Aquinas on emotion, pt. 2 (ST 2.23)
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
In a previous post I began a commentary on Aquinas' understanding of emotion (or "the passions") as it is laid out in the Summa theologica. In that reflection (on ST 2.22), the focus was on the nature of the soul's passivity in its appetitive part, a feature that inheres in the soul by virtue of the fact that it exists in potentiality rather than actuality. The soul's appetite is drawn toward its own perfection but is limited by the objects presented to it by the objects of sense as managed (or mismanaged) by the soul's intellectual powers. Having laid this foundation, in ST 2.23 Aquinas turns ..read more
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Aquinas on emotion, pt. 1 (2.22)
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
The account of the emotions (or passions) serves an important role in the anthropology of Thomas Aquinas' Summa theologica, being situated between the treatment of human will and agency on the one hand (2.8-21), and the treatise on virtues on the other (2.49-89). These discussions all unfold, of course, under the heading of the human person's telos, which is eternal happiness in the vision of the divine essence (cf. 2.1-7). This, true happiness, is obtained through the turning of the self toward the one Object that will finally satisfy. For this reason Aquinas must consider the self in terms b ..read more
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The Suffering of Love
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
There is something uniquely eternal about love. After all: "and now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13), and "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8). Love, unlike faith and hope, is uniquely conceivable without a temporal dimension. She cares for what has come to be--what is--and not for the formless possibility of what might be in the future. This is why love is tortured by time, which continually threatens the objects in which it rests. Only love can, and must, suffer, while faith and hope do not. Human agency is the agency of love, the operation of ..read more
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A little guide to 'Cur Deus homo?'
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
Anselm's "satisfaction theory of the atonement" is much maligned, often by those who, in my opinion, are dealing with a caricature of what Anselm actually advances in his eleventh-century work Cur Deus homo? His model often gets lumped in with penal substitutionary accounts of the atonement, despite the fact that Anselm goes out of his way to argue that the death of Christ is not an instance of God forcing an innocent person to die for the wicked. Also, Anselm's account is primarily ontological, and only distantly and secondarily juridical. It's sometimes said that the concept of "honor" with ..read more
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Rémi Brague, Curing Mad Truths: Medieval Wisdom for the Modern Age
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
I imagine that many readers are familiar already with the French historian and philosopher Rémi Brague. As for me, my first encounter with him is via his latest book, Curing Mad Truths: Medieval Wisdom for a Modern Age (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019). It's a stitched-together collection of nine essays that Brague has given to English-speaking audiences in recent years. But that's not to say this little book doesn't put forward a bold, coherent argument. Brague is a conservative in the deepest sense of the word. He is concerned with the conservation of humanity itself, which he takes to ..read more
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Faith & Theology is open again
Faith and Theology
by Matt Wilcoxen
5y ago
I have had a long and rather intimate relationship with Ben Myers. For example: I have lived in his house, slept in his bed, mowed his lawn (or not), driven his car, drank his whisky, and helped raise his dog. In light of all this, I suppose it's not entirely unsurprising that I'm now taking over his blog. It's not that there was ever anything untoward between Ben and me. It's just that he's one of the most generous people around. I first encountered Ben, not by reading Faith & Theology, but when he read and commented on something I had written online when I was still an undergraduate i ..read more
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