Aquinas and Analogy
Ralph McInerny Catholic University of America Press, 1996 Library of Congress B765.T54M236 1996 | Dewey Decimal 169.092
The basic distinctions McInerny introduces, his criticism of the central piece in the literature, Cajetan's De nominum analogia, the applications he makes to problems such as that of the nature of metaphysics or of logic, his knowledge of contemporary debates on related topics, combine to make his contribution unique
Applying the ethical concepts of Thomas Aquinas to contemporary moral problems, this book both presents new interpretations of Thomist theology and offers new insights into today's perplexing moral dilemmas. This volume addresses such contemporary issues as internalized oppression, especially as it relates to women and African-Americans; feminism and anger; child abuse; friendship and charity; and finally, justice and reason.
The collection revives Aquinas as an ethicist who has relevant things to say about contemporary concerns. These essays illustrate how Thomistic ethics can encourage and empower people in moral struggles. As the first book to use Aquinas to explore such issues as child abuse and oppression, it includes a variety of approaches to Aquinas's ethics.
Aquinas and Empowerment is a valuable resource for students of classical thought and contemporary ethics.
Thomas Aquinas and Jean-Paul Sartre are usually identified with completely different philosophical traditions: intellectualism and voluntarism. In this original study, Stephen Wang shows, instead, that there are some profound similarities in their understanding of freedom and human identity.
Aquinas and the Cry of Rachel
John F.X. Knasas Catholic University of America Press, 2013 Library of Congress B765.T54K586 2013 | Dewey Decimal 214
In Aquinas and the Cry of Rachel , John F. X. Knasas explores Thomas Aquinas's philosophical thinking about evil, and brings the results into discussion with the contemporary theodicies - philosophies of the problem of evil. It examines the relation of the human person and human nature to nature as a whole.
Generally speaking, possible philosophical accounts for evil are two kinds: cosmological or personal. The cosmological account has evils rebounding to the perfection of creation. The personal account would have evils suffered rebounding to the good of the sufferer. Knasas argues that for Aquinas no philosophical resolution of these two kinds of accounts is possible. This argument is based upon Aquinas's understanding of the human as an intellector of analogical being. Such an understanding establishes two truths. First, the human is by nature only a principal part of the created whole. Second, there is the philosophically discernible possibility of supernatural elevation by the creator.
Hence, as far as philosophy can discern, evil may have a natural explanation or it may have a supernatural one. The Thomistic philosopher has no answer as to why evil exists because that philosopher discerns too many possible ones. In that respect, Aquinas's thinking on evil is similar to his thinking about the philosophical knowledge of the biblical truth of the world's creation in time. Such a creation is one metaphysical possibility among others. Some authors that Aquinas and the Cry of Rachel considers are: Anthony Flew and Albert Camus, Jacques Maritain and Charles Journet, William Rowe, Marily McCord Adams, William Hasker, John Hick, David Ray Griffin, David Hume, Diogenes Allen, J. L. Mackie, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, Bruce Reichenbach, Brian Davies, and Eleonore Stump.
Economists and theologians usually inhabit different intellectual worlds. Economists investigate the workings of markets and tend to set ethical questions aside. Theologians, anxious to take up concerns raised by market outcomes, often dismiss economics and lose insights into the influence of market incentives on individual behavior. Mary L. Hirschfeld, who was a professor of economics for fifteen years before training as a theologian, seeks to bridge these two fields in this innovative work about economics and the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
According to Hirschfeld, an economics rooted in Thomistic thought integrates many of the insights of economists with a larger view of the good life, and gives us critical purchase on the ethical shortcomings of modern capitalism. In a Thomistic approach, she writes, ethics and economics cannot be reconciled if we begin with narrow questions about fair wages or the acceptability of usury. Rather, we must begin with an understanding of how economic life serves human happiness. The key point is that material wealth is an instrumental good, valuable only to the extent that it allows people to flourish. Hirschfeld uses that insight to develop an account of a genuinely humane economy in which pragmatic and material concerns matter but the pursuit of wealth for its own sake is not the ultimate goal.
