* Previous issues of The Thomist can be accessed electronically through Project Muse

Volume 88, Number 3 (July 2024) 


Abstract: In the 1880s, Matthias Joseph Scheeben and Theodor Granderath argued over how to interpret Thomas Aquinas’s teaching in Summa Theologiae I–II, q. 114, a. 3 on the relation between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and condign merit. Scheeben pointed to this passage as evidence that his view that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as uncreated grace is in harmony with Aquinas. He argued that Aquinas’s phrase “the grace of the Holy Spirit” indicates that, for Aquinas, two principles are necessary for condign merit: created grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as uncreated grace. This is a misreading of Aquinas, which stemmed from Scheeben’s attempt to reconcile his Greek patristic-inspired theology of divine indwelling with Latin Scholasticism. This analysis lends support to the opinion that Aquinas understood grace primarily as created, not as uncreated, as some scholars have recently argued. It also suggests that Scheeben should be regarded as a “Thomist” only in a qualified sense.

Keywords: divine indwelling, grace, Holy Spirit, Matthias Scheeben, merit, Summa theologiae, Thomas Aquinas, uncreated grace

Abstract: This essay provides an approach to interpreting Thomas Aquinas on the topic of disability. That approach is brought to bear in a careful presentation of Aquinas’s speculation on the eschatological significance of bodily vulnerability, individuating bodily differences, and the redemption and perfection of our fragile flesh. According to Aquinas, Christ’s resurrection and glorified wounds reveal a surpassing beauty—a beauty relevant to theological speculation on the deification and beatitude of the blessed. In section I, the essay describes a key contemporary methodological challenge. In sections II and III, Aquinas’s Commentary on the Gospel of Johnsheds light on that contemporary challenge and marks out an approach to theological reflection on phenomena typically organized under the heading “disability.” In section IV, the essay presents a groundbreaking interpretation of the concepts corporales infirmitates (bodily infirmities) and corporales defectus (bodily defects) in Aquinas’s theology, which are then discussed in relation to the states of original justice, corruption, and the life of the viator. In section V, Aquinas’s teaching on beatitude and resurrection provides the terms for a set of Aquinas-conversant speculative claims about the eschatological significance of bodily infirmities and defects.

Keywords: Aquinas, Disability, Resurrection, Beatitude, Deification, Medieval Theology, Disability Studies

Abstract: In response to recent interpretations of Thomas Aquinas’s account of the communication of idioms that have been advanced in the midst of conversation on the coherence of Chalcedonian Christology, this article seeks to show, first, that Thomas’s interpretation of the communication of idioms is at least internally consistent and, second, that his use of the medieval semantic distinction between signification and supposition, which has been given little attention in these recent interpretations, is the key to that consistency. By employing the distinction in correlation with his distinctions between essence and existence and between the intellectual operations of apprehension and judgment, Thomas is able to ensure that anything predicated of Christ (even predicated simpliciter) applies to the one person of the Word as subsisting in either his human or his divine nature. Thus, I argue that Thomas’s semantic framework allows him to affirm, e.g., that Christ is mutable and Christ is immutable without contradiction, while it is the unique way in which this framework is applied to the Incarnation that lifts up the mystery.

Key words: Thomas Aquinas, Incarnation, Communication of Idioms, Signification, Supposition, Simpliciter Predication