God in Himself: Aquinas' Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae

God in Himself: Aquinas' Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae

God in Himself: Aquinas' Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae

God in Himself: Aquinas' Doctrine of God as Expounded in the Summa Theologiae

Synopsis

During the post-Vatican I period, in the course of the Church's anti-Modernist campaign, Roman Catholic scholars isolated St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophical theology from its neo-Platonism, and other scholars have also tended to treat the various parts of his Summa Theologiae without regard to their historical context. Here, Hankey contends that Thomas Aquinas was less of an Aristotelian than is commonly supposed, and that a proper appreciation of his work requires us to take fuller notice of his reliance on neo-Platonism. In setting out his case, Hankey pays special attention to the influence of Proclus, providing a critical exposition of his work. The author also supports his position by making a careful analysis of the first forty-five questions of the Summa Theologiae.

Excerpt

Relatio est idem quod persona: the Trinity of Persons Questions 26 to 43

Questions 26 to 43 complete the consideration of God 'in se' in the Summa Theologiae by that procession or emanation which produces real relation and opposition within the divine essence. These real relations are subsistent divine persons. There are two main aspects of the structural analysis herein attempted. the first is a treatment of the internal structure of the treatise de deo trino. in this considerable assistance is derived from Bernard Lonergan's Verbum. the analysis must, however, be more extensive than his and, ultimately, conclusions other than his will be drawn about the logic operative in these questions. the second part is an examination of the connections between the treatise on the predications belonging to the divine unity and that on the Trinity of persons. Included in this must be some consideration of the significance of the different relations between metaphysical theology and scriptural theology which Thomas holds to exist in these two treatises. As the examination of the links and discontinuities within the whole 'de deo in se' will require venturing well outside the 'de deo trino' and will lead more easily to general conclusions, it is taken up after the internal structure has been sifted.

Bernard Lonergan writes the following (I have supplied the references to specific questions from Fr Lonergan's notes):

There is the order of our concepts in fieri, and then, processions [q. 27] precede relations [q. 28] and relations precede persons [qq. 29-43). There is the order of our concepts in facto esse and then there are the persons as persons [qq. 30-2], the persons considered individually [qq. 33-8], the persons compared to the divine essence [q. 39], to the relations [q. 40], to the notional acts [q. 41]. Now these orders are inverse. the processions and the notional acts are the same realities. But the processions are in God prior, in the first order of our concepts, to the constitution of the persons. On the other hand, the notional acts are acts of the persons and consequent to the persons conceived . . .

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