Political Writings

By Thomas Aquinas; R. W. Dyson | Go to book overview

2
Obedience

(a) Summa theologiae IIa IIae 104: On obedience
We come next to obedience; and here there are six things to consider:
1. Whether one man is bound to obey another
2. Whether obedience is a specific virtue
3. Howit relates to other virtues
4. Whether God is to be obeyed in all things
5. Whether subjects are bound to obey their rulers in all things
6. Whether the faithful are bound to obey the secular powers

articulus 1: Whether one man is bound to obey another

It seems that one man is not bound to obey another.

obiectio 1: For nothing should be done contrary to Divine ordinance. But it is a Divine ordinance that man should be ruled by his own counsel, according to Ecclesiasticus 15:14: 'God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel.' Therefore one man is not bound to obey another.

obiectio 2: Moreover, if someone were bound to obey another, the will of the one commanding him would be the rule of his conduct. But the only rule of human conduct is the Divine will, which is always right. Therefore man is bound to obey no one except God.

obiectio 3: Moreover, the more freely service is given, the more acceptable it is. But what a man does out of duty is not freely given. Therefore if a man were bound by duty to obey others in performing good works, his good works would be rendered less acceptable by the fact that they were done under obedience. Therefore one man is not bound to obey another.

-57-

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Political Writings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Introduction xvii
  • A Brief Chronology of St Thomas's Life xxxvii
  • Bibliography xxxviii
  • 1 - Government and Politics 1
  • 2 - Obedience 57
  • 3 - Law 76
  • 4 - Right, Justice and Judgment1 158
  • 5 - Property Relations 205
  • 6 - War, Sedition and Killing 239
  • 7 - Religion and Politics 267
  • Biographical Glossary 279
  • Index 297
  • Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought *
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