Human Beginnings and Endings

This series of posts is nearing the “midterm” point of the course on Summa contra Gentiles, Books II–III. Here is a collection of posts thus far: The Polyvalent Hierarchy of Wisdoms (ScG, I.1–8, II.1–5, et al.) God’s Power and Creative Act (ScG, II.6–27) The Possibility of An Eternal World (ScG, II.28–38) The Cosmos as Total … Continue reading Human Beginnings and Endings

The Incarnation and Mary

The following is excerpted with slight adaptations from my essay “Ancilla Domini et Ancilla Theologiae: Mary and Philosophy,” a translator’s essay in Fr. Hugon’s Mary, Full of Grace (235–78; here 235–46). It proposes that Mary is, as it were, the imagination of God in which the Word first comes to be Incarnately; she is like … Continue reading The Incarnation and Mary

The Unity of the Human Person

In ScG, II.56–72, St. Thomas embarks upon a consideration of intellectual substances which are united to bodies, later considering those which are not thus united (angels, see ScG, II.91ff). In these chapters, then, we will follow St. Thomas in staking out the middle ground between a materialist account of the human person (ruled out by … Continue reading The Unity of the Human Person

The Cosmos as Total Object of Creation

This discussion covers ScG, II.39–45. In this part of the work, St. Thomas considers the distinction of things. Given circumstances, our comments here will be brief: some notes about the context and purpose of these chapters overall; consideration of a particular theme in these chapters: the universe; concluding remarks for student discussion (with some appendices). … Continue reading The Cosmos as Total Object of Creation

The Possibility of An Eternal World

We discuss what must happen when God creates; what must He do, and for how long? This will lead us to the famous medieval debate over the eternity of the world. So, we will: present an overview of ScG, II.28–38; consider the way in which justice and necessity are found in creation (II.28–30); sketch the … Continue reading The Possibility of An Eternal World

God’s Power and Creative Act

We are now ready to embark upon our study of ScG, Book II. We begin with ScG, II.6–27. Since this is “in the middle” of things in the Contra Gentiles itself, and at the beginning of our of course, our work is somewhat complicated. We will discuss what Book II assumes from Book I, and … Continue reading God’s Power and Creative Act

The Polyvalent Hierarchy of Wisdoms

The following are notes from the first week of this semester’s seminar on the Summa contra Gentiles. The complexity of ScG (see here) suggests that we read the prooemium of the whole work in Book I alongside the prooemia specific to Books II–IV so as to get a sense of the whole. We will discuss … Continue reading The Polyvalent Hierarchy of Wisdoms

De Koninck’s “philosophical species”

Over the next several months, based on rereading it for a reading group with fellow interested philosophers and scientists, I hope to post some reflections on Rob Koons’s new book, Is St. Thomas’s Aristotelian Philosophy of Nature Obsolete? The book is a summative presentation of an ongoing research project into hylomorphism and modern science which … Continue reading De Koninck’s “philosophical species”

The Sapiential Cosmology of St. Thomas Aquinas

This semester, I am teaching an upper division seminar in medieval philosophy. I hope to post weekly updates and reflections based upon that course, which I have titled “Creator, Creation, and the Common Doctor: The Sapiential Cosmology of St. Thomas Aquinas.” This introduction, then, serves as “syllabus day” for the blog series. The course studies … Continue reading The Sapiential Cosmology of St. Thomas Aquinas