In our consideration of St. Thomas Aquinas’s other Summa, we are now ready to begin Book III. The plan is as follows:
- discuss the lay of the land, an outline of topics;
- consider the opening chapter;
- discuss the beginning of St. Thomas’s consideration of the end;
- some preparatory thoughts on good and evil;
- discuss the nature or ratio of good and evil;
- consider the relationship to goodness;
- as well as the relationship between causality and evil;
- some concluding thoughts.
9.1. The Return of Creation to God
Below is how Summa contra Gentiles, Book III, might be outlined:
9.2. The Drama of Creation
The second half of ScG, III.1, after demonstrating the complete dominion of God over creation in the first half, considers the hierarchy of creation.
- Some creatures have intellect and can direct themselves to their last end.
- Other creatures lack intellect and must be directed towards their ends, whether such creatures are incorruptible and indefectible or corruptible and defectible.
Note especially the conclusion in regard to the first group: “And if in thus directing themselves they be subject to the divine ruling, they are admitted by that divine ruling to the attainment of their last end, but are excluded from it if they direct themselves otherwise.” The stage of creation is set, now we must see the players in action. God is the end-goal of the play of creation, He the director: for “he is the end and governor of all” (ScG, III.1). Consider also:
Thomas devotes the third book to a theme that received only indirect attention in the previous book: how the contemplation of creation inspires longing in rational creatures to behold the source of creation. The book amplifies the prologue’s statement of the human aspiration for contemplative happiness and addresses the grand debate of ancient philosophy, the debate over the end of human life. . . . [The rational creature] is thus a “similitude and image” of the divine, the creature upon whom the narrative of creation pivots, the focal point of divine governance.Hibbs, Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas, 98.
And yet we also participate in the governance as secondary causes: “The metaphysics of participated being has moral and political ramifications: To be a creature, conditioned by finitude, is to be receptive and cooperative.” (Ibid., 103) Thus:
The examination of natural teleology from the vantage point of the exemplary causality of God provokes a reconsideration of the order of creation. Nature is a universal city in which the benevolent and wise rule of God is made manifest. The theme of manifestation can be seen in the preponderance of references to divine artistry. Once again, Thomas underscores the remarkable manifestation of divine wisdom in human nature. The section amplifies the teaching of the previous book on the human person as a horizon of the worlds of matter and spirit and draws out the crucial role of human persons in the universal city of creation.Ibid.
Here, it would be fitting to expand upon St. Thomas’s laconic description of these two end-results by looking to the definitive and authoritative treatment of the subject, well-known to Aquinas and his contemporaries: St. Augustine’s City of God.
The city of God we speak of is the same to which testimony is borne by that Scripture, which excels all the writings of all nations by its divine authority, and has brought under its influence all kinds of minds, and this not by a casual intellectual movement, but obviously by an express providential arrangement. … [T]here is a city of God, and its Founder has inspired us with a love which makes us covet its citizenship. To this Founder of the holy city the citizens of the earthly city prefer their own gods, not knowing that He is the God of gods, not of false, i.e., of impious and proud gods, who, being deprived of His unchangeable and freely communicated light, and so reduced to a kind of poverty-stricken power, eagerly grasp at their own private privileges, and seek divine honors from their deluded subjects.St. Augustine, City of God, Book XI, ch. 1 (url: https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120111.htm).
As I see that I have still to discuss the fit destinies of the two cities, the earthly and the heavenly, I must first explain, so far as the limits of this work allow me, the reasonings by which men have attempted to make for themselves a happiness in this unhappy life, in order that it may be evident, not only from divine authority, but also from such reasons as can be adduced to unbelievers, how the empty dreams of the philosophers differ from the hope which God gives to us, and from the substantial fulfillment of it which He will give us as our blessedness.Ibid., Book XIX, ch. 1 (url: https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120119.htm).
Note how the two cities are defined by their ultimate ends and, thus, their ultimate loves.
9.3. The End-Goal, or Final Causality in Creation (ScG, III.2–6)
Some questions as we work through the first few chapters:
- Which argument is the most convincing in ScG, III.2? Which is the best or strongest? For example, can the argument from mistakes be the strongest?
- Why is ScG, III.3 a different question/topic than III.2? How is an end not a good? How many different rationes of the good does Aquinas use in this third chapter? Perhaps the contrast between these two chapters indicates that explaining teleology without invoking what is good for the things acting for an end is incomplete.