The Thomistic economics that Hirschfeld outlines is thus capable of dealing with our culture as it is, while still offering direction about how we might make the economy better serve the human good.
Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body catecheses has garnered tremendous popularity in theological and catechetical circles. Students of the Theology of the Body have generally interpreted it as innovative not only in its presentation of the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality, but also as radically advancing that teaching. Aquinas and the Theology of the Body offers a somewhat different interpretation. Fr. Thomas Petri argues that the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas substantially contributed to John Paul's intellectual formation, which he never abandoned. A correct interpretation of the Theology of the Body requires, therefore, a thorough understanding of Thomistic anthropology and theology, which has been mostly lacking in commentaries on the pope's important contributions on the subject of marriage and sexuality.
To dismiss the work of philosophers and theologians of the past because of their limited perceptions of the whole of humankind is tantamount to tossing the tot out with the tub water. Such is the case when feminist scholars of religion and ethics confront Thomas Aquinas, whose views of women can only be described as misogynistic. Rather than dispense with him, Susanne DeCrane seeks to engage Aquinas and reflect his otherwise compelling thought through the prism of feminist theology, hermeneutics, and ethics.
Focusing on one of Aquinas's great intellectual contributions, the fundamental notion of "the common good"—in short, the human will toward peace and justice—DeCrane demonstrates the currency of that notion through a contemporary social issue: women's health care in the United States and, specifically, black women and breast cancer. In her skillful re-engagement with Aquinas, DeCrane shows that certain aspects of religious traditions heretofore understood as oppressive to women and minority groups can actually be parsed, "retrieved," and used to rectify social ills.
Aquinas, Feminism, and the Common Good is a bold and intellectually rigorous feminist retrieval of an important text by a Catholic scholar seeking to remain in the tradition, while demanding that the tradition live up to its emphasis on human equity and justice.
Aquinas: God and Action
David B. Burrell C.S.C. University of Scranton Press, 2008 Library of Congress BT103.T4B87 2008 | Dewey Decimal 231.042
First published 30 years ago and long out of print, Aquinas: God and Action appears here for the first time in paperback. This classic volume by eminent philosopher and theologian David Burrell argues that Aquinas’s is not the god of Greek metaphysics, but a god of both being and activity. Aquinas’s plan in the Summa Theologiae, according to Burrell, is to instruct humans how to find eternal happiness through acts of knowing and loving. Featuring a new foreword by the author, this edition will be welcomed by philosophers and theologians alike.
Aquinas on Crime
Charles P. Nemeth St. Augustine's Press, 2008 Library of Congress K447.T45N463 2008 | Dewey Decimal 345
Not much escapes the intellect and imagination of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. Whether it be love, children, education, moral reasoning, happiness or the proper dispositions for human existence, St. Thomas seems an expert in all of it. Crime and criminal conduct are no exceptions to this general tendency with him. Not only does he have much to say about it, what he relates is perpetually fresh and surely the bedrock of what is now taken for granted. In this short treatise, the focus targets St. Thomas’s criminal codification – his law of crimes.
Indeed the magnanimity of his crimes code is a subject matter not yet treated in any detail in the scholarly literature. While parts and pieces are covered in many quarters, the literature has yet to develop a systematic, codified examination of Thomistic criminal law. The essence of the endeavor is threefold: first, how does St. Thomas factor the nature of the human person into the concept of criminal culpability and personal responsibility; second, what types of criminal conduct does St. Thomas specifically delineate and define; and lastly, what is Thomas’s view of mitigation and defense, as well as the corresponding punishment meted out for criminal conduct? This short commentary zeroes in on Thomistic Criminal Law – a project which will illuminate the root, the heritage and the foundation of modern criminal codification.
