The Power of God

The Power of God

The Power of God

The Power of God

Synopsis

On Power (De Potentia) is one of Aquinas's ''Disputed Questions'' (a systematic series of discussions of specific theological topics). It is a text which anyone with a serious interest in Aquinas's thinking will need to read. There is, however, no English translation of the De Potentia currently in print. A translation was published in 1932 under the auspices of the English Dominicans, but is now only available on a CD of translations of Aquineas coming from the InteLex Corporation. Anew translation in book form is therefore highly desirable. However, the De Potentia is a very long work indeed (the 1932 translation fills three volumes), and a full translation would be a difficult publishing proposition as well as a challenge to any translator. Recognizing this fact, while wishing to make a solid English version of the De Potentia available, Fr. Richard Regan has produced this abridgement, which passes over some of the full text while retaining what seems most important when it comes to following the flow of Aquinas's thought.

Excerpt

The dominican fathers have not yet completed editing the Leonine text of Thomas Aquinas’s Disputed Questions on the Power of God, nor are they expected to do so any time soon. One Dominican Father before his death had completed editing Q. 3, on creation, but the text has not yet been published. Susan C. Selner-Wright had access to the text and translated it, with commentary (see Bibliography). My translation of the entire treatise is based on the best text currently available: Thomas Aquinas, Quaestiones Disputatae, II:7–276 (Turin: Marietti, 1949). That text, however, has a few typographical errors (e.g., causale for casuale in connection with Democritus, famous for attributing the motion of matter to chance [casus]. Such typos are fortunately easy to spot.

I have taken the liberty of transforming the text’s format in one respect. I first relate the question-and-answer of each article and then list objections and replies. I include those objections that elicited the longest replies, sometimes several pages long, as well as a sample of other objections and replies. Professional academicians may understandably wish that all the objections and replies be included, but I think that one can very well comprehend the basic questions and answers without reference to every objection and reply. There is also a consideration of economy. Were I to include all of the objections and replies, the text would be twice its present extensive size. the present text should suffice for the use of most students and readers. For study of the objections and replies not included in this book, specialists and students can consult Lawrence Shapcote, On the Power of God, 3 vols. (London: Burns, Oates, and Washbourne, 1934).

I have provided the notes given in the Marietti text. the notes, however, are frequently incomplete, and there are many places where there should be notes. Scholars will have to await publication of the authoritative Leonine text. I have used the Latin titles of texts of Aristotle where that titling is in general usage (e.g., the De anima). For other authors, I have used the English titles of works when the English titles are commonplace and readily recognizable but have retained Latin or Greek titles where an English translation might not be recognizable . . .

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