By knowledge & by love

By knowledge & by love: charity and knowledge in the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas

MICHAEL S. SHERWIN
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt28539d
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  • Book Info
    By knowledge & by love
    Book Description:

    By Knowledge and By Love represents a major contribution to Thomistic moral theology and philosophy by providing a thoughtful examination of Aquinas' psychology of action and his theology of charity.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1657-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xxvi)

    When confronted with the question of love’s relationship to knowledge, we might be tempted to say, along with a voice from a Midsummer Night, that “reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”² Indeed, in reaction to the rationalism of modern thought, many would join their voices to the sentiment that “reason and love are sworn enemies.”³ Yet, even if we grant that the warmth of love has little in common with the cold calculations of rationalism, love seems nevertheless to remain deeply intertwined with knowledge. “Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer love.”⁴ This hard-won insight from...

  7. CHAPTER 1 Charity’s Relationship to Knowledge
    (pp. 1-17)

    In its Decree on the Training of Priests, the Second Vatican Council turned its attention to the renewal of moral theology.

    Special care should be given to the perfecting of moral theology. Its scientific presentation should draw more fully on the teaching of holy Scripture and should throw light upon the exalted vocation of the faithful in Christ and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world.¹

    The Council’s call to present the Church’s moral teaching from within the biblical conception of charity was a direct response to the limitations present in the perspective...

  8. CHAPTER 2 The Will’s Role in Practical Reasoning
    (pp. 18-62)

    At the outset of the Summa theologiae St. Thomas affirms that, “Since it is by our will that we employ whatever powers we have, the human person is said to be good, not by his good understanding, but by his good will.”¹ This affirmation might give the reader the impression that for Aquinas moral goodness depends on an act of will that is structurally independent of practical reason and its objects. The first goal of this chapter will be to show that the contrary is in fact the case. We shall establish that Thomas Aquinas maintains throughout his career that...

  9. CHAPTER 3 Knowledge and Love in Human Action
    (pp. 63-118)

    After having considered the character of the will’s relationship to intellect in practical reasoning, we are now in a position to study more closely the will’s proper act, which is love. A full account of the Thomistic psychology of love is beyond the scope of this project.¹ Instead, our goal in this chapter is to study St. Thomas’ description of love’s relationship to knowledge in human action. We shall consider the relationship between knowledge and love in Thomas’ accounts of happiness (ST I-II 1–5), of the principles of practical reasoning (ST I-II 8–18), and of the virtues (ST....

  10. CHAPTER 4 Intellect and Will in St. Thomas’ Theology of Faith
    (pp. 119-146)

    At this point in our study it will be helpful to review the itinerary we have thus far traveled. We began our investigation by posing the question of charity’s relationship to knowledge. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, what is charity’s relationship to knowledge in human action? In our introductory remarks we saw that this question touches on charity’s status as a virtue. In order to live a virtue one must have knowledge of the virtue’s object and of its proper acts. Does charity as a divinely infused virtue have this same relationship to knowledge? Some scholars argue that it does...

  11. CHAPTER 5 Charity’s Relationship to Knowledge in Human Action
    (pp. 147-203)

    We have now reached the heart of our inquiry. We are now in a position to pose directly the question of charity’s relationship to knowledge in human action. Does charity depend on knowledge? Specifically, does charity’s act depend on the specifying action of the intellect? In the pages that follow, we shall discover that since charity is the graced elevation of the will’s natural love, charity does indeed retain core features of love’s relationship to knowledge. In St. Thomas’ view, charity’s act presupposes and depends on conceptual knowledge in the intellect. It presupposes faith’s knowledge of charity’s proper object, God....

  12. CHAPTER 6 Charity’s Status as a Virtue
    (pp. 204-238)

    We initiated our study of St. Thomas’ theology of charity by posing two related questions: (1) what is the relationship between charity and knowledge in the theology of St. Thomas? and (2) what are the implications of this relationship for charity’s status as a virtue? The analysis of St. Thomas’ thought we pursued in chapters two through five has enabled us to answer the first of these questions. It will also enable us in this concluding chapter to suggest an answer to the second. We shall begin by retracing briefly the steps of our analysis in chapters two through five...

  13. Conclusion: By Knowledge and By Love
    (pp. 239-240)

    At the outset of this study we noted that one of the reasons the theologians of moral motivation undertake their effort at renewal is their legitimate concern to offer a more adequate account of those who struggle with either moral blindness or moral weakness. Is the moral status of these individuals before God best understood in relation to their external actions, or is there something about their relationship with God that the standard manualist focus on acts fails to convey? This is an important and legitimate question. The results of our study of Thomas Aquinas’ theology of charity, however, suggest...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 241-254)
  15. Index of Names
    (pp. 255-257)
  16. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 258-270)