Aquinas on Emotion’s Participation in Reason aims to present Aquinas’s answer to the perennial and now popular question: In what way can the emotions be rational? For Aquinas, the starting point of this inquiry is Aristotle’s claim (EN. I. 13) that there are three parts to the soul: 1) the rational part, 2) the non-rational part which can participate in reason, and 3) the non-rational part that does not participate in reason. It is the extent to which the second part (the sense appetites, the seat of the emotions) participates in reason that the emotions can become rational. However, immediately after Aristotle introduces his tripartite division of the soul, he warns that one need not delve into the details of the division or the participation. Aquinas, however, ignores Aristotle, and uses his precise metaphysics of participation within in his sophisticated anthropology to great effect in his ethics. Unlike Aristotle, to fully understand Aquinas’s thinking on how the emotions can become rational, we simply must delve into the kinds of precisions that Aristotle thinks are misplaced. When Aquinas’s views emerge from these precisions, he has a surprisingly level-headed and commonsense view of how the emotions can become rational. On this point, he is more pessimistic than Aristotle and more optimistic than Kant; he is certainly not, as is he is often thought to be, the faithful follower of Aristotle and the polar opposite of Kant. Nicholas Kahm argue that Aquinas has a realistic and plausible view of how far reason can go in shaping our emotions. Furthermore, his plausible views can accommodate the serious current challenge raised against virtue ethics from social psychology. The method has mainly been a careful reading of primary texts, but unlike the rest of the scholarship on Aquinas’s ethics, Kahm is particularly sensitive to Aquinas’s historical and philosophical development.
Aquinas on Imitation of Nature highlights and explores the doctrine of the imitation of nature, a crucial aspect of Aquinas’ metaethics and fills the gap in research on Aquinas’ moral doctrine and theory of action. It conveys Aquinas’ doctrine of the imitation of nature as a natural feature of right practical reason regarding moral thinking and action, indeed as an indispensable feature of virtuous flourishing in individual and communal aspects of human life.
The book starts with an overview of some of recent interpretations of Aquinas’ moral doctrine and natural law, introducing the need to explore the role of the imitation of nature in human practical reasoning and action in this area of Aquinas’ teaching. The chapters that follow are based on a careful reading of selected texts of Aquinas, and gradually develop a thorough and comprehensive picture of his doctrine of the imitation of nature as a source of practical principles. The final chapter provides various examples of how Aquinas understands the imitation of nature in the realm of moral reasoning and action.
The originality of this volume comes from its account of Aquinas’ medieval doctrine of the imitation of nature, in light of which the principles of right practical reason and virtuous action are congruent with and epistemologically dependant upon the basic terms of the movements of natural, sensible, non-rational agents. Through its thorough reading of Aquinas on the imitation of nature, the book aims to open new ways of appropriation of the metaphysical and natural tenets of his moral doctrine in the areas of theory of action, practical reason, natural law, and contemporary virtue ethics.
Aquinas on Prophecy argues that a lacuna exists (especially among Anglophone scholars of Aquinas) that neglects to identify his most famous work as a prophetic witness to the transformative effect of Christian theology. Through a detailed examination of Aquinas’s treatment of prophecy in the Summa Theologiae (II-II, QQ.171-174), Paul Rogers reveals how prophetic testimony is central to the understanding of Christian revelation, faith, and theology, since it presents an initial (and historically-rooted) model for a Christian pedagogy that attempts to affect intellectual and moral transformation through communicating knowledge about God.
The theologian thus conceived by Aquinas exercises analogously a prophetic, and hence social, function among Christian believers that has a special care for their spiritual and moral guidance. In contrast to readings of Aquinas that portray him as overly reliant on Aristotelian gnoseology (e.g., Jenkins 1997), Rogers lays out a reading more in line with recent ‘ressourcement’ Thomistic interpreters that identifies in his account of prophecy a creative adaptation of Arabic-Aristotelian gnoseology in the service of clarifying difficulties that had arisen in the thirteenth century surrounding the reception of a patristic (and predominantly Augustinian) tradition of prophetic illumination or vision. In the hands of Aquinas, the traditional Augustinian theory of prophetic illumination was re-envisioned and reinvigorated, which in turn allowed him to reassert confidently prophecy’s status as certain knowledge (scientia) that required its own distinct ‘light’, comparable to the light of natural reason and the lights of faith and glory.