- Regarding ScG,III.4, If evil or what is bad is “praeter intentionem,” then does this mean that one cannot intentionally do wrong? If all agents act for an end, which is good, and the universe is composed of all agents, then how can evil even exist?
- In ScG, III.5 and III.6, do the distinctions that St. Thomas makes resolve questions about the presence of evil in the universe? Or is the purpose more limited here?
- Note the concluding paragraph of ScG, III.6: If monstrosities are not per se intended by nature, then how do they happen? Or for voluntary evils, how are they able to happen?
9.4. From Good to Evil? (ScG, III.7, etc.)
Note the various ambiguities in the conclusions for ScG, III.7: either evil is not an essence or no essence is evil. We consider below the various arguments made by St. Thomas.
|ScG, III.7: That evil and essence are not joined|
|1: Evil is a privation (of the naturally due), but a privation has no essence per se. No evil is an essence.|
|2: What has an essence also exists as a being, and being is good, which is not evil. No essence is evil.|
|3: Evil can be neither agent nor effect, for both are such due to form or act. Nothing is by essence evil.|
|4: Every agent intends what is good, and not the contrary. So, no being is evil.|
|5: Evil cannot be natural, because it is a privation of a form that ought to be naturally. So, no essence is evil.|
|6: Everything with an essence has or is a form, which has the ratio of the good. Evil has no essence.|
|7: Being divides into potency or act; both good (act as perfect, potency as tending to it). Evil has no essence.|
|8: God causes every being, and God is perfect goodness, cannot cause evil; so no being as such is evil.|
These arguments may or may not satisfy. Note their limited scope: merely to disconnect evil from the realm of essence and vice-versa. Why there is such a disconnect present in the universe is a separate questions. We are still left with the presence of evil in the universe as an irrational, non-intended, non-reality. If there is such teleology in the universe, and goodness, then why is there evil?
Thomas’s subordination of evil to good parallels Aristotle’s subordination of chance and luck to nature and intelligence. . . . Thomas’s intention is, in the words of Ricoeur, “to set up a radical origin of evil distinct from the more primordial origin of the goodness of things.”Hibbs, Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas, 100–101.
The resistance of evil to rational investigation is perhaps one reason for the schematic treatment of the question of its origin. To say more would be to risk implicit denial of the thesis that evil is nonbeing. The various attempts to do something with the nothingness of evil force a lapse into a tacit dualistic metaphysics. The strategies for addressing the nothingness of evil are allied to the metaphysics of creation. Thomas’s metaphysics radically subordinates all created things to the divine goodness and depicts creation as a manifestation of the splendor and goodness of the creator. Evil is not.Ibid., 101–102.
Some further resolution is forthcoming in ScG, III.8–15. However, we might wonder if these chapters will fully resolve the issue. For instance, look at the title of ScG, III.71: “That divine providence does not entirely exclude evil from things.”
9.5. The Essence of the Good … and Evil?
We should philosophically distinguish an end (finis) from a limit (terminus). I say philosophically because linguistically they can both be translated as “end” in English, and even in English they have these distinct senses as in Latin. Even in Latin their senses also overlap. (See the Appendix, at the end of this post.)
- “The intellect and will have no limit [terminus] fixed to their actions.” (ScG, III.12)
- Realizing the terminus of the gas in the tank means your car is out of its fuel.
- “The intellectual agent acts for an end [finem] as determining on its end [finem].” (ScG, III.3)
- Realizing the finis of the gas in the tank means your car is running on its fuel.
The ratio boni, the notion or nature of the good, is found especially in reflecting upon motion, action, and desire. Every agent acts for a finis; as such, its finis is its bonum. What about an interrupted motion? (E.g., a car wreck.) The motion has stopped, so it has a terminus, but this was not the finis at which the agent was aiming. Now, if a terminus is still a finis, this is per accidens to the intention of that agent. So, it is good in some way: whether an incomplete good—partly done toast—or a good only accidentally (the case of evil, like the car wreck).
