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Boethius and Aquinas

Ralph McInerny

Publication Year: 2012

In this study of the relationship between Boethius and Thomas Aquinas, Ralph McInerny dispels the notion that Aquinas misunderstood the early philosopher and argues instead that he learned from Boethius, assimilated his ideas, and proved to be a reliable interpreter of his thought.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xvi

...This book deals with the relation between St. Thomas Aquinas and Boethius. That "the last of the Romans and the first of the Scholastics" should have influenced Thomas has nothing distinctive about it: the same can be said of the vast majority of medieval masters. But there is more in the case of Thomas...

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Introduction. Two Italian Scholars

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pp. 1-30

...Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480-524) lived some seven hundred years before Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). It may help to notice that almost exactly the same amount of time, seven centuries, separates us from St. Thomas as separated him from Boethius. The cultural, intellectual, religious setting of Boethius differed markedly from that of St. Thomas, accordingly, but both men played crucial roles in making the history of the West what it has been...

Part One. The Art of the Commentary

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1. Commenting on Aristotle

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pp. 33-60

...Discussions have arisen as to the similarities between the thought of Thomas and Boethius, and such discussions are most pointed when they refer to a Boethian text and a comment of Thomas on it. As we will see, Thomists have adopted a very cavalier attitude toward Thomas's commentaries on Boethius, particularly that...

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2. Altissimum negotium: Universals

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pp. 61-94

...Porphyry wrote his Introduction or Isagoge to the Categories of Aristotle in order to deal with what came to be called the five predicables: genus, species, difference, property and accident. Without prior knowledge of these, Porphyry felt, it would be very difficult for a beginner to follow Aristotle's book. Given that purpose, Porphyry did not want to make his introduction itself overly demanding. Thus it was that he set aside an issue of great moment in order to get immediately to work...

Part Two. De trinitate

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3. Thomas Comments on Boethius

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pp. 97-120

...Among the preliminary things we must consider are, first of all, the nature of the tractates and their place in the Boethian literary production. We must also notice that Thomas did not write the same kind of commentary on the two Boethian tractates on which he did comment; that...

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4. Tres speculative partes

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pp. 121-147

...The division of the theoretical that Boethius sets down at the outset of Chapter Two of De trinitate has obvious roots in Aristotle, as we shall see, but before looking into that we must take into account another and earlier and manifestly different division of the theoretical, that found in Boethius's first commentary on Porphyry...

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5. Metaphysics and Existence

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pp. 148-158

...Geiger bases his remarks on the holograph as well and is thus able to show that the approach taken in the final version of the body of the article was one Thomas hit upon only after a certain amount of searching. Not that the two articles, which were written at about the same time, though quite independently of one another, are identical...

Part Three. De hebdomadibus

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6. Survey of Interpretations

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pp. 161-198

...This part is devoted to three things. First, a rapid survey of scholarly opinion on the third Boethian tractate which the medievals called De hebdomadibus. Second, a look at the tractate through the eyes of St. Thomas Aquinas. Third, a brief indication of discussions of the good by Boethius and St. Thomas in other places...

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7. The Exposition of St. Thomas

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pp. 199-231

...Boethius will address the question how it is that substances are good insofar as they exist without being, for all that, substantial goods: modum quo substantiae in eo quod sint bonae sint, cum non sint substantialia bona. (ll. 2-4)1 His method will be that employed in mathematical and other disciplines; he will first set down certain rules and terms (terminos regulasque) and develop a solution in accord with them...

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8. More on the Good

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pp. 232-248

...Boethius warned us at the outset that he was going to be oblique and elusive. But it leaves one gasping that such a key word is given so little conceptual content. When we are asked to imagine creatures without God and think of something as fat and red and good, "good" was no more explained than fat and red. Is this nitpicking? We are in effect being told how the term "good" is common to God and creatures...

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Epilogue. Sine Thomas Boethius Mutus Esset

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pp. 249-254

...The thesis of this book is that Boethius taught what Thomas said he taught and that the Thomistic commentaries on Boethius are without question the best commentaries ever written on the tractates. The foregoing chapters have tried to establish the truth of that thesis. In this brief epilogue I shall summarize the results of the study and engage in reflections on the circumstances that made the proving of the thesis necessary...

Appendix. Chronologies of Boethius and St. Thomas

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pp. 255-258


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pp. 259-264


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pp. 265-268

E-ISBN-13: 9780813221113
E-ISBN-10: 0813221110
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813221106
Print-ISBN-10: 0813221102

Page Count: 282
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1