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The Ethics of Aquinas


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In this comprehensive anthology, 27 outstanding scholars from North America and Europe address every major aspect of Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of morality and comment on his remarkable legacy. While there has been a revival of interest in recent years in the ethics of St. Thomas, no single work has yet fully examined the basic moral arguments and content of Aquinas’ major moral work, the second part of the Summa Theologiae. This work fills that lacuna.

The first chapters of The Ethics of Aquinas introduce readers to the sources, methods, and major themes of Aquinas’ ethics. The second part of the book provides an extended discussion of ideas in the second part of the Summa Theologiae, in which contributors present cogent interpretations of the structure, major arguments, and themes of each of the treatises. The third and final part examines aspects of Thomistic ethics in the twentieth century and beyond.

These essays reflect a diverse group of scholars representing a variety of intellectual perspectives. Contributors span numerous fields of study, including intellectual history, medieval studies, moral philosophy, religious ethics, and moral theology. This remarkable variety underscores how interpretations of Thomas’ ethics continue to develop and evolve—and stimulate fervent discussion within the academy and the church. This volume is aimed at scholars, students, clergy, and all those who continue to find Aquinas a rich source of moral insight.

  • Examines fully the arguments set forth in Summa Theologiae
  • Provides new insights and interpretations of the influential Thomist theology
  • Revives the ideas of Aquinas by framing them within contemporary concepts
  • Part I: The First Part of the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae
    • “Happiness,” by Georg Wieland
    • “The Will and Its Acts,” by David M. Gallagher
    • “Good and Evil in Human Acts,” by Daniel Westberg
    • “The Passions of the Soul,” by Kevin White
    • “Habits and Virtues,” by Bonnie Kent
    • “The Intellectual Virtues,” by Gregory M. Reichberg
    • “Vice and Sin,” by Eileen Sweeney
    • “Natural Law and Human Law,” by Clifford G Kossel
    • “The Old Law and the New Law,” by Pamela M. Hall
    • “Grace,” by Theo Kobusch
  • Part II: The Second Part of the Second Part of the Summa Theologiae
    • “The Theological Virtue of Faith: An Invitation to an Ecclesial Life of Truth,” by Stephen E. Brown
    • “The Theological Virtue of Hope,” by Romanus Cessario
    • “The Theological Virtue of Charity,” by Eberhard Schockenhoff
    • “The Virtue of Prudence,” by James F. Keenan,
    • “The Virtue of Justice,” by Jean Porter
    • “Sins Against Justice,” by Martin Rhonheimer
    • “The Virtue of Courage,” by R.E. Houser
    • “The Virtue of Temperance,” by Diana Fritz Cates
    • “Charisms, Forms, and States of Life,” by Serge-Thomas Bonino
  • PART III: The Twentieth-Century Legacy
    • “Interpreting Thomas Aquinas: Aspects of the Dominican School of Moral Theology in the Twentieth Century,” by Thomas F. O’Meara,
    • “Interpreting Thomas Aquinas: Aspects of the Redemptorist and Jesuit Schools in the Twentieth Century,” by Raphael Gallagher
    • “Thomistic Moral Philosophy in the Twentieth Century,” by Clifford G. Kossel
    • “Interpretations of Aquinas’s Ethics Since Vatican II,” by Thomas S. Hibbs
    • “The Evaluation of Goods and the Estimation of Consequences: Aquinas on the Determination of the Morally Good,” by Ludger Honnefelder
    • “Lonergan and Aquinas: The Postmodern Problematic of Theology and Ethics,” by Frederick G. Lawrence
Pope has assembled an impressive range of contributors to provide the most complete and authoritative commentary on the ethics of Thomas Aquinas. An indispensable resource for moral theologians and philosophers. [A] landmark volume.

Theological Studies

This book addresses a wide audience of experts and others who are interested in Aquinas and in ethics. This is an important contribution and should be present in any serious theological library.

Catholic Library World

[P]articularly timely . . . this work will address an imbalanced impression that those with only limited exposure to Aquinas may have.

Theology Today

[A] must have for every theology library and an invaluable resource for moral theologians, philosophers, and students alike. Pope has gathered some of the best Thomistic scholars and ethicists in Europe and America to contribute to this book.


A remarkable set of in-depth background essays by scholars of erudition, balanced judgment, and clarity of thought. . . . This is a rich and unparalleled resource for scholars of theological ethics.

Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College

In the Verbum edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Verbum Catholic Study Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Stephen J. Pope is a professor in the Boston College department of theology. His books include The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love.


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Digital list price: $21.99
Save $4.00 (18%)