Another point to note is the distinction between what is per se and what is per accidens. These terms are frequently used in these chapters when it comes to talking about the per accidens in regard to evil; e.g.: “Although evil is not a cause in itself, it is nevertheless an accidental cause [causa per accidens].” (ScG, III.14) Below are four senses (see Posterior Analytics, I.4).
|What is Per Se or Essentially||What is Per Accidens or Accidentally|
|I||“S is P” is per se when P is a part of S by definition.|
E.g.: “Man is rational.”
|“S is P” is a per accidens union when P is not a part of S by definition. E.g.: “Man is white.”|
|II||“S is P” is per se when S is a part of P by definition.|
E.g.: “That number is odd.”
|“S is P” is per accidens when S is not a part of P by definition. E.g.: “That number is a my favorite.”|
|III||S exists per se when S exists not in another.|
E.g.: “Socrates exists.” (substance)
|A exists per accidens when A exists in another.|
E.g.: “Whiteness exists.” (accident)
|IV||“S is P” is per se when P is caused by S.|
E.g.: “The planting farmer prepares the next crop.”
|“S is P” is per accidens when P is not caused by S.|
E.g.: “The planting farmer is making a great stew.”
E.g.: “The planting farmer found buried treasure.”
So, what is important for our purposes? (Test the following claims on the examples above.)
- When something is per accidens, this is because it is opposed to the per se.
- If something is per accidens, then it must be traceable to what is per se.
(1) The Ratio of the Good
St. Thomas frequently follows Aristotle in beginning his account of the ratio boni in this way: “The essence of goodness [ratio boni] consists in this, that it is in some way desirable [appetibile]. Hence the Philosopher says [Ethics, Book I]: Goodness is what all desire [appetunt].” (ST, Ia, q. 5, a. 1, c.) The key to this is in desire, or the appetite. Now, something is not good because it is desired or wanted, but it is wanted or desired because it is good. Thus, this particular ratio boni, or statement of the good’s essence, is one by effect. Aquinas continues (ibid.):
Now it is clear that a thing is desirable only in so far as it is perfect; for all desire their own perfection. But everything is perfect so far as it is actual. Therefore it is clear that a thing is perfect so far as it exists; for it is existence that makes all things actual …. Hence it is clear that goodness and being are the same really. But goodness presents the aspect of desirableness, which being does not present.
That is, it is necessary that goodness is also desirable, that it define the relationship of perfect being to the will as such (ultimately: God’s will; proximately in our experience: our will). What is “good” is not mere “a being without holes,” since that is only something that is perfect: “The notion of transcendental good must include not only being as such, but being as perfect, and hence as perfective, not of the intellect, but of the appetite. Good, most essentially, is being as appetible, as final cause.” However, as we have discovered in these opening chapters of ScG, Book III, the ratio boni has many other facets. It would be useful to contrast these with the ratio mali.
|Aspects of the Ratio Boni||Aspects of the Ratio Mali|
|“… that which is befitting [conveniens] to a thing is good for it.” (III.3.1)||“A thing is called evil because it hurts [harms, nocere].” (III.11.3)|
|“… it is the very notion of good to be the term of appetite, since the good is what all desire.” (III.3.2)||“Evil is in a substance through its lacking something natural and due to it.” (III.6.1; cf. III.7.1)|
|“… existence itself is a good, and for this reason all things desire being.” (III.3.3)||“Now that which is evil in itself cannot be natural to a thing. For it belongs to the very nature of evil to be the privation of that which is connatural and due to a thing.” (III.7.5)|
|“… when we say a thing is perfect, we mean that it is good.” (III.3.4)|
|“… an act has the ratio of good, since evil is not found save in a potency lacking act.” (III.3.5)|
|“… an intellectual agent does not determine the end for itself except under the ratio of good, for the intelligible object does not move except it be considered as a good, which is the object of the will.” (III.3.6)||“… privation of order or due proportion in an action is an evil of the action.” (III.6.4)|
|“Now the good comes as matter is perfected by the form, and potency by its proper act; but evil comes as it is deprived of its proper act. Consequently, whatever is moved intends to attain some good in its movement, and it attains evil beside its intention.” (III.4.3, last paragraph)|
|“Accordingly, if something is attained that has no species in the apprehension, it will be beside the intention: for instance, if one were to intend to eat honey, and were to eat gall [fel] believing it was honey [mel], this will be beside the intention. But every intellectual agent tends to something insofar as he considers it under the aspect of good, as we have shown above. Therefore, if this be not a good, but an evil, it will be beside the intention.” (III.4.4)|
Because of their opposition, and because an agent acts for an end that is good (III.2–3), it follows that evil is praeter intentionem—literally, besides the intention—of the agent (sometimes translated “unintentional/ly”). This is true both in natural agents and free agents (last two rows, above). While we cannot discuss it here, the object of an action is praeter intentionem is an important notion in ethics and moral theology (e.g., for being responsible or not).
