John the Baptist 27 AD "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2) 27 AD "Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?" (Matthew 3:7) 27 AD "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees." (Matthew 3:10) 27 AD "His winnowing fork is in His hand." (Matthew 3:12) 27 AD "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) 27 AD "The kingdom of God is at hand." (Mark 1:15) 27 AD “Who warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” (Luke 3:7) 27 AD “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees. " (Luke 3:9) 27 AD "His winnowing fork is in His hand…." (Luke 3:17) Jesus the Christ 28 AD "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10:7) 28 AD "You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes." (Matthew 10:23) 28 AD "....the age about to come." (Matthew 12:32) 28 AD “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:9) 28 AD “The kingdom of God has come near.” (Luke 10:11) 30 AD "The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:27) 30 AD "There are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:28; cf. Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27) 30 AD "'When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?' '....He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.' '....Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.' ....When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them." (Matthew 21:40-41,43,45) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place." (Matthew 24:34) 30 AD "From now on, you [Caiaphas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the whole Sanhedrin] shall be seeing the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69) 30 AD "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. ....They [the chief priests, scribes and elders] understood that He spoke the parable against them." (Mark 12:9,12) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mark 13:30) 30 AD “What, therefore, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others." …The scribes and the chief priests …understood that He spoke this parable against them.” (Luke 20:15-16,19) 30 AD “These are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22) 30 AD "This generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Luke 21:32) 30 AD "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'” (Luke 23:28-30; Compare Revelation 6:14-17) 30 AD "I will come to you. …In that Day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.' …'Lord, what then has happened that You are about to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?'" (John 14:18,20,22) 30 AD "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:22) The Disciples 30 AD "We were hoping that He was the One who is about to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21) Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles 52 AD “…we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord… …We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… …You, brethren, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17; 5:4) 52 AD “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) 52 AD “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire.” (2 Thessaloniams 1:6-7) 56 AD “The time has been shortened.” (1 Corinthians 7:29) 56 AD “The form of this world is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:31) 56 AD “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) 56 AD “We shall not all fall sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) 56 AD "Maranatha!" [The Lord comes!] (1 Corinthians 16:22) 56 AD “Godliness …holds promise for the present life and that which is about to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) 56 AD “I charge you …that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 6:14) 56 AD “…storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for that which is about to come, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:19) 57 AD “He has fixed a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness…” (Acts 17:31) 58 AD “Not for [Abraham's] sake only was it written, that [faith] was reckoned to him [as righteousness], but for our sake also, to whom it is about to be reckoned.” (Romans 4:23-24) 58 AD “If you are living according to the flesh, you are about to die.” (Romans 8:13) 58 AD “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) 58 AD "It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand." (Romans 13:11-12) 58 AD “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” (Romans 16:20) 60 AD “There is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15) 60 AD “As he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment about to come…" (Acts 24:25) 61 AD "...not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.” (Ephesians 1:21) 61 AD “In the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self… …Avoid these men. For of these are those who enter into households and captivate weak women… …These also oppose the truth… …But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all…” (2 Timothy 3:1-2,5-6,8-9) 61 AD “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is about to judge the living and the dead…” (2 Timothy 4:1) 62 AD “The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5) 62 AD "The gospel …was proclaimed in all creation under heaven." (Colossians 1:23; Compare Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:18; 16:26; Colossians 1:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:17; Revelation 14:6-7; cf. I Clement 5,7) 62 AD “…things which are a shadow of what is about to come.” (Colossians 2:16-17) 63 AD “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) 63 AD “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who are about to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14) 63 AD “He did not subject to angels the world about to come.” (Hebrews 2:5) 63 AD “…and have tasted …the powers of the age about to come.” (Hebrews 6:5) 63 AD "For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near a curse, and it's end is for burning.” (Hebrews 6:7-8) 63 AD “When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13) 63 AD “The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way of the [heavenly] Holy Places has not yet been revealed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.” (Hebrews 9:8-10; Compare Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 2:21-22; 3:17; 4:13) 63 AD “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things about to come…” (Hebrews 9:11) 63 AD “Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin.” (Hebrews 9:26) 63 AD “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things about to come…” (Hebrews 10:1) 63 AD “…as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) 63 AD “…the fury of a fire which is about to consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:27) 63 AD “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” (Hebrews 10:37) 63 AD “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the one that is about to come.” (Hebrews 13:14) Peter the Apostle to the Circumcision 30 AD “This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'And it shall be in the last days…'” (Acts 2:16-17) 62 AD “…salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5) 62 AD “He …has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (1 Peter 1:20) 62 AD “In the last days mockers will come. …For this they willingly are ignorant of…” (1 Peter 3:3,5) 62 AD “They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5) 62 AD “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7) 62 AD "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.” (1 Peter 4:17) 62 AD “…as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is about to be revealed.” (1 Peter 5:1) 62 AD “We have the prophetic word …which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19) 62 AD “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3) 62 AD “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (2 Peter 3:10-12) James 62 AD "Speak and so act, as those who are about to be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:12) 62 AD “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. …It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (James 5:1,3) 62 AD “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” (James. 5:7) 62 AD “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James. 5:8) Jude the brother of James 62 AD “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation. …About these also Enoch …prophesied, saying, 'Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly…'” (Jude 1:4,14-15) 62 AD “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, 'In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.' These are the ones who cause divisions…” (Jude 1:17-19) John the Apostle whom Jesus loved 62 AD “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (1 John 2:8) 62 AD “The world is passing away, and its desires.” (1 John 2:17) 62 AD “It is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) 62 AD “Even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18; Compare Matthew 24:23-34) 62 AD “This is that of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3; Compare 2 Thessaloniams 2:7) 63 AD “…to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 1:1) 63 AD “The time is near.” (Revelation 1:3) 63 AD “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.” (Revelation 2:25) 63 AD “I also will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world.” (Revelation 3:10) 63 AD “I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 3:11) 63 AD “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” (Revelation 12:5) 63 AD "And in her [the Great City Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." (Revelation 18:24; Compare Matthew 23:35-36; Luke 11:50-51) 63 AD “…to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 22:6) 63 AD "Behold, I am coming quickly. " (Revelation 22:7) 63 AD "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." (Revelation 22:10; Compare Daniel 8:26) 63 AD "Behold, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:12) 63 AD "Yes, I am coming quickly." (Revelation 22:20)

