namely God. Being’s very nonsubsistence is what allows being as such to be infinite actuality, which in turn pours itself out so that finite beings may be . . . Ulrich calls being, then, not a mediator, but a ‘pure mediation’ of being from God to the creature. It is through esse that God creates the world—that is, communicates being in such a way that it allows the world to be itself and not a mere extension of God. It is the mediation of created esse, in its complete simplicity and nothingness, that allows beings to come to be—to be themselves, to have subsistence.” –Rachel M. Coleman


  • Being as Gift: On the Metaphysics of Ferdinand Ulrich

    Being as Gift: On the Metaphysics of Ferdinand Ulrich

    July 23, 2020


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