(2) The Ratio of Evil
Despite what it might seem (and despite having thorough considered the idea in III.7), evil has no essence in itself. Since this is counterintuitive, St. Thomas answers a series of objections.
|Evil has an essence. (ScG, III.8)||Evil has no essence. (ScG, III.9)|
|1: Evil has species-making differences (e.g., kinds of vices), and so evil has an essence.||1: These forms of evil arise from the intention of the will in relation to the end appointed by reason, and so are not essences in reality.|
|2: Evil is a contrary, and contraries have natures; so, evil has a nature.||2: The contrariety here is within the genus of moral objects, constituted within the order (or disorder) of reason.|
|3: Evil is in the genus of contraries, and what is in a genera must have a nature.||“Hence moral evil is both a genus and a difference, not through being the privation of a good appointed by reason (from which it is called evil), but through the nature of the action or habit that is directed to an end incompatible with the right end appointed by reason.”|
|4: Whatever acts is some thing, and evil acts; so, it is a thing.||4: Evil only “acts” insofar as a certain agent’s form and end “involve privation of a contrary form and end”.|
|5: Whatever can have more and less must be a real thing, and evil can be more and less.||5: The more or less evil is really indicating the distance from some good, as in the case of other privations.|
|6: “Thing” and “being” are convertible, and evil is a being (it really exists), so it is a thing.||6: Evil is said to exist not as a being in a category, but as being signifies the truth of a proposition.|
Note the sixth: Evil is really there just as it is really true that no gas is in an empty tank. That is, evil does not have an essence in reality, but it does have a ratio, an account or notion.
The replies to the first three might make it seem as if good and evil acts are defined entirely within the order of reason. However, human reason is still part of human nature, and thus the rational order is rooted in the natural order, in what is good or evil for human nature (natural law). Still, it is helpful to keep the natural and the rational orders distinct:
It is possible, however, that an act which is one in respect of its natural species, be ordained to several ends of the will: thus this act to kill a man, which is but one act in respect of its natural species, can be ordained, as to an end, to the safeguarding of justice, and to the satisfying of anger: the result being that there would be several acts in different species of morality: since in one way there will be an act of virtue, in another, an act of vice. For a movement does not receive its species from that which is its terminus accidentally, but only from that which is its per se terminus. Now moral ends are accidental to a natural thing, and conversely the relation to a natural end is accidental to morality.St. Thomas, ST, Ia-IIae, q. 1, a. 3, ad 3.
One must stress that “a natural thing” is meant to signify the physical or natural reality aside from any intention or rational choice (per accidens). It does not follow that the natures of things, much less human nature itself, is irrelevant to the “moral ends” in the passage. (Some excellent resources in this area of moral theory: Steven A. Long, Steven J. Jensen, Stephen L. Brock, and—just to prove that being “Steve” isn’t required—Kevin L. Flannery, S.J., among others.)
9.6. Evil Is Nothing, With and Without the Good (ScG, III.10–12)
This is where the next few chapters come in. While it is not a complete disquisition on the origins of evil (e.g., see Aquinas’s Disputed Questions on Evil or the treatments of vices in the Secunda Pars of the Summa Theologiae), it is still helpful.
Aquinas quickly gives a series of arguments in ScG, III.10 that good is the cause of evil, albeit per accidens, or that evil cannot be a cause per se, albeit per accidens. For instance, the fourth:
Every cause is either matter, or form, or agent, or end.
- But evil cannot be either matter or form: for it has been shown above that being, whether actual or potential, is a good.
- Neither can it be an agent, since a thing acts insofar as it is actual and has a form.
- Nor again can it be an end, since it is beside the intention, as we have shown. Therefore, evil cannot be the cause of a thing, and if anything be the cause of an evil, that evil must be caused by a good.
However, St. Thomas quickly adds that this causality must be per accidens, because the rationes of good and evil are opposed, and “one opposite cannot be the cause of the other except accidentally [per accidens]: thus a cold thing causes heat, as stated in Physics.” It is per se to a cold object that heat flows towards it (i.e., that it cools other objects), but per accidens that you (losing heat) seek a means to become warmer (by moving or by putting on a coat; see St. Thomas, In Phys., lib. VIII, lect. 2, n. 977: “Cold becomes per accidens the cause of warmth either by moving farther away or by approaching closer, as in the winter, the interior of animals is warmer, because their heat retreats inward on account of the surrounding cold.”).
St. Thomas then moves to consider how goods are per accidens causes of evil.
