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By knowledge & by love

charity and knowledge in the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas

Michael S. Sherwin

Publication Year: 2012

By Knowledge and By Love represents a major contribution to Thomistic moral theology and philosophy by providing a thoughtful examination of Aquinas' psychology of action and his theology of charity.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x



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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xvi

One’s first encounter with St. Thomas’ theology of love can be disconcerting. His technical language can seem to render the rich reality of love lifeless. His analysis has nothing of the passion of St. Augustine’s conversations with God in the Confessions. Augustine guides the reader through the city of love as a...

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pp. xvii-xxiii

When confronted with the question of love’s relationship to knowledge, we might be tempted to say, along with a voice from a Midsummer Night, that “reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”2 Indeed, in reaction to the rationalism of modern thought, many would join their voices to the sentiment...

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1. Charity’s Relationship to Knowledge

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pp. 1-17

In its Decree on the Training of Priests, the Second Vatican Council turned its attention to the renewal of moral theology. Special care should be given to the perfecting of moral theology. Its scientific presentation should draw more fully on the teaching of holy Scripture and should throw light upon the exalted vocation of the faithful in Christ and their obligation to bring forth fruit...

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2. The Will’s Role in Practical Reasoning

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pp. 18-62

At the outset of the Summa theologiae St. Thomas affirms that, “Since it is by our will that we employ whatever powers we have, the human person is said to be good, not by his good understanding, but by his good will.”1 This affirmation might give the reader the impression that for Aquinas moral goodness depends on an act of will that is structurally independent of practical reason...

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3. Knowledge and Love in Human Action

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pp. 63-118

After having considered the character of the will’s relationship to intellect in practical reasoning, we are now in a position to study more closely the will’s proper act, which is love. A full account of the Thomistic psychology of love is beyond the scope of this project.1 Instead, our goal in this chapter is to study St. Thomas’ description of love’s relationship to knowledge in human...

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4. Intellect and Will in St. Thomas’ Theology of Faith

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pp. 119-146

At this point in our study it will be helpful to review the itinerary we have thus far traveled. We began our investigation by posing the question of charity’s relationship to knowledge. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, what is charity’s relationship to knowledge in human action? In our introductory remarks we saw that this question touches on charity’s status as a virtue. In order to live a virtue...

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5. Charity’s Relationship to Knowledge in Human Action

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pp. 147-203

We have now reached the heart of our inquiry. We are now in a position to pose directly the question of charity’s relationship to knowledge in human action. Does charity depend on knowledge? Specifically, does charity’s act depend on the specifying action of the intellect? In the pages that follow, we shall discover that since charity is the graced elevation of the will’s natural love, charity does...

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6. Charity’s Status as a Virtue

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pp. 204-238

We initiated our study of St. Thomas’ theology of charity by posing two related questions: (1) what is the relationship between charity and knowledge in the theology of St. Thomas? and (2) what are the implications of this relationship for charity’s status as a virtue? The analysis of St. Thomas’ thought we pursued...

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Conclusion: By Knowledge and By Love

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pp. 239-240

At the outset of this study we noted that one of the reasons the theologians of moral motivation undertake their effort at renewal is their legitimate concern to offer a more adequate account of those who struggle with either moral blindness or moral weakness. Is the moral status of these individuals before God best understood in relation to their external actions, or is there...


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pp. 241-254

Index of Names

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pp. 255-257

Index of Subjects

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pp. 258-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216577
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813213934

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 646786275
MUSE Marc Record: Download for By knowledge & by love

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Charity.
  • Knowledge, Theory of (Religion).
  • Love -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
  • Christian ethics -- Catholic authors.
  • Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274.
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