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Reading Romans with St. Thomas Aquinas

Matthew Levering

Publication Year: 2012

This volume fits within the contemporary reappropriation of St. Thomas Aquinas, which emphasizes his use of Scripture and the teachings of the church fathers without neglecting his philosophical insight.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xx

The first great commentator on the letter to the Romans, Origen of Alexandria, remarks that “there are two reasons why the letter that was written to the Romans is considered to be harder to understand than the Apostle Paul’s other letters.”1 The first reason is that Paul “makes use of expressions which sometimes are confused and insufficiently explicit.”2 ...

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1. Aquinas on Paul’s Flesh/Spirit Anthropology in Romans

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pp. 1-38

I will primarily argue that, despite numerous exegetical limitations, the late St. Thomas Aquinas achieved a broad and faithful appropriation of St. Paul’s flesh/spirit anthropology in the Epistle to the Romans. Second, I will show that Aquinas’s interpretation of key Romans passages on flesh/spirit does not adequately manifest his reception of the Pauline doctrine. ...

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2. Aquinas on Abraham’s Faith in Romans 4

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pp. 39-51

One of the more tantalizing and yet surprisingly neglected exegetical puzzles in Romans is this: does Paul depict the covenantal, circumcised, Jewish observant life of faithfulness as overtaken and replaced by an entirely law-free faith in Christ, or does he instead envisage such Jewish Torah praxis as in some sense tolerated ...

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3. Ressourcement of Mystery: The Ecclesiology of Thomas Aquinas and the Letter to the Romans

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pp. 52-74

Yves Congar (1904–95), in a 1974 Aquinas Lecture at Blackfriars, Oxford, on the topic of “St. Thomas Aquinas and the Spirit of Ecumenism,” held out the Angelic Doctor as a source of inspiration for discussion between Catholics and Protestants.1 ...

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4. On the Relation of St. Thomas’s Commentary on Romans to the Summa theologiae

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pp. 75-82

In this essay, I would like to reflect on the relationship between St. Thomas’s commentary on Romans and his Summa theologiae. The commentary and the Summa are obviously different kinds of works and yet both products of the same theological mind. There is clearly some overlap. The Summa is far from devoid of scriptural content. ...

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5. Thomas’s Theology of Preaching in Romans: A Lascasian Application

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pp. 83-100

Throughout history, Thomas Aquinas has been called many things—a Christian philosopher, a scholastic theologian, the doctor angelicus, the doctor communis, the dumb ox—but “preacher” is not one of them. Few outside the Dominican Order are likely to rank him as worthy of admission to the pantheon reserved for princes of preaching ...

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6. Romans 9–11: Rereading Aquinas on the Jews

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pp. 101-112

Given the events of the twentieth century—including both atrocities committed against the Jews and new openness and dialogue between Jews and Christians— it is not surprising that the question of Aquinas’s understanding of the Jews has received regular treatment. ...

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7. Degrading the Body, Suppressing the Truth: Aquinas on Romans 1:18–25

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pp. 113-126

From at least the days of Socrates, a prominent tradition in both pagan and Christian thought has affirmed a curious reciprocal relationship between a person’s moral condition and his or her grasp of reality. Over the centuries, this mutually influencing relation between knowledge and virtue has found expression in a variety of ways. ...

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8. The Holy Spirit in Aquinas’s Commentary on Romans

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pp. 127-162

In his Summa theologiae, St. Thomas offers an exposition of great breadth on the Holy Spirit in the inner mystery of God and in the divine economy. However, due to the specialized method and complex structure of this work, readers of the Summa do not always perceive there the significance of the teaching on the Holy Spirit. ...

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9. The Multiple Literal Sense in Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on Romans and Modern Pauline Hermeneutics

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pp. 163-182

In the world of modern Pauline scholarship, one past interpreter of the Apostle who is often overlooked is Thomas Aquinas.1 While we recognize this may be due to Thomas’s pre-modern hermeneutic and scholastic terminology, we are convinced that modern interpreters of the Apostle have an invaluable resource in the Doctor Communis. ...

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10. Aquinas’s Use of the Old Testament in His Commentary on Romans

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pp. 183-195

Recent decades have witnessed a rediscovery of St. Thomas as biblical exegete. His biblical commentaries are attracting greater attention than ever before, and his theories of biblical interpretation, particularly his view of the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture, have been assiduously analyzed. ...

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11. Aquinas on Romans 8: Predestination in Context

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pp. 196-215

How can Thomas Aquinas’s Lectures on the Letter to the Romans enrich our understanding of his theology of predestination? After a brief overview of Aquinas’s theology of predestination in the Summa theologiae, I explore his exposition of Romans 8 in his commentary.1 ...

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12. Beatus vir: Aquinas, Romans 4, and the Role of “Reckoning” in Justification

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pp. 216-237

Since the sixteenth century it has often seemed that the theological reading of Scripture yields two quite different ways of thinking about the justification of the sinner. One centers on holiness, the other on forgiveness; one on God’s interior work, the other on his exterior word; one on love, the other on faith; one is Catholic, the other Protestant. ...

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13. Portraits of Paul: Aquinas and Calvin on Romans 7:14–25

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pp. 238-261

In 1541 Gasparo Contarini, appointed papal legate of the Roman Catholic Church, gathered together at the Diet of Regensburg theologians representing both Catholic and Protestant positions in order to discuss, among other things, the doctrine of justification. Anthony N. S. Lane, while analyzing article 5 of the Regensburg Colloquy, ...

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14. Rendering God’s Glory: St. Paul and St. Thomas on Worship

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pp. 262-273

My plan is to highlight in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans—and therefore, of course, in St. Thomas’s lectures on the epistle—those passages that have a particular bearing on worship, and to do so in the sequence adopted by the Apostle and followed by his commentator. ...

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15. The Trinitarian, Spousal, and Ecclesial Logic of Justification

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pp. 274-287

As an aside, it is curious that Luther says about his former life, “I lived as a monk without reproach,” and at the same time confesses, “I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God.” By what measure did he judge his life as a monk to be “without reproach”? ...

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16. Origen, Augustine, and Thomas: Interpreters of the Letter to the Romans

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pp. 288-302

Every commentator on the letter of Paul to the Romans seeks to discover a central theme that holds everything in the book together. But the best and most profound interpreters know that the epistle is so rich, its arguments so varied, its range of topics so grand, that the most substantive writing of the Apostle cannot be brought easily under a single rubric. ...


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pp. 303-322


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pp. 323-326


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pp. 327-332


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p. 354-354

E-ISBN-13: 9780813219837
E-ISBN-10: 0813219833
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813219639
Print-ISBN-10: 0813219639

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1

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Subject Headings

  • Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274. In Epistolam ad Romanos expositio.
  • Bible. Romans -- Commentaries -- History and criticism.
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