Treatise on Law: Summa Theologica, Questions 90-97

Treatise on Law: Summa Theologica, Questions 90-97

Treatise on Law: Summa Theologica, Questions 90-97

Treatise on Law: Summa Theologica, Questions 90-97

Synopsis

St. Thomas's Summa theologiae is often compared to a medieval cathedral because of its sublime construction both as a work of logic and literary architecture.Here is a mere tip of one of the spires, summarizing the great Saint's views on the nature and structure of law.Believing that law achieves its results by imposing moral obligations rather than outright force, St. Thomas defines the Christian view of liberty.

Excerpt

St. Thomas's treatment of law is found in the second part of his Summa theologiae. Since the Summa is noted for its architectural order—it is regularly compared with a medieval cathedral-the way in which Thomas locates law in his wider discussion of morality and the precise place he gives it provide a show-and-tell aspect of his view. Of course, it is not all show and no tell; Thomas often telegraphs his reasons for ordering discussions in the way in which he does it.

The second part of the Summa is far and away the longest of the three parts of this massive (and unfinished) work; indeed, it is so long that it is subdivided into the first part of the second part (I-II) and the second part of the second part (II-II). The treatment of law begins with question 90 of the I-II and continues through question 108. Accordingly, the present edition does not present the full treatise on law, but a significant portion of the treatise that enables us to see the relationship between human law and its foundation in natural and eternal law.

The I-II itself begins with a discussion of man's ultimate end and then goes on to speak of human . . .

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