- In natural things
- Agents cause evil because of a defect of their power. “Hence it is said that evil has not an efficient, but a deficient, cause.”
- Per se the agent causes the effect; the defect is per accidens to it as agent.
- Matter is a cause of evil in the effect, by being ill disposed: “For if the matter be indisposed to receive the impression of the agent, the effect must be defective.”
- Per se the matter receives the form; the indisposition is per accidens to it as matter.
- Form is a cause of evil in the effect also, for “evil occurs accidentally insofar as one form necessarily involves the privation of another.” (This is one reason why certain counterexamples to the privation theory of evil fail: e.g., the meteor-annihilation example in John F. Crosby, “Is All Evil Really Only Privation?” Proceedings of the ACPA 75 (2001): 197–209, at 199–200.)
- Per se the form informs a given matter; the excluded form is per accidens to it.
- Agents cause evil because of a defect of their power. “Hence it is said that evil has not an efficient, but a deficient, cause.”
- In moral actions
- Here, the evil arises from the agent cause. What exactly is this defect or privation?
The last case presents a problem. What are the sources of moral agency? Aquinas notes four: “the first active principle in moral actions is
- the thing apprehended;
- the second is the apprehensive power [intellect];
- the third is the will;
- and the fourth is the motive force, which carries out the command of reason.”
Now, St. Thomas gives reasons why three of these cannot be the source of the defect (1, 2, 4), and then he objects to his own result that (3) the will is the cause. That is, what is the origin of this defective will? It cannot a naturally originating defect (for then one would always will evil, and thus not responsible); it cannot be voluntary (this leads to an explanatory regress); and it cannot be chance (not subject to choice and one cannot be blamed); so, how can a defective will be caused?
Aquinas’s answer is that “The perfection of every active principle depends on a higher active principle, for the second agent acts by virtue of the first. Therefore, while the second agent remains subordinate to the first, it acts unfailingly.” So, we are looking for a defect that arises in the connection or relationship between reason and will:
Consequently, the sin of action in the will is preceded by lack of order to reason and to its proper end. To reason, as when the will, on the sudden apprehension of a sense, tends to a good that is pleasurable to sense. To its due end, as when by deliberating the reason arrives at some good which is not good now, or in some particular way, and yet the will tends to that good as though it were its proper good. Now this lack of order is voluntary, for it is in the will’s power to will or not to will. Again, it is in the will’s power that the reason actually consider the matter, or cease from considering it, or that it consider this or that matter. Nor is this lack of order a moral evil: for if the reason were to consider nothing, or to consider any good whatever, as yet there is no sin until the will tends to an undue end. And this itself is an act of the will.ScG, III.10, penultimate paragraph
How, then, does evil exist “in things”? Even here, good is in some way the subject for evil. Evil is an ontological parasite:
Non-being is not in an opposite being as its subject, for blindness is not universal non-being, but a particular kind of non-being, namely, privation of sight. Therefore, it is not in sight as its subject, but in an animal. In like manner, evil does not have the opposite good for its subject—for it is the privation of this good—but it has some other good. Thus moral evil is in a natural good, and an evil of nature (that is, privation of a form) is in matter, which is a good as a being in potency.ScG, III.11, end
For this reason (and others, in III.12), we see that goodness is ineradicable in the universe: the subject is always present and the per accidens agent causes of evil are of finite power.
Even in the human heart, where “the intellect and will have no limit [terminus] fixed to their actions,” (ScG, III.12) evil can be multiplied indefinitely, such that “the good of natural aptitude may be diminished indefinitely by moral evil, yet it will never be entirely destroyed, and will always accompany the nature that remains.” (Ibid., end)
9.7. The Cause of Evil and Evil as Cause (ScG, III.13–15)
In ScG, III.13, St. Thomas recaps some of what he has established: evil has a cause per accidens. Thus, he notes that evil must be in some subject (akin to a material cause), that it needs a separate agent cause since evil is contrary to the nature of what is due its subject, and that it arises only per accidens from final causes (goods).
Just as evil only has quasi-causes, it is also a quasi-cause: In ScG, III.14, see the last argument, which is also a good example of an inductive argument:
If we run through all the kinds of cause, we find that evil is an accidental cause. It is so in the species of efficient cause, because defect in effect and action results from a defect in the efficient cause. It is so in the species of material cause, because a fault in the effect arises from indisposition in the matter. It is so in the species of formal cause, because every form is accompanied by the privation of the opposite form. And it is so in the species of final cause, because evil is united to the undue end, inasmuch as the due end is hindered thereby.
