- Thomas von Aquin: Werk and Wirkung im Licht neuerer Forschung ed. by Albert Zimmermann and Clemens Kopp (review)
- The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 54, Number 2, April 1990
- pp. 376-379
- View Citation
- Additional Information
376 BOOK REVIEWS As should be evident by now, the volume contains a mixture of misunderstandings of Plantinga and Wolterstorff (for example, Veatch fails to see that Plantinga is a foundationalist, though of a consciously different stripe from Thomas and Locke), with some legitimate and telling challenges to Reformed epistemology (what is the relation between grounds and evidence, and precisely what justifies someone in taking a belief as basic). Separating the two is not always easy, hut where it can he done, there will be value in the resulting dialogue for both Reformed thinkers and Thomists. Augsburg College Minneapolis, Minnesota BRUCE R. REICHENBACH Thomas von Aquin: Werk and Wirkung im Licht neuerer Forschung. Ed. by ALBERT ZIMMERMANN AND CLEMENS KOPP. Miscellanea mediaevelia, 19. New York and Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 1988. Pp. xi +507. DM 252. The hienniel Koelner Mediaevistentagung sponsored hy the ThomasInstitut in Cologne has focused in the past on themes as diverse as metaphysics or ontology, the fate of Judaism and the Moslem presence in Western mediaeval thought, or controversies at the University of Paris and stages in the development of the University of Cologne. In 1986 the symposium was devoted to the discussion of Thomas Aquinas. The lectures which were then read and discussed, so diverse in theme and methodology, have been supplemented by studies submitted in written form only, in order to form the volume now presented in the series Miscellaneous mediaevalia. In one of the few truly theological contributions, the Dominican Paulus Engelhardt (Bottrop) attempts to discover in Thomas's writings a basic structure characteristic of both thought and belief. " The incarnation of the Word and Human Desire for Truth" (l-12) denote the two converging movements. The productive discontent and selfdissatisfaction of the desiderium naturale visionis Dei, as illustrated hy Thomas's reflections on the pre-theological forms of angustia (e.g. at SCG, III, 4,3), point toward that essential tension between hope and despair, where the gospel itself can first be heard. A somewhat different , perhaps even contradictory, position is presented by the accomplished mediaeval scholar, Ludwig Hoedl (Bochum): "Philosophical Ethics and Moral Theology in Thomas' Summa" (23-42). Aquinas's main contribution is defined as a synthesis of teachings on virtue, law, BOOK REVIEWS 377 and grace which grants significant autonomy to philosophical ethics. The sense of insufficiency does not seem quite as present, the need for grace not quite as pressing as in Engelhardt's interpretation. The editor of the volume, Albert Zimmermann, summarizes the results of a dissertation by one of his assistants at the Thomas-Institut, Ivana Znidar: "Thomas' Thoughts on Defectus Naturalis and Timor" (43-52) points to structures and experiences of self-deficiency, which are not simply the result of sin but underlie the possibility of sin, virtue, grace, and even glory, e.g. in the permanence of timor filialis in patria. Without the same far-reaching systematic intention shown by Engelhardt, the material presented here does seem to confirm the interpretation offered in the earlier article. With an impressive sense of the current problematic and the controversies of Aristotelian scholarship, Ralph Mclnerny (Notre Dame) seeks points of agreement between two alternative models of " Action Theory in St. Thomas Aquinas" (13-22). Practical reason is viewed both as the search for means to ends (ST, I-II, q. 1-17) and as the quasi-syllogistic mediation of principles (the rule, natural law, or precept ) to derivative conclusions and consequences (an instance, an example , or some other way of applying the general rule to particular action), seen e.g. at ST, I-II, q. 90-108. The variety of possible means and the transcendence of the final goal correspond to the merely general character of the principles, which are strictly definitive for. a concrete action only in the negative case of a prohibition. The theme common to the first contributions resurfaces here: the constitutive imperfection of earthly existence, even in its successful, virtuous form, as a basic motif of Thomas's thought in comparison to Aristotle. David E. Luscombe (Sheffield) discusses the diverse influence of Pseudo-Dionysius in "St. Thomas and Conceptions of Hierarchy in the Thirteenth Century" (261-277). The political and ecclesiological disputes of...