Highlighting prophecy in Aquinas’s thought helps especially to refocus today’s readers on how knowledge of the final end as revealed was for Aquinas the ultimate moral objective shared by both the prophet and theologian: a point that is best appreciated when his account of prophecy is related back to his understanding of sacred doctrine and faith as a whole—the book’s central task.
In contemporary discussions of abortion, both sides argue well-worn positions, particularly concerning the question, When does human life begin? Though often invoked by the Catholic Church for support, Thomas Aquinas in fact held that human life begins after conception, not at the moment of union. But his overall thinking on questions of how humans come into being, and cease to be, is more subtle than either side in this polarized debate imagines. Fabrizio Amerini--an internationally renowned scholar of medieval philosophy--does justice to Aquinas's views on these controversial issues.
Some pro-life proponents hold that Aquinas's position is simply due to faulty biological knowledge, and if he knew what we know today about embryology, he would agree that human life begins at conception. Others argue that nothing Aquinas could learn from modern biology would have changed his mind. Amerini follows the twists and turns of Aquinas's thinking to reach a nuanced and detailed solution in the final chapters that will unsettle familiar assumptions and arguments.
Systematically examining all the pertinent texts and placing each in historical context, Amerini provides an accurate reconstruction of Aquinas's account of the beginning and end of human life and assesses its bioethical implications for today. This major contribution is available to an English-speaking audience through translation by Mark Henninger, himself a noted scholar of medieval philosophy.
Gregory T. Doolan provides here the first detailed consideration of the divine ideas as causal principles. He examines Thomas Aquinas's philosophical doctrine of the divine ideas and convincingly argues that it is an essential element of his metaphysics
All of us want to be happy and live well. Sometimes intense emotions affect our happiness—and, in turn, our moral lives. Our emotions can have a significant impact on our perceptions of reality, the choices we make, and the ways in which we interact with others. Can we, as moral agents, have an effect on our emotions? Do we have any choice when it comes to our emotions?
In Aquinas on the Emotions, Diana Fritz Cates shows how emotions are composed as embodied mental states. She identifies various factors, including religious beliefs, intuitions, images, and questions that can affect the formation and the course of a person's emotions. She attends to the appetitive as well as the cognitive dimension of emotion, both of which Aquinas interprets with flexibility. The result is a powerful study of Aquinas that is also a resource for readers who want to understand and cultivate the emotional dimension of their lives.
Aquinas on Transubstantiation
Reinhard Hutter Catholic University of America Press, 2019 Library of Congress BX2220.H88 2019 | Dewey Decimal 234.163
Aquinas on Transubstantiation treats one of the most frequently mis-understood and mis-represented teachings of Thomas Aquinas—Eucharistic transubstantiation. The study interprets Aquinas’s teaching as an exercise of “holy teaching” (sacra doctrina) that intends to show theologically and back up philosophically the simple yet profound thesis that “transubstantiation” affirms nothing but the truth of Christ’s words at the Last Supper—“This is my body,” “This is my blood.” Yet in order to achieve a contemporary ressourcement of this simple yet profound truth, it is necessary to probe the depths of Thomas Aquinas’s philosophical interpretation of it. For Thomas Aquinas, in regarding the truth of Eucharistic conversion, it is faith that preserves the human intellect from missing or dismissing the mystery announced in Christ’s words. Faith, however, is not intellectually blind, a faith that, as is often erroneously held, is commanded by arbitrary divine dictates to which the will submits in blind obedience. Rather, Aquinas takes faith is sustained, but not constituted, by an intellectual contemplation of the proposed mystery of faith, by faith seeking understanding. Thomas Aquinas unfolds this exercise of understanding guided by faith in the medium of a metaphysical contemplation that affords a profound intellectual appreciation of this central mystery of faith—precisely as mystery. Thomas’s metaphysical contemplation of Eucharistic conversion gestures toward the blinding light of superintelligibility, experienced as the unique darkness that surrounds this sublime mystery of faith. A ressourcement in Thomas Aquinas’s doctrine of transubstantiation also affords an renewed appreciation of the Church’s affirmation of transubstantiation as the most apt term for the interpretation of the mystery of Eucharistic conversion and a greater precision of what is centrally at stake in this mystery in the ongoing ecumenical conversation of this most central Christian teaching. A doctrinally sound, ecumenically informed, and philosophically reflected contemporary Catholic theology cannot afford to ignore or dismiss Aquinas’s surpassing account of Eucharistic conversion.
