Aquinas and modern theology

Quote from John Deely, Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-First Century

p. 298-299 “”Aquinas’s metaphysics of esse is the foundation of his theology, insofar as theology is an edifice of contemplative reason expressed in discourse in the light of faith, as is clear from the very organization Aquinas gives to his Summa. But theology in Aquina’s sense no longer plays in today’s culture the role it did for so many centuries, in no small measure as a consequence of what he achieved. In a ‘religious studies’ department today, there would be no thought of displacing Lombard (that is, patristics). ‘Theology’ would be, at best, a co-ordinate study alongside scripture and patristics. More probably theology would be a subordinate study in many places considered dispensable, as in the lecture I attended by a Presbyterian who rhetorically challenged a largely Dominica audience in Chicago to explain how anyone could put as much trust in reason as Aquinas did and still expect to be saved. There is reason why Rahner, Schoonenberg, and others today respectfully differ from Aquinas as to the central subject matter of theology, and think that an anthropocentric theology would better fit the Christian mission today.”

Note p. 299 “Writing strictly as a philosopher, I think I have shown (Deely 1996) there are good grounds in Aquinas himself for such a change of focus. But Rahner hardly needs my assistance.”


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