Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Thomas Aquinas on the Jews

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Thomas Aquinas on the Jews

Article excerpt

THOMAS AQUINAS ON THE JEWS by Steven C. Boguslawski, O.P. Paulist, 145 pages, $18.95

Boguslawski broaches a demanding subject. The phrase "Thomas Aquinas on the Jews" evokes Aquinas' Letter to the Countess of Flanders, dating from the same period as his Romans commentary, which addresses questions of civil governance and urges rulers to treat their Jewish subjects fairly. Or the phrase recalls the fruitful use Aquinas made of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed and the respect in which he held its author. Again, connoisseurs of Thomistic texts know that in a homily on the Decalogue, Aquinas proffers the Jewish people and their custom of spending the Sabbath meditating on the prophets as a salutary example for Christians, whom he exhorts to heed die Sunday homily.

As another locus where Aquinas shows favorable treatment to the chosen people, Boguslawski points to his commentary on Romans 9-11. The author argues that the theological categories of election and predestination provide the key to discovering Aquinas' view of the "corporate soteriological status of the Jews. …

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