Lastly, there is no quasi-“first evil” that is the agent cause or principle of all other evils (ScG, III.15). This chapter, which covers similar ground as does ScG, II.41, is a great summary of the various features which characterize a true first cause.
9.8. Ultimately, Why Is There Evil?
We should note that that the above consideration does not touch upon other dimensions of the problem of evil: psychological ones, pastoral ones, phenomenological ones, etc. We have discussed many proximate causes of evil and excluded an ultimate, per se cause of evil (ScG, III.15).
In these chapters, St. Thomas does not treat directly of God’s relationship to evil. Previously, he had argued that God cannot will evil (ScG, I.95), and later he will conclude that “divine providence, which governs things, does not prevent corruption, defects and evil from being in the world.” (III.71) The mystery of evil is centered in the mystery of the human heart, the relationship between knowing the truth and our free will, but tied to a mystery of divine providence: “Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in me.” (Hos 13:9)
Why, then, does God permit evil? Here we should note that, “while language about the ‘permission of evil’ keeps us from two errors (making God the cause of evil and positing evil as beyond the reach of divine providence), it is not so much a ‘solution’ to the problem of evil as a way of preserving its mystery.” (Michael J. Dodds, O.P., The One Creator God in Thomas Aquinas and Contemporary Theology (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2020), 142n76.) Indeed,
Contemporary cosmological theodicies, in which evil is explained by reference to the good of the whole, and personalist theodicies in which evil is explained by some good accruing to the sufferer, will always fight themselves to a draw. From a strictly philosophical perspective, the Thomist will claim that theodicies are necessarily multiple because the philosophical understanding of the human allows God multiple possibilities in which to realize human destiny. Closure on these possibilities would be found only in religious belief.John F. X. Knasas, Aquinas and the Cry of Rachel: Thomistic Reflections on the Problem of Evil (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2013), xv.
The meaning of evil in the universe and in human history, then, is a “cipher”:
To discover the cipher of sacred history as well as that of the world, to break the seal and harmonize opposites there is only one possibility. It is the mystery of a God who “would never permit any evil to exist in his works if he were not powerful enough and good enough to make good come out of the very evil.” With this the absurdity vanishes: good and evil, holiness and sin, being and non-being are no longer set on the same level. . . . Only the divine darkness can throw light on it, overcome the discrepancies and give us to understand that the conflict of the two transcendent cities has meaning.Charles Journet, The Meaning of Evil, trans. by M. Barry (Cluny Media: Providence, RI, 2020), 247; see also 67–69.
Cardinal Journet quotes St. Augustine, Enchiridion, ch. 11. One hastens to add that God draws good out of evil per accidens—evil is not “a structural element of the universe” or “because God, to realize himself over the course of history, needed evil to surmount and reconcile” as Journet notes in the same passage, referring to other philosophers.
Appendix: On “Finis” and “Terminus”
The following, with exempla and some references removed, is from Lewis and Short. “Lewis and Short” is the typical way to refer to: A Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrews’ Edition of Freund’s Latin Dictionary Revised, Enlarged, and in Great Part Rewritten, by Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and Charles Short, LL.D (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879). This invaluable dictionary has been digitized: go to https://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/resolveform and select “Latin”.
- I. Lit.: …, a boundary, limit, border, = terminus, ὅρος.
- B. Transf.
- 1. In plur., borders, and hence territory, land, country enclosed within boundaries:
- 2. Fine or fini alicujus rei, up to, as far as, a certain point (very rare) …
- II. Trop., a limit, bound …
- B. Transf., like τέλος.
- 1. An end …
- (α). The end of life, latter end, death (not till after the Aug. per.):
- (β). The end, extremity of an ascending series, i. e. the highest point, greatest degree, summit
- (γ). An end, purpose, aim, object, but an end subjectively regarded, as an intention, or design, is
- (δ). An intention, design, end in view (very rare; cf. γ supra):
- 2. In rhet. lang., i. q. finitio and definitio, qs. an explanatory limiting, a definition, explanation
- 3. In the later jurid. Lat., a measure, amount …
- I. … a boundary-line, boundary, bound, limit (syn.: finis, limes, meta).
- I. Lit., of local boundaries …
- B. Personified: Termĭnus , the deity presiding over boundaries …
- II. Transf., in gen., a bound, limit, end, term …
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