It’s frequently said that we live in a “post-truth” age. That obviously can’t be true, but it does name a real problem on our hands. Getting things right is hard, especially if they’re complicated. It takes preparation, diligence, and honesty. Wisdom, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the quality of right judgment. This book is about the problem of becoming wise, the problem “before truth.” It is about that problem particularly as it comes up for religious, philosophical, and theological truth claims. Before Truth: Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom proposes that Bernard Lonergan’s approach to these problems can help us become wise. One of the special problems facing Christian believers today is our awareness of how much our tradition has developed. This development has occurred along a path shot through with contingencies. Theologians have to be able to articulate how and why doctrines, institutions, and practices that have developed—and are still developing—should nevertheless be worthy of our assent and devotion.
Boethius and Aquinas
Ralph McInerny Catholic University of America Press, 2012 Library of Congress B659.Z7M35 2012 | Dewey Decimal 189
In this study of the relationship between Boethius and Thomas Aquinas, Ralph McInerny dispels the notion that Aquinas misunderstood the early philosopher and argues instead that he learned from Boethius, assimilated his ideas, and proved to be a reliable interpreter of his thought.
The Ethics of Aquinas
Stephen J. Pope, Editor Georgetown University Press, 2002 Library of Congress B765.T53S8164 2002 | Dewey Decimal 241.042092
In this comprehensive anthology, twenty-seven outstanding scholars from North America and Europe address every major aspect of Thomas Aquinas's understanding of morality and comment on his remarkable legacy. While there has been a revival of interest in recent years in the ethics of St. Thomas, no single work has yet fully examined the basic moral arguments and content of Aquinas' major moral work, the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae. This work fills that lacuna.
The first chapters of The Ethics of Aquinas introduce readers to the sources, methods, and major themes of Aquinas's ethics. The second part of the book provides an extended discussion of ideas in the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae, in which contributors present cogent interpretations of the structure, major arguments, and themes of each of the treatises. The third and final part examines aspects of Thomistic ethics in the twentieth century and beyond.
These essays reflect a diverse group of scholars representing a variety of intellectual perspectives. Contributors span numerous fields of study, including intellectual history, medieval studies, moral philosophy, religious ethics, and moral theology. This remarkable variety underscores how interpretations of Thomas's ethics continue to develop and evolve—and stimulate fervent discussion within the academy and the church.
This volume is aimed at scholars, students, clergy, and all those who continue to find Aquinas a rich source of moral insight.
Christian satisfaction stands at the center of the Church’s teaching about salvation. Satisfaction pertains to studies about Christ, redemption, the Sacraments, and pastoral practice. The topic also enters into questions about God and the creature as well as about the divine mercy and providence. Somewhat neglected in the period after Vatican II, satisfaction now appears to scholars as the forgotten key to entering deeply into the mystery of Christ and his work. Seminarians especially will benefit from studying the place satisfaction holds in Catholic life.
Further, ecumenical work requires a proper understanding of the place that satisfaction holds in Christian theology. Various factors operative since the sixteenth century have worked to displace satisfaction almost entirely from reformed practice and theology. To address such concerns, The Godly Image, has, over the past several decades and more, done a great deal to put satisfaction within its proper context of image-restoration. That is, to interpret satisfaction within the context of the divine mercy and not the divine justice. This unique contribution to satisfaction studies owes a great deal to the achievement of Saint Thomas Aquinas. In this sense, the book enacts a retrieval of the theology of the high classical period. Like much of Aquinas’s refined teaching, a proper understanding requires appeal to the commentatorial tradition that follows him. Interested students will find in this study the touchstones for further studies of these authors.
