By Paul O’Grady (auth.)
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Extra info for Aquinas’s Philosophy of Religion
What is clear is that God remains mysterious, unlike anything else and never fully grasped by human intellect. Human efforts to talk and understand are conducted in language – which is exactly what theism attempts. Distinguishing between approaches to God which domesticate God and make the divinity into a superbeing is important, but to claim that no representation or description is possible is to overstate the case. So these objections to reading Aquinas as a philosopher are useful in terms of clarifying his aims and methods, correct in replacing certain kinds of overrationalistic readings and important for a sensitive historical retrieval of his work.
At this time he also continued to work on his masterwork, the Summa Theologiae, and returned to Italy in 1272, teaching in Naples. Aquinas is represented in art as a large presence. He was very heavy and also notoriously silent. Yet he walked everywhere (as set down by the rules of his order: Naples – Paris – Cologne – Rome). He also wrote copiously. His memory was prodigious. But in late 1273 something happened to him. He was saying mass and reported to his friend, Reginald, that he had seen something astounding.
Then one shows the difference between God and everything else, denying many features of creation in God (the way of negation, via negationis). Finally there is the way of showing how some features of the world exist in God in a supreme way (the way of eminence, via eminentionis). This means of approach helped Aquinas structure his own work, as we shall see below. Given his rootedness in the Neoplatonic world of Augustine and Denys the Areopagite, there is also the great importance of Aristotle along with the Arab and Jewish commentators of that tradition.
Aquinas’s Philosophy of Religion by Paul O’Grady (auth.)