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The Thomist 63 (1999): 343-401 THE NATURE AND GRACE OF SACRA DOCTRINA IN ST. THOMAS'S SUPER BOETIUM DE TRINITATE l.AWRENCEJ. DONOHOO, 0.P. Dominican House ofStudies Washington, D.C. INQUIRIES INTO THE meaning and function of sacra doctrina in St. Thomas's thought have long centered on the pregnant yet cryptic opening question of the Summa Theologiae. Relatively little attention has been devoted to its treatment in his exposition of Boethius's De Sancta Trinitate.1 Yet this early text, devoted to questions oftheological and philosophical method, explores with unusual sophistication the various dimensions and tasks of sacra doctrina: a knowledge dependent on revelation and reason; the relationship between faith and reason; the work of reason within and apart from faith; justifications for belief; and the psychological , epistemological, and theological grounds for the complementarity between faith and reason. This study will explore these various facets ofsacra doctrina in the De Trinitate in order to establish how Thomas, toward the beginning ofhis career, laid down an intermeshing foundation for philosophy and theology in a work all the more valuable for 1 All references to St. Thomas's opusculum on the De Sancta Trinitate (hereafter De Trinitate or In Boet. de Trin.) depend on the critical edition of the Leonine Commission, Super Boetium deTrinitate (Rome: Commissio Leonina, 1992). Translations and paraphrases of the first four questions are taken from or based on Armand Maurer, St. Thomas Aquinas: Faith, Reason, and Theology: Questions I-W of His Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius, Medieval SourcesinTranslation (Toronto: Pontifical InstituteofMediaeval Studies, 1987). Translations and paraphrases of the last two questions rely on Armand Maurer, St. Thomas Aquinas: The Division and Methods of the Sciences. Questions V-VI of His Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius (3d ed.; Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1963). The first page reference following citations refers to the Leonine critical edition; the second, to the respective translation of Maurer. 343 344 LAWRENCE]. DONOHOO being the sole thirteenth-century commentary on Boethius's text.2 What emerges in this daring exposition, which supported the edifice of his thought to the end, is the construction of an overarching science-a wisdom-that embraces a "meta-philosophy" and a "meta-theology," in which neither component, while retaining its own identity and its own acts, can be understood without the other. A study of this text also reveals that much of the teaching on sacra doctrina in the Summa Theologiae is simply a borrowing or rearrangement of ideas already advanced in this early opusculum.3 In question 1, Thomas examines theology's contribution to philosophy.4 How does a thinking steeped in faith know the 2 Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas, vol. 1: The Person and His Work, trans. Robert Royal {Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996), 67-68; 345. For other brief treatments of the setting, history, importance, and bibliography of Thomas's commentary, see the Leonine Commission's Super Boetium de Trinitate, "Introduction," 5-9; James A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas D'Aquino: His Life, Thought and Works (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974), 134-38, 381-82; and M.-D. Chenu, Toward Understanding Saint Thomas, trans. A.-M. Landry and D. Hughes (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1964), 276-78. The most painstaking textual analysis is that of Michel Corbin, Le chemin de la theologie chez Thomas cfAquin, Bibliotheque des archives de philosophie, nouvelle serie (Paris: Beauchesne, 1972), 291-474. The historical background to Thomas's text and to the medieval efforts to develop a theology of the Trinity are ably treated in Leo Elders, Faith and Science: An Introduction to St. Thomas' Expositio in Boethii de Trinitate (Rome: Herder, 1974), esp. 7-24. Ralph Mcinerny provides a helpful assessment of the influence of Boethius on Thomas in Boethius and Aquinas {Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), 1-29. Douglas C. Hall's The Trinity: An Analysis ofSt. Thomas Aquinas' Expositio of the De Trinitate of Boethius, Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, ed. Albert Zimmermann, no. 33 (Leiden, NewYork, Koln: E. J. Brill, 1992), is especially helpful for studying the relationship of the De Trinitate to the...


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