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BOOK REVIEWS Woman According to Saint Bonaventure. By sister Emma Thérèse Healy, C. S. J. Foreword by the Very Rev. Thomas Plassmann, O. F. M. New York: The Georgian Press, 1956. P. x, 275. $ 5.00.1 Not only women who read this book, but men as well, and particularly theologians and mediaevalists, will be agreeably surprised to find within its pages a fitting apology for Christian Woman's claim to a lost glory and in the social order to a re-establishment of herself on the pedestal of Man's respect and esteem. The author, Sister Emma Thérèse Healy, of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Erie, Pennsylvania, is no novice in the field of Bonaventurian literature. Her doctoral dissertation "St. Bonaventure's De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam — A Commentary with an Introduction and Translation " (1939), has merited unquestioned and universal praise.2 In the work before us, we catch a glimpse of a rather unfamiliar side of the outstanding personality of the Seraphic Doctor, who now, as the Very Reverend Thomas Plassmann, O. F. M. says, stands before us "as the genial, understanding, eloquent, and inspired champion of Christian Womanhood."3 A docile pupil of St. Bonaventure, Sister Emma Thérèse in her new book assimilates in large measure the Seraphic Doctor's theological approach to all human problems. Following the threefold consideration of nature, grace, and glory as found in the De triplici via, the Itinerarium mentis in Deum, and the Breviloquium, she divides her work into three parts: Woman in Nature (pp. ?—65), Woman in Grace (pp. 69—154), and Woman in Glory (pp. 157— 268). In each of these general divisions, the author finds ample opportunity for a generous display of Bonaventurian thought and teaching, her scholarly synthesis and modern style in no way spoiling the mystical unction of the Seraphic Doctor's pen. Sister Emma Thérèse is right in starting her Bonaventurian research from the strict viewpoint of Woman's nature — body and soul — considered in itself and in the history of mankind. Although like all Scholastics, and religious men in particular, Bonaventure often betrays a rather low opinion of Woman, evident for the most part in the historical development of human misfortunes since the first Fall of man (cf. p. 10 ff.; 27 ft.), nevertheless, he well offsets this seeming prejudice by his constant reference to Woman's 1 Copies may be obtained from Sister Emma Thérèse, Villa Maria College, Erie, Pa. 2 Now available in the second edition at the Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure, N. Y. 8 From the Foreword written by the Very Rev. Thomas Plassman, O. F. M. 167 i68Book Reviews psychological nature with the result of an admirable safeguarding of her natural dignity (cf. p. 46 ff.) — an attitude toward Woman which the Seraphic Doctor confirms with the attitude of Christ Himself (p. 52 ff.). The basic and constant consideration of the foremost part of the human being, the immortal soul, which bears the image of the Triune God, gives to Bonaventure's treatment of Woman in Nature an approach of the problem until then, and perhaps until now, unsurpassed in depth and clarity (cf. p. 2r ff.). Having once established St. Bonaventure's philosophical understanding of Woman's nature, the author comes to the second part of her theme where very logically, with the double search-light of reason and faith, she accompanies the Seraphic Doctor in the investigation of Woman's role in the order of grace (p. 69—154). Having taken cognizance of the low plane to which Woman had been relegated since the first Fall of man in the earthly paradise and of the attitude of pagan philosophers who by the use of such terms as "mas occasionatus ," (cf. p. 10), "the male gone awry," or "an incomplete version of man," which all but robbed her of her natural dignity, Sister Emma Thérèse in direct contradiction to their teaching advances the doctrine of Christ and His Apostles that Woman's soul is of equal importance with Man's and equally liable to grace and glory (cf. p. 79 ff.) ; hence Woman...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 167-169
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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