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September 15, 2023
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v2.1 Reference

The Passion of Love in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas

This book is an introduction to three questions on love according to St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae I–II, qq. 26–28). These three questions reflect on the nature of love (q. 26), the causes of love (q. 27), and the effects of love (q. 28). It is thus an introduction to the entire phenomenon of love, both as a bodily passion and an act of the will. The purpose is to present the Thomistic and broadly scholastic account of human and divine
love from a philosophical and theological perspective. It aims to be a theological and philosophical study of the topic, useful both for a graduate/professional audience, as part of an undergraduate or graduate course, and perhaps for the educated reader. The thesis of the book is that, contrary to contemporary conceptions, not all loves are created equal. Some loves perfect us and some loves corrupt us. The worth of a love depends on its object and end. St. Thomas thus presents an objective and teleological account of human and divine love that is of philosophical and theological interest. The method is broadly exegetical, presenting a careful reading of the text and supplying the philosophical and theological background which the text of Aquinas assumes. The scope of the work is limited to three questions (ST I–II, qq. 26–28). References to interpretative disputes of Aquinas and references to further resources in the secondary literature will be mostly limited to the footnotes, making the body of the text accessible to more readers.

About the Author

Daniel Joseph Gordon is a PhD candidate at The University of Notre Dame. Dominic Legge, OP, is the Director of the Thomistic Institute and Assistant Professor in Systematic Theology at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC.


"Gordon's contribution to this topic is that it takes up the passion of love as opposed to another exposition of charity in St. Thomas, and gives a truly theological and deeply Thomistic treatment of this topic. Overall, the real advantages of this text are its clarity and its ability to make elevated theological themes accessible and really human."—Jessica M. Murdoch, Villanova University

"A remarkable feature of our being created in the image of God is that we know and love God using the same created capacities with which we know and love the things and persons around us. Our created nature forms the basis for our theological life. Not distinct but transformed faculties of intellect and will are God's gift to us at baptism: the infusion of sanctifying grace and the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Daniel Gordon's wonderful book examines the natural structures of the passion of love that are taken up into the supernatural virtue of charity by which we love God and our neighbor as ourselves. An amazing grace!"—Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, Vatican City

"Approaching Saint Thomas's analysis of the subject of love with impressive intellectual rigour – as well as summing it up with lucid prose – Daniel Gordon proves convincingly that Aquinas can be best appreciated and understood when the full theological, philosophical, mystical complexity of his writing is taken into consideration, along with his poetic sensibilities. This is a major contribution to Thomistic studies, as well as to the history of Catholic thought."—Carlos Eire, Yale University

"Who would have guessed that a mere three questions in the prima-secundae could serve as an introduction to Aquinas's theology as a whole, to his spiritual depths, and to many of the most complex debates within contemporary theology? With disarming humility and grace, Daniel Gordon here provides us with an introductory book that is also a tour de force. For students looking to dive into Aquinas and for seasoned scholars looking for rejuvenation—as well as for anyone with any lingering doubts about whether Aquinas is a spiritual master—this is the book to read."—Matthew Levering, Mundelein Seminary

"This book is a pearl. It provides both a splendid philosophical analysis of human love in its multiple facets, and a wonderful example of historical, textual study of Aquinas on a theme of central existential importance. People who wonder what real philosophy is or why it matters should read this book. It is a great example of living philosophy that is both perennially pertinent and deeply informed by incisive historical learning."—Thomas Joseph White, OP, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome

"In less than two hundred pages, Daniel Gordon shows convincingly the centrality of love for Aquinas. Throughout this book Gordon proves himself to be an adroit teacher, and the many questions that he raises in the company of Aquinas and the many examples that he offers to secure Aquinas's observations really do make this teaching on human love accessible. This book is a great gift to non-specialists, an excellent entry into the heart of Aquinas's theology. But specialists—whether in theological anthropology, or ethics, or Christian spirituality—too will learn much of significance under Gordon's guidance."—Joseph Wawrykow, University of Notre Dame

9780813236858 : the-passion-of-love-in-the-summa-theologiae-of-thomas-aquinas-gordon
Paperback / softback
176 Pages
$34.95 USD

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