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Faith, Hope and Love
Thomas Aquinas on Living by the Theological Virtues


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Editors:  Goris H., Hendriks L., Schoot H.J.M.
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Year: 2015
ISBN: 978-90-429-3221-0
Pages: VIII-308 p.
Price: 54 EURO


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Summary:
During the last two decades virtue ethics has become the focal point of renewed ethical and theological interest. To lead a good life, it proves useful to watch those who have mastered the art of living. The conviction that living is an art is at the heart of virtue ethics. Living a good life requires exercise, and is a question of acquiring a virtuous character rather than of complying with external ethical and legal rules. This renaissance partly builds on Thomas Aquinas. He in turn recovered Aristotelian, Ciceronian and Augustinian thought on virtue ethics. The interpretation and development of virtues and vices form the core of his authorship, as the secunda pars of his Summa Theologiae readily displays. And yet, the most important virtues for him are not the moral ones, such as Justice, Temperance, Prudence and Fortitude, but those virtues that are both infused by and aimed at God: Faith, Hope and Love. These are virtues that the philosophers of antiquity were not aware of. To account for them, Aquinas had to adapt the classical understanding of virtues. For Aquinas, the moral virtues come to full fruition only when they are embedded in a life before God, a life lived exercising the God given theological virtues. By ignoring Faith, Hope and Love, the present discussion of virtue ethics not only ignores those virtues that were for Aquinas of utmost importance, but also fails to arrive at a complete understanding of his view of the moral virtues.

The papers contained in this volume address this theme, and were originally presented at the fourth international conference of the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht (Tilburg University), at Utrecht in December 2013.


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