1225-1274AD Thomas Aquinas

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas

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Western Philosophers
Medieval Philosophy
Depiction of St. Thomas Aquinas from The Demidoff Altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli

Name

Thomas Aquinas

Birth

c. 28 January 1225 (Castle of Roccasecca, near Aquino, Italy)

Death

7 March 1274 (Fossanova Abbey, Lazio, Italy)

School/tradition

Scholasticism, Founder of Thomism

Main interests

Metaphysics (incl. Theology), Logic, Mind, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics

Notable ideas

Five Proofs for God's Existence, Principle of double effect

Influences

Aristotle, Albertus Magnus, Paul the Apostle, Boethius, Eriugena, Anselm, Averroes, Maimonides, St. Augustine, Algazel, Avicenna, John of Damascus

Influenced

Giles of Rome, Godfrey of Fontaines, Jacques Maritain, G. E. M. Anscombe, Meister Eckhart, John Locke, Dante, G. K. Chesterton

Thomas Aquinas, O.P.(also Saint Thomas Aquinas, Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. 12257 March 1274) was an Italian Catholic priest in the Order of Preachers (more commonly known as the Dominican Order), a philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Universalis and Doctor Communis. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology.

Aquinas is held in the Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood (Code of Canon Law, Can. 252, §3). The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. One of the 33 Doctors of the Church, he is considered by many Catholics to be the Catholic Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Consequently, many institutions of learning have been named after him.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Aquinas was born around 1225 at his father Count Landulf's castle of Roccasecca in the kingdom of Naples, in the present-day Regione Lazio. Through his mother, Theodora Countess of Theate, Aquinas was related to the Hohenstaufen dynasty of Holy Roman emperors.[1] Landulf's brother Sinibald was abbot of the original Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino. The family intended for Aquinas to follow his uncle into that position. This would have been a normal career path for a younger son of southern Italian nobility.[1]

At the age of five, Aquinas began his early education at the monastery. When he was 16, he left the University of Naples, where he had studied for six years. Aquinas had come under the influence of the Dominicans, who wished to enlist the ablest young scholars of the age. The Dominicans and the Franciscans represented a revolutionary challenge to the well-established clerical systems of Medieval Europe.[1]

Aquinas's change of heart did not please his family. On the way to Rome, his brothers seized him and took him back to his parents at the castle of San Giovanni. He was held captive for a year so he would renounce his new aspiration. According to Aquinas's earliest biographers, the family even brought a woman to tempt him, but he drove her away. Finally, Pope Innocent IV intervened, and Aquinas assumed the habit of St. Dominic in his seventeenth year.[1]

His superiors saw his great aptitude for theological study. In late 1244, they sent him to the Dominican school in Cologne, where Albertus Magnus was lecturing on philosophy and theology. In 1245, Aquinas accompanied Albertus to the University of Paris, where they remained for three years. During this time, Aquinas threw himself into the controversy between the university and the Friar-Preachers about the liberty of teaching. Aquinas actively resisted the university's speeches and pamphlets. When the Pope was alerted of this dispute, the Dominicans selected Aquinas to defend his order. He did so with great success. He even overcame the arguments of Guillaume de St Amour, the champion of the university, and one of the most celebrated men of the day.[1]

Aquinas then graduated as a bachelor of theology. In 1248, he returned to Cologne, where he was appointed second lecturer and magister studentium. This year marks the beginning of his literary activity and public life.[1]

For several years, Aquinas remained with Albertus Magnus. Aquinas's long association with this great philosopher-theologian was the most important influence in his development. In the end, he became a comprehensive scholar who permanently utilized Aristotle's method.[1]

[edit] Career

In 1252, Aquinas went to Paris for his master's degree. He had some difficulty because the professoriate of the university was attacking the mendicant orders, but ultimately, he received the degree.

In 1256, Aquinas, along with his friend Bonaventura, was named doctor of theology and began to lecture on theology in Paris and Rome and other Italian towns. From this time on, his life was one of incessant toil. Aquinas continually served in his order, frequently made long and tedious journeys, and constantly advised the reigning pontiff on affairs of state.[1]

In 1259, Aquinas was present at an important meeting of his order at Valenciennes. At the solicitation of Pope Urban IV, he moved to Rome no earlier than late 1261. In 1263, he attended the London meeting of the Dominican order. In 1268, he lectured in Rome and Bologna. Throughout these years, he remained engaged in the public business of the Catholic Church.[2]

From 1269 to 1271, Aquinas was again active in Paris. He lectured to the students, managed the affairs of the Catholic Church, and advised the king, Louis VIII, his kinsman, on affairs of state.[3] In 1272, the provincial chapter at Florence empowered him to begin a new studium generale at a location of his choice. Later, the chief of his order and King Charles II brought him back to the professor's chair at Naples.[4]

All this time, Aquinas preached every day, and he wrote homilies, disputations, and lectures. He also worked diligently on his great literary work, the Summa Theologica. The Catholic Church offered to make him archbishop of Naples and abbot of Monte Cassino, but he refused both.[3]

It should be noted that, as a Dominican Friar, Aquinas was supposed to participate in the mortification process. He did not; a remarkable thing considering how devoted to his faith he was known to be. At his canonization trial, it became evident he did not practice such rites. "The forty-two witnesses at the canonization trial had little to report concerning extraordinary acts of penance, sensational deeds, and mortifications...they could only repeat unanimously, again and again: Thomas had been a pure person, humble, simple, peace-loving, given to contemplation, moderate, a lover of poetry". These endearing qualities helped him in his beatification. The witnesses praised Thomas for his rational thought.

St. Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico
St. Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico

Aquinas had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. At this point, he set aside his Summa. When asked why he had stopped writing, Aquinas replied, "I cannot go on […] All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me."[citation needed] Later, others reported that Aquinas heard a voice from a cross that told him he had written well. On one occasion, monks claimed to have found him levitating. The twentieth century Catholic writer/convert G. K. Chesterton describes these and other stories in his work on Aquinas, The Dumb Ox, a title based on early impressions that Aquinas was not proficient in speech. Chesterton quotes Albertus Magnus' refutation of these impressions: "You call him 'a dumb ox,' but I declare before you that he will yet bellow so loud in doctrine that his voice will resound through the whole world."[5]

Aquinas had a dark complexion, large head and receding hairline, and he was of large stature. His manners showed his breeding, for people described him as refined, affable, and lovable. It was told that he was so fat that in order for him to reach food on the table, they had to cut a bay into the wood (citation in "Bildung: Alles was man wissen muss" from Schwanitz, also see other sources online and the biographies). He also suffered from endema and one eye was bigger than the other. In arguments, he maintained self-control and won over his opponents by his personality and great learning. His tastes were simple. He impressed his associates with his power of memory. When absorbed in thought, he often forgot his surroundings, but he was able to express his thoughts systematically, clearly, and simply. Because of his keen grasp of his materials, Aquinas does not, like Duns Scotus, make the reader his companion in the search for truth. Rather, he teaches authoritatively. On the other hand, he felt dissatisfied by the insufficiency of his works as compared to the divine revelations he had received.[4]

[edit] Death and canonization

In January 1274, Pope Gregory X directed Aquinas to attend the Second Council of Lyons. Aquinas's task was to investigate and, if possible, settle the differences between the Greek and Latin churches. Far from healthy, he undertook the journey. On the way, he stopped at the castle of a niece and there became seriously ill. Aquinas desired to end his days in a monastery. However, he was unable to reach a house of the Dominicans, so he was taken to the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova. After a lingering illness of seven weeks, Aquinas died on March 7, 1274.[4]

Dante (Purg. xx. 69) asserts that Aquinas was poisoned by the order of Charles of Anjou. Villani (ix. 218) quotes this belief, and the Anonimo Fiorentino describes the crime and its motive. But the historian Muratori reproduced the account of one of Aquinas's friends, and this version of the story gives no hint of foul play.[3]

Aquinas made a remarkable impression on all who knew him. He received the title doctor angelicas (Angelic Doctor).[4] In The Divine Comedy, Dante sees the glorified spirit of Aquinas in the Heaven of the Sun with the other great exemplars of religious wisdom.

In 1319, the Catholic Church began preliminary investigations to Aquinas's canonization. On July 18, 1323, Pope John XXII pronounced Aquinas's sainthood at Avignon.[4] In 1567, Pope Pius V ranked the festival of St. Thomas Aquinas with those of the four great Latin fathers: Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory.

Aquinas's Summa Theologica was deemed so important that at the Council of Trent, it was placed upon the altar beside the Bible and the Decretals.[6] Only Augustine has had an equal influence on the theological thought and language of the Western Catholic church. In his Encyclical of August 4, 1879, Pope Leo XIII stated that Aquinas's theology was a definitive exposition of Catholic doctrine. Thus, he directed the clergy to take the teachings of Aquinas as the basis of their theological positions. Also, Leo XIII decreed that all Catholic seminaries and universities must teach Aquinas's doctrines, and where Aquinas did not speak on a topic, the teachers were "urged to teach conclusions that were reconcilable with his thinking."

In 1880, Aquinas was declared patron of all Catholic educational establishments. In a monastery at Naples, near the cathedral of St. Januarius, a cell in which he supposedly lived is still shown to visitors. Aquinas's feast day was changed after Vatican II to January 28. Until then, and still observed by traditionalists, his feast day was on the day of his death, March 7. His remains were placed in the Church of the Jacobins in Toulouse in 1369. Between 1789 and 1974, they were held in Saint Sernin basilica of Toulouse. In 1974, they were returned to the Church of the Jacobins, where they have remained ever since.

