Thomas Aquinas and Contemplation

ISBN : 9780192895295

Rik Van Nieuwenhove
224 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2021
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Contemplation, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the central goal of our life. This study considers the epistemological and metaphysical foundations of the contemplative act; the nature of the active and contemplative lives in light of Aquinas's Dominican calling; the role of faith, charity, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in contemplation; and contemplation and the beatific vision. Rik Van Nieuwenhove argues that Aquinas espouses a profoundly intellective notion of contemplation in the strictly speculative sense, which culminates in a non-discursive moment of insight (intuitus simplex). In marked contrast to his contemporaries Aquinas therefore rejects a sapiential or affective brand of theology. He also employs a broader notion of contemplation, which can be enjoyed by all Christians, in which the gifts of the Holy Spirit are of central importance. Thomas Aquinas and Contemplation will appeal to readers interested in this key aspect of Aquinas's thought. Van Nieuwenhove provides a lucid account of central aspects of Aquinas's metaphysics, epistemology, theology, and spirituality. He also offers new insights into the nature of the theological discipline as Aquinas sees it, and how theology relates to philosophy.


1 Introduction
Part I. Epistemological and Metaphysical Foundations
2 Epistemological Issues: Contemplation, Intellectus, and Intuitus Simplex
3 Metaphysics: Contemplation and the Transcendentals
Part II. The Dominican Setting
4 The Dominican Calling and the Relation between the Active and Contemplative Lives
Part III. Theology, the Christian Life and Contemplation
5 Faith, Theology, and Contemplation
6 Charity, Contemplation, and Participation in the Trinity
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Prayer, and a 'Sapiential' Notion of Wisdom
8 Happiness and the Vision of God
9 Conclusion

About the author: 

Rik Van Nieuwenhove is Associate Professor of Medieval Thought at Durham University. His publications include Introduction to Medieval Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Introduction to the Trinity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), and Jan van Ruusbroe: Mystical Theologian of the Trinity(University of Notre Dame Press, 2003).

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