The Godly Image aims also to distinguish the theology of Aquinas from that of the medieval author with whom the notion of satisfaction remains mostly identified, that is, Anselm of Canterbury. Although not a developed focus of the book’s contents, the attentive reader will recognize that Aquinas treats Saint Anselm with a reverential reading, even as the Common Doctor moves significantly away from interpretations of satisfaction that suggest that an angry God exacts from his innocent Son a painful substitutional penalty for a fallen human race.
Voegelin's magisterial account of medieval political thought opens with a survey of the structure of the period and continues with an analysis of the Germanic invasions, the fall of Rome, and the rise of empire and monastic Christianity. The political implications of Christianity and philosophy in the period are elaborated in chapters devoted to John of Salisbury, Joachim of Flora (Fiore), Frederick II, Siger de Brabant, Francis of Assisi, Roman law, and climaxing in a remarkable study of Saint Thomas Aquinas's mighty thirteenth-century synthesis.
Although History of Political Ideas was begun as a textbook for Macmillan, Voegelin never intended it to be a conventional chronological account. He sought instead an original comprehensive interpretation, founded on primary materials and taking into account the most advanced specialist scholarship—or science as he called it—available to him. Because of this, the book grew well beyond the confines of an easily marketable college survey and until now remained unpublished.
In the process of writing it, Voegelin himself outgrew the conceptual frame of a "History of Political Ideas," turning to compose Order and History and the other works of his maturity. History of Political Ideas became the ordered collection of materials from which much of Voegelin's later theoretical elaboration grew, structured in a manner that reveals the conceptual intimations of his later thought. As such, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to observe the working methods and the intellectual evolution of one of our century's leading political thinkers. In its embracing scope, History of Political Ideas contains both analyses of themes Voegelin developed in his later works and discussions of authors and ideas to which he did not return or which he later approached from a different angle and with a different emphasis.
The Middle Ages to Aquinas has withstood the test of time. What makes it still highly valuable is its thoroughly revisionist approach, cutting through all the convenient clichés and generalizations and seeking to establish the experiential underpinnings that typified the medieval period.
Focusing on the Summa theologiae, Nicholas Lombardo contributes to the recovery, reconstruction, and critique of Aquinas's account of emotion in dialogue with both the Thomist tradition and contemporary analytic philosophy
The Metaphysical Foundations of Love: Aquinas on Participation, Unity, and Union offers a systematic treatment of St. Thomas Aquinas’s account of the metaphysical relations of unity-to-union and unity-to-participation in God as the key structuring elements to the nature of love and friendship. In general, Aquinas identifies love as the source and summit of the life of each human being. Everything in the created realm issues forth from God’s creative love, and the ultimate end of all human persons is the greatest possible union with God. Aquinas contends that the love of friendship allows for the greatest union between two persons; thus, the greatest union with God takes the form of friendship with him.
Neither Nature nor Grace operates at the intersection of systematic and philosophical theology, exploring in particular how St. Thomas Aquinas variously uses the latter in service to the clarification and faithful advancement of the former. More specifically, Neither Nature nor Grace explores the overlooked logical difficulties that have followed the late modern debates in ecumenical Christian theology as to whether knowledge of God is available solely through God’s gracious self-revelation (e.g., Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture), or through revelation and the deliverances of natural reason. Van Wart takes the prominent French Dominican Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange as paradigmatic for the case that knowledge of God can be had by both revelation and natural reason. Representing the opposing position, that God can only be known through divine revelation, Van Wart highlights the work of influential Protestant theologian Karl Barth. By placing these two imposing 20th century theologians in conversation, and by providing a careful theo-philosophical analysis of the logical mechanics of each thinker’s respective arguments, Van Wart shows how both inadvertently overreach their self-professed epistemological bounds and just so run into significant problems maintaining the coherence of their relative theological positions. That is, against their expressed intentions to the contrary, both thinkers unwittingly evacuate the divine essence of the mystery Christian tradition has always previously claimed it to have, effectively reducing the being of God to mere creaturely being writ large. As a contrasting corrective to this problem, Van Wart proffers a constructive grammatical reading of Aquinas’s measured account of the crucial but often overlooked logical differences between what can be said of the divine, on the one hand, versus what can be known of God, on the other. While many recent works have attempted to solve the ongoing arguments which Garrigou-Lagrange and Barth epitomize regarding the epistemic use of God’s effects, Van Wart’s contribution constructively pushes the conversation to a different level in showing how Aquinas’s grammar of God provides a salutary means of dissolving and moving beyond these contentious debates altogether.
