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Ethics as a Work of CharityThomas Aquinas and Pagan Virtue$
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David Decosimo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804790635

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804790635.001.0001

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God, Good , and the Desire of all Things

God, Good , and the Desire of all Things

(p.40) 2 God, Good , and the Desire of all Things
Ethics as a Work of Charity

David Decosimo

Stanford University Press

Beginning with the Aristotelian dictum that “the good is what all desire,” this chapter argues that for Thomas the good is Jesus Christ and the Triune God. So understood, this principle founds his recognition of any creaturely virtue wherever it may be found. For Thomas, all things – including humans who do not believe in God – are ceaselessly related to and desire God, for God in Christ is drawing all things to himself. Elucidating Thomas’s theology of esse, goodness, and participation, this chapter explains how he believes this is so and how this commitment sets the low threshold for pagan virtue. The chapter’s second half explicates Thomas’s way of uniting Augustinian Trinitarianism with Aristotelian philosophy to establish sacra doctrina as properly Aristotelian scientia. It shows how Thomas’s vision of good- and God-seeking is rooted in an irreducibly Christological and Trinitarian moral vision.

Keywords:   sacra doctrina, perfection, esse, goodness, participation, Gilles Emery, Trinity, Jesus Christ, scientia, Scripture

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