April 24, 2020
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v2.1 Reference

Reading Job with St. Thomas Aquinas

Reading Job with St. Thomas Aquinas is a scholarly contribution to Thomistic studies, specifically to the study of Aquinas's biblical exegesis in relation to his philosophy and theology. Each of the thirteen chapters has a different focus, within the shared concentration of the book on Aquinas's Literal Exposition on Job. The essays are arranged in three Parts: "Job and Sacra Doctrina"; "Providence and Suffering"; and "Job and the Moral Life". Boyle's opening essay argues that Aquinas's commentary seeks to show what is required in the "Magister" (namely, Job and God) for the effective communication of wisdom. Mansini's essay argues that by speaking, God reveals the virtue of Job and its value in God's providence; without the personal revelation or speech of God, Job could not have known the value of his suffering. Vijgen's essay explores the commentary's use of Aristotle for reflecting upon divine providence, sorrow and anger, resurrection, and the new heavens and new earth. Levering's essay explores the commentary's citations of the Gospel of John and argues that these pertain especially to divine speech and to light/darkness. Bonino's essay explains why divine incomprehensibility does not mean that Job is wrong to seek to understand God's ways. Te Velde's essay explores how Aquinas's commentary draws upon the reasoning of his Summa contra gentiles with regard to the good order of the universe. Goris's essay reflects upon how, according to Aquinas's commentary, sin is and is not related to suffering. Knasas's essay argues that Aquinas does not hold that the resurrection of the body is a necessary philosophical corollary of the human desire for happiness. Wawrykow's essay explores merit, in relation to the connection between sin and punishment/affliction as well as to the connection between good actions and flourishing. Spezzano's essay shows that Job's hope and filial fear transform his suffering, making him an exemplar of the consolation they provide to the just. Mullady's essay reflects upon the moral problems and opportunities posed by the passions, along with the ordering of the virtues to the reward of human happiness. Flood's essay shows how Aquinas defends Job's possession of the qualities needed for true friendship (including friendship with God), such as patience, delight in the presence of the friend, and compassion. Lastly, Kromholtz's essay argues that although Aquinas's Literal Exposition on Job never extensively engages eschatology, Aquinas depends throughout upon the reasonableness of hoping for the resurrection of the body and the final judgment.

About the Authors

Matthew Levering is the James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary. Piotr Roszak is assistant professor at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland. Jörgen Vijgen is Research Fellow at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland and at the Thomas Institute of the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology.


"This excellent volume reveals the profound philosophical and theological riches to be found in Aquinas's commentary on Job. The essays gathered here, written on a range of topics by prominent Thomistic scholars, shed much light on the Book of Job itself and on Aquinas as a masterful reader and interpreter of Job."—Franklin Harkins, Boston College

"This is a splendid and much-needed volume! Levering, Roszak, and Vijgen have gathered an impressive roster of contributors that help the reader approach Aquinas's Expositio super Iob with historical nuance and critical rigor. There are important theological riches to be found here: the wisdom of God and his providence; the divine permission of evil, sin, and human suffering; merit; hope and fear, and more. In short, we see Aquinas as a scriptural theologian of the first rank, who brings to bear the wisdom of the church fathers and the philosophers while remaining focused on the meaning of the sacred page. It will be required reading for anyone wanting to understand Aquinas's approach to the deep theological and philosophical questions raised by the Book of Job."—Dominic Legge, OP, Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC

"This commendable volume presents the timeless value of Thomas Aquinas's commentary on the book of Job in all its richness and thoughtfulness. Thirteen contributors, all of them experts on Aquinas, delve into the perennial philosophical and theological themes covered in Thomas's commentary, for example, divine providence, faith and reason, virtue and its reward, sin and suffering. Thomas's discourse is shown to be a groundbreaking masterpiece of medieval scriptural interpretation and an inspiring approach to the book of Job and Job's fate even in the present day."—Ruth Meyer, Albertus-Magnus-Institut, Bonn, Germany

"Every prolific author has a 'neglected masterpiece' and Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Job is surely his. The essays in this important collection make clear that no full treatment of Aquinas's teaching on divine providence and its manifestations, divine wisdom and human incomprehension, sin and choice, suffering and hope, death and resurrection, can neglect his Job. Here disputatio takes place not in universal terms or through demonstrations, as it does in the Summa contra Gentiles or the Summa Theologiae, but 'in terms of the lives of concrete persons.' It is fitting that Aquinas's defense of a providence that is neither indifferent nor merely general, but ordered to the return of each person to the creator, should involve not only metaphysical proofs but the explication of a story of 'how God deals with an individual, with Job, and no one else.' This excellent book meets a real need in Thomistic scholarship at the same time reminding us that scriptural commentary was the center of Aquinas's professional and religious life."—Mary Catherine Sommers, University of St. Thomas, Houston

"This is a workmanlike and insightful collection of essays, in which breathes something of the spirit of the schoolroom for which Aquinas wrote his practical aid for the fratres communes in their study of the book of Job, and in which he can be seen developing his own thinking."—Journal of Ecclesiastical History

9780813232836 : reading-job-with-st-thomas-aquinas-levering-roszak-vijgen
416 Pages
$65.00 USD

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