[edit] Philosophy

Thomas Aquinas 17th century sculpture
Thomas Aquinas 17th century sculpture
"Nihil est in intellectu quod non sit prius in sensu." (Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses) – Aquinas's peripatetic axiom

The philosophy of Aquinas has exerted enormous influence on subsequent Christian theology, especially that of the Catholic Church, extending to Western philosophy in general, where he stands as a vehicle and modifier of Aristotelianism. Philosophically, his most important and enduring work is the Summa Theologica, in which he expounds his systematic theology of the quinquae viae.

[edit] Epistemology

Aquinas believed "that for the knowledge of any truth whatsoever man needs Divine help, that the intellect may be moved by God to its act." However, he believed that human beings have the natural capacity to know many things without special divine revelation, even though such revelation occurs from time to time, "especially in regard to [topics of] faith."[7] Aquinas was also an Aristotelian and an empiricist. He substantially influenced these two streams of Western thought.

[edit] Revelation

Aquinas believed that truth is known through reason (natural revelation) and faith (supernatural revelation). Supernatural revelation is revealed through the prophets, Holy Scripture, and the Magisterium, the sum of which is called "tradition". Natural revelation is the truth available to all people through their human nature; certain truths all men can attain from correct human reasoning. For example, he felt this applied to rational proofs for the existence of God.

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Though one may deduce the existence of God and His Attributes (One, Truth, Good, Power, Knowledge) through reason, certain specifics may be known only through special revelation (Like the Trinity). In Aquinas's view, special revelation is equivalent to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The major theological components of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are revealed in the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Scriptures and may not otherwise be deduced.

Special revelation (faith) and natural revelation (reason) are complementary rather than contradictory in nature, for they pertain to the same unity: truth.

[edit] Analogy

An important element in Aquinas's philosophy is his theory of analogy. Aquinas noted three forms of descriptive language: univocal, analogical, and equivocal.[8]

  • Univocality is the use of a descriptor in the same sense when applied to two objects.
  • Analogy, Aquinas maintained, occurs when a descriptor changes some but not all of its meaning. Analogy is necessary when talking about God, for some of the aspects of the divine nature are hidden (Deus absconditus) and others revealed (Deus revelatus) to finite human minds. In Aquinas's mind, we can know about God through his creation (general revelation), but only in an analogous manner. We can speak of God's goodness only by understanding that goodness as applied to humans is similar to, but not identical with, the goodness of God.[9]
  • Equivocation is the complete change in meaning of the descriptor and is an informal fallacy.

[edit] Ethics

Aquinas's ethics are based on the concept of "first principles of action."[10] In his Summa Theologica, he wrote:

Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power. Now a thing's perfection is considered chiefly in regard to its end. But the end of power is act. Wherefore power is said to be perfect, according as it is determinate to its act.[11]

Aquinas defined the four cardinal virtues as prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. The cardinal virtues are natural and revealed in nature, and they are binding on everyone. There are, however, three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. These are supernatural and are distinct from other virtues in their object, namely, God:

Now the object of the theological virtues is God Himself, Who is the last end of all, as surpassing the knowledge of our reason. On the other hand, the object of the intellectual and moral virtues is something comprehensible to human reason. Wherefore the theological virtues are specifically distinct from the moral and intellectual virtues.[12]

Furthermore, Aquinas distinguished four kinds of law: eternal, natural, human, and divine. Eternal law is the decree of God that governs all creation. Natural law is the human "participation" in the eternal law and is discovered by reason.[13] Natural law, of course, is based on "first principles":

. . . this is the first precept of the law, that good is to be done and promoted, and evil is to be avoided. All other precepts of the natural law are based on this . . .[14]

The desire to live and to procreate are counted by Aquinas among those basic (natural) human values on which all human values are based.

Human law is positive law: the natural law applied by governments to societies. Divine law is the specially revealed law in the scriptures.

Aquinas also greatly influenced Catholic understandings of mortal and venial sins.

