Reading John with St. Thomas Aquinas
Theological Exegesis and Speculative Theology
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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First and foremost, we should thank the contributors to this volume, whose dedicated scholarship made possible this book. The essays included in the volume are revised and expanded versions of papers delivered at a conference sponsored by Ave Maria College and the...
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Like all medieval biblical commentaries, Aquinas’s Commentary on John consists to a significant degree in speculative theological questioning inspired by the biblical text. Proceeding on the assumption that it would not have been possible for St. John to have written what...
Part 1. Revelation
1. Authorial Intention and the Divisio textus
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Beryl Smalley in her landmark book, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, sought to show, among other things, that not all of those who commented on the Bible in the Middle Ages were, in her words, theologians. Some were also scholars.1 The mark of the scholar was an...
2. The Theological Role of the Fathers in Aquinas’s Super Evangelium S. Ioannis Lectura
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Many modern studies on the nature of theology according to St. Thomas Aquinas have been centered on his claim for a scientific study of divine revelation. This stress perhaps to a great extent is due to our modern concentration on the opening question of the Summa theologiae, where
Part 2. The Triune God
3. Biblical Exegesis and the Speculative Doctrine of the Trinity in St. Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on St. John
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The theological exposition of the Gospel of St. John is certainly to be considered the most fully complete and most profound commentary that St. Thomas Aquinas has left us.1 According to M.-D. Philippe, the Commentary on St. John is “the theological work par excellence of...
4. What Does the Spirit Have to Do?
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From the West as well as the East, among Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, Christian theologians now regularly suggest that western theology suffers from a “pneumatological deficit.” The Western theological tradition accounts for the temporal actions of the triune God,...
5. Does the Paschal Mystery Reveal the Trinity?
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When a biblical scholar such as N. T. Wright, a confessing Christian with a deserved reputation for theological depth, faults Patristic and medieval theology for a distortion of the biblical portrait of God, his argument deserves attention from theologians.1 This is even more the...
6. The Analogy of Mission and Obedience: A Central Point in the Relation between Theologia and Oikonomia in St. Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on John
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Obedientia est maxima virtutum, “Obedience is the greatest of all virtues,” St. Thomas Aquinas says, citing Gregory the Great with approval.1 At least, as he is careful to point out in another place, it is the greatest of all the moral virtues. Only the theological virtues are...
Part 3. God and the World
7. Creation in St. Thomas Aquinas’s Super Evangelium S. Joannis Lectura
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It will hardly seem strange to remind ourselves that appropriating Aquinas for our times may well require deconstructing appropriations effected in other intellectual climes, especially those of the last century. Indeed, an outstanding note of these earlier readings had been their...
8. Eternity and Time in St. Thomas Aquinas’s Lectures on St. John’s Gospel
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In commenting on John 3:24 “For he gives the Spirit without measure,” Aquinas makes the startling affirmation that the grace of Christ is not only more than sufficient to save the entire world, but that it is more than sufficient to save “even many worlds, if they were to exist”...
9. Divine Providence and John 15:5
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This teaching remains the source of great difficulties for those who wish to preserve theism while denying divine omnipotence. And this category of brow-furrowed theists contains more occupants than may at first be apparent. Speech about human freedom often supposes that...
Part 4. The Moral Life
10. The Concept of “Life” in the Commentary on St. John
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The concept of “life” is without any doubt a key word in both Aquinas’s theology and the Gospel of St. John. This can easily be shown as regards both statistics and content.1 In this essay I will address two questions. The first question is how Thomas deals with this...
11. Christ the Teacher in St. Thomas’s Commentary on the Gospel of John
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The first chapter of the Gospel of John describes an encounter between Jesus and two disciples of John the Baptist. These two disciples are following Jesus when suddenly Jesus turns to them and asks, “What do you seek?” The disciples respond, “Rabbi [which is translated...
12. “Come and See”
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Throughout his Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Aquinas employs the philosophical principles of Aristotle. It would be a mistake to think that Aquinas’s allegiance to Aristotle is largely confined to his philosophical commentaries on Aristotle’s works and is absent from...
13. And Jesus Wept: Notes towards a Theology of Mourning
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To investigate historical texts with systematic intent demands at the start that we develop a rough idea of the goal that might be served by the texts that we plan to examine more closely. In the best case, the sense of where we are headed will make us aware of those texts most...
Part 5. The Person and Work of Jesus Christ
14. The Extent of Jesus’ Human Knowledge according to the Fourth Gospel
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The First and Second Parts of the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas prepare for his exploration of the mystery of the Person and work of Jesus Christ our Savior. His treatment of the Church, the sacraments, and the goal of history are all considered as the completion...
15. Anti-Docetism in Aquinas’s Super Ioannem: St. Thomas as Defender of the Full Humanity of Christ
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Biblical scholars have long noted the anti-docetic overtones of John’s Gospel. These overtones targeted the latent tendencies in the primitive Christian community to deny, in varying degrees, the reality of Christ’s humanity. (From the Greek...
16. Aquinas and Christ’s Resurrection: The Influence of the Lectura super Ioannem 20–21 on the Summa theologiae
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When I published a revised version of my dissertation on Place and Function of Holy Scripture in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, I realized that the choice of this subject was to a large extent determined by the ecumenical atmosphere of my theological education at the...
Part 6. Church and Sacraments
17. “That the Faithful Become the Temple of God”: The Church Militant in Aquinas’s Commentary on John
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Where did Thomas Aquinas put his ecclesiology? Theologians today generally accept the claim that Thomas has no “ecclesiology” as we would understand that term, by which I mean that he never takes up the Church as a distinct locus for comprehensive theological...
18. “And They Shall All Be Taught by God”: Wisdom and the Eucharist in John 6
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John 6 offers a unique view of Jesus Christ. It begins with a miracle of the loaves and fishes, continues with a miracle of Jesus walking on water, and then culminates with the bread of life discourse. Almost all biblical scholars and theologians recognize some connection between...
19. The Role of the Apostles in the Communication of Revelation according to the Lectura super Ioannem of St. Thomas Aquinas
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God does not need human beings. The First Cause has no need of secondary causes to accomplish his ends. In the government of the universe, however, God has recourse to secondary causes in order to communicate in a hierarchical way the perfections that he imparts to...
About the Contributors
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Page Count: 398
Publication Year: 2012