In this lecture course, Reiner Schürmann develops the idea that, in between the spiritual Carolingian Renaissance and the secular humanist Renaissance, there was a distinctive medieval Renaissance connected with the rediscovery of Aristotle. Focusing on Thomas Aquinas’s ontology and epistemology, William of Ockham’s conceptualism, and Meister Eckhart’s speculative mysticism, Schürmann shows how thought began to break free from religion and the hierarchies of the feudal, neo-Platonic order and devote its attention to otherness and singularity. A crucial supplement to Schürmann’s magnum opus Broken Hegemonies, Neo-Aristotelianism and the Medieval Renaissance will be essential reading for anyone interested in the rise and fall of Western principles, and thus in how to think and act today.
“How I wept at your hymns and songs, keenly moved by the sweet-sounding voices of your church!” wrote the recently converted Augustine in his Confessions. Christians from the earliest period consecrated the hours of the day and the sacred calendar, liturgical seasons and festivals of saints. This volume collects one hundred of the most important and beloved Late Antique and Medieval Latin hymns from Western Europe.
These religious voices span a geographical range that stretches from Ireland through France to Spain and Italy. They meditate on the ineffable, from Passion to Paradise, in love and trembling and praise. The authors represented here range from Ambrose in the late fourth century ce down to Bonaventure in the thirteenth. The texts cover a broad gamut in their poetic forms and meters. Although often the music has not survived, most of them would have been sung. Some of them have continued to inspire composers, such as the great thirteenth-century hymns, the Stabat mater and Dies irae.
The book offers a renewed, classic vision of the human person and the ordering of the sciences as read through the complementary and, at one level, corrective insights of empirical psychosocial studies on resilience.
The Wayfarer’s End follows the human person’s journey to union with God in the theologies of Saint Bonaventure and Saint Thomas Aquinas. It argues that these seminal thinkers of the 13th Century emphasize scriptural notions of divine rewards as ordering principles for the graced movement of human viators to eternal life. Divine rewards emerge as a fundamental category through the study’s emphasis on Thomas and Bonaventure as scriptural commentators and preachers whose work in sacra pagina structures the content of their sacra doctrina. Shawn Colberg places Bonaventure’s and Aquinas’s scriptural, dogmatic, and polemical works into conversation and illumines their mutually edifying depictions of the way to eternal life.
Looking to the journey itself, The Wayfarer’s End demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the roles played by God and human beings in the movement to full beatitude. To that end, it explores the relationships between grace and human nature, the effects of sin on the human person, the vital themes of predestination, conversion, perseverance, and the place of “reward-worthy” human action within the overall movement toward union with God. While St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas both stress the priority of grace and divine action for the journey, the study also illustrates their distinct frameworks for human action, unpacking Bonaventure’s preference for the language of acceptatio versus Thomas’s emphasis on ordinatio. This difference inflects their language of rewards, their exposition of scripture, and the scope of free human action in the movement to union with God.
This study places the two most seminal theologians of the 13th Century into conversation on central and enduring topics of Christian life. Such a comparative study has been sorely lacking in the field of studies on Aquinas and Bonaventure. It offers insight to those interested in high scholastic thought, Franciscan and Dominican understandings of human salvation, and Thomist and Franciscan theology as it pertains to questions of the Reformation, including biblical exegesis on justification and sanctification. Above all, the study appreciates and foregrounds the richness of Bonaventure’s and Aquinas’s vocations: mendicant theologians concerned to share the fruits of contemplation with fellow friars and others seeking the goal of the wayfarer’s end.