Aquinas denied that human beings have any duty of charity to animals because they are not persons. Otherwise, it would be unlawful to use them for food. But this does not give us license to be cruel to them, for "cruel habits might carry over into our treatment of human beings."[15]

[edit] Theology

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Aquinas viewed theology, or the sacred doctrine, as a science, the raw material data of which consists of written scripture and the tradition of the Catholic church. These sources of data were produced by the self-revelation of God to individuals and groups of people throughout history. Faith and reason, while distinct but related, are the two primary tools for processing the data of theology. Aquinas believed both were necessary - or, rather, that the confluence of both was necessary - for one to obtain true knowledge of God. Aquinas blended Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine by suggesting that rational thinking and the study of nature, like revelation, were valid ways to understand God. According to Aquinas, God reveals himself through nature, so to study nature is to study God. The ultimate goals of theology, in Aquinas’ mind, are to use reason to grasp the truth about God and to experience salvation through that truth.

[edit] Nature of God

Aquinas felt that the existence of God is neither self-evident nor beyond proof. In the Summa Theologica, he considered in great detail five rational proofs for the existence of God. These are widely known as the quinquae viae, or the "Five Ways."

Concerning the nature of God, Aquinas felt the best approach, commonly called the via negativa, is to consider what God is not. This led him to propose five positive statements about the divine qualities:[16]

  1. God is simple, without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.
  2. God is perfect, lacking nothing. That is, God is distinguished from other beings on account of God's complete actuality.
  3. God is infinite. That is, God is not finite in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited. This infinity is to be distinguished from infinity of size and infinity of number.
  4. God is immutable, incapable of change on the levels of God's essence and character.
  5. God is one, without diversification within God's self. The unity of God is such that God's essence is the same as God's existence. In Aquinas's words, "in itself the proposition 'God exists' is necessarily true, for in it subject and predicate are the same."

In this approach, he is following, among others, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides.[17]

[edit] Nature of the Trinity

Aquinas argued that God, while perfectly united, also is perfectly described by three interrelated persons. These three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are constituted by their relations within the essence of God. The Father generates the Son (or the Word) by the relation of self-awareness. This eternal generation then produces an eternal Spirit "who enjoys the divine nature as the Love of God, the Love of the Father for the Word."

This Trinity exists independently from the world. It transcends the created world, but the Trinity also decided to communicate God's self and God's goodness to human beings. This takes place through the Incarnation of the Word in the person of Jesus Christ and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (indeed, the very essence of the Trinity itself) within those who have experienced salvation by God.[18]

[edit] Nature of Jesus Christ

In the Summa Theologica, Aquinas begins his discussion of Jesus Christ by recounting the biblical story of Adam and Eve and by describing the negative effects of original sin. The purpose of Christ's Incarnation was to restore human nature by removing "the contamination of sin", which humans cannot do by themselves. "Divine Wisdom judged it fitting that God should become man, so that thus one and the same person would be able both to restore man and to offer satisfaction."[19]

Aquinas argued against several specific contemporary and historical theologians who held differing views about Christ. In response to Photinus, Aquinas stated that Jesus was truly divine and not simply a human being. Against Nestorius, who suggested that God merely inhabited the body of Christ, Aquinas argued that the fullness of God was an integral part of Christ's existence. However, countering Apollinaris' views, Aquinas held that Christ had a truly human (rational) soul, as well. This produced a duality of natures in Christ, contrary to the teachings of Arius. Aquinas argued against Eutyches that this duality persisted after the Incarnation. Aquinas stated that these two natures existed simultaneously yet distinguishably in one real human body, unlike the teachings of Manichaeus and Valentinus.[20]

In short, "Christ had a real body of the same nature of ours, a true rational soul, and, together with these, perfect deity." Thus, there is both unity (in his one hypostasis) and diversity (in his two natures, human and divine) in Christ.[21]

[edit] Goal of human life

In Aquinas's thought, the goal of human existence is union and eternal fellowship with God. Specifically, this goal is achieved through the beatific vision, an event in which a person experiences perfect, unending happiness by comprehending the very essence of God. This vision, which occurs after death, is a gift from God given to those who have experienced salvation and redemption through Christ while living on earth.

This ultimate goal carries implications for one's present life on earth. Aquinas stated that an individual's will must be ordered toward right things, such as charity, peace, and holiness. He sees this as the way to happiness. Aquinas orders his treatment of the moral life around the idea of happiness. The relationship between will and goal is antecedent in nature "because rectitude of the will consists in being duly ordered to the last end [that is, the beatific vision]." Those who truly seek to understand and see God will necessarily love what God loves. Such love requires morality and bears fruit in everyday human choices.[22]

[edit] Modern influence

Many modern ethicists both within and outside the Catholic Church (notably Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre) have recently commented on the possible use of Aquinas's virtue ethics as a way of avoiding utilitarianism or Kantian deontology. Through the work of twentieth century philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe (especially in her book Intention), Aquinas's principle of double effect specifically and his theory of intentional activity generally have been influential.

It is remarkable that Aquinas's aesthetic theories, especially the concept of claritas, deeply influenced the literary practice of modernist writer James Joyce, who used to extol Aquinas as being second only to Aristotle among Western philosophers. The influence of Aquinas's aesthetics also can be found in the works of the Italian semiotician Umberto Eco, who wrote an essay on aesthetic ideas in Aquinas (published in 1956 and republished in 1988 in a revised edition).

[edit] Other views

[edit] Sacraments

For Aquinas' writing justifying the sacraments, see Aquinas and the Sacraments.

[edit] Various topics

For Aquinas' discussion of the death penalty, usury, existentialism, and forced baptism of the children of Jews and other heretics, see Thought of Thomas Aquinas Part I.

[edit] Biographies

Many biographies of Aquinas have been written over the centuries, one of the most notable by G. K. Chesterton.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Philip Schaff, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953), vol. XI, p. 422.
  2. ^ Schaff, pp. 422-423.
  3. ^ a b c "Aquinas, Thomas", Encyclopædia Britannica (1911), pg. 250.
  4. ^ a b c d e Schaff, p. 423.
  5. ^ Fr. Placid Conway, O.P., Saint Thomas Aquinas (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1911), chapter 2.
  6. ^ Will Durant, The Age of Faith (Simon and Schuster, 1950), p. 978.
  7. ^ Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Question 109. Retrieved 26 August 2006.
  8. ^ R. C. Sproul, Renewing Your Mind (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 1998), p. 33.
  9. ^ Geisler, Norman L. (ed). Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI, 1999. p. 726.
  10. ^ Geisler, p. 727.
  11. ^ Summa, Q55a1.
  12. ^ Summa, Q62a2.
  13. ^ Louis Pojman, Ethics (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1995).
  14. ^ Summa, Q94a2.
  15. ^ Peter Singer. "Animals" in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.
  16. ^ Peter Kreeft, Summa of the Summa (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), pp. 74-77, 86-87, 97-99, 105, 111-112.
  17. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia, Aquinas, Thomas
  18. ^ Aidan Nichols, Discovering Aquinas (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), pp. 173-174.
  19. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas's Shorter Summa (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2002), pp. 228-229.
  20. ^ Aquinas 2002, pp. 231-239.
  21. ^ Aquinas 2002, pp. 241, 245-249. Emphasis is the author's.
  22. ^ Kreeft, p. 383.

[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

  • Boland, Vivian (2007). St Thomas Aquinas: Continuum Library of Educational Thought. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-8400-X.

[edit] External links

[edit] By Aquinas

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[edit] About Aquinas

Persondata
NAME Thomas Aquinas
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Saint Thomas Aquinas (reverent form); Thomas of Aquin (alternate name); Aquino (alternate name); Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Universalis (title)
SHORT DESCRIPTION Philosopher and theologian
DATE OF BIRTH c.1225
PLACE OF BIRTH Castle of Roccasecca, near Aquino, Italy
DATE OF DEATH 7 March 1274
PLACE OF DEATH Fossanova Abbey, Lazio, Italy