Moral Theology of St

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Moral Theology of St

    TRS 835: The Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas

    Catholic University of America

    Spring, 2009

Dr. William C. Mattison III

    409 Caldwell Hall


    Office Hours: by appt.

    Course Description

    This course is an examination of St. Thomas Aquinas’ moral theology. It takes it starting point from Thomas’ own writings, and engages these texts as part of an ongoing and living tradition by examining them in historical context, attending to their sources, and mining them for their wisdom on enduring questions of moral theology. Students are thus invited to participate in the tradition of Thomistic moral theology by engaging his

    texts and as well as his historical and contemporary interlocutors.

    Course Objectives

    1. Students will be introduced to St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings on moral theology in the context of his overall corpus. They will identify: the organization of his moral writings, their connections to other writings, Thomas’ use of earlier sources, the main questions

    Thomas engages, and the main strategies he employs in doing so.

    2. Students will be inaugurated into the tradition of Thomistic scholarship in moral theology.

    a) Students will locate Thomas in the broader stream of scholarship on morality,

    which Thomas engages and contributes to.

    What are Thomas’ key claims, moves, formulations, etc. on perennial

    questions? How do those differ from non-Christian thinkers and /or other

    Christian thinkers? What invaluable syntheses does Thomas offer? Are

    there Thomistic omissions with important ramifications?

    b) Students will participate in the long tradition on scholarship on Thomas’ own

    work (with emphasis on more recent scholarship).

    -What exactly does Thomas say on different particular questions? How

    ought different parts of his work be understood to relate to each other?

    What developments or inconsistencies may be found in his work?

3. Students will do an academic presentation.

4. Students will do an academic response.


5. Students will write an academic article ready for publication

    6. Students will build a bibliography (and start a library) on Thomas’ own work and the important secondary literature

    Course Requirements

    Needless to say, attendance is crucial for this class. It is a seminar, and thus your classmates are essential for learning about St. Thomas and his moral theology. You should not miss class. If there is some emergency that requires you to do so, inform me as soon as you are aware of it.

    1. Seminar Presentation (One over the course of the term)

    The student who presents on a given day is the person responsible for the class’

    engagement with the texts of that day. The presenter should have a strong grasp

    of the following:

    a) The context of this particular section of Thomas’ work, including its

    placement in relation to other sections of the Summa Theologiae as well as

    other works of Thomas that treat the same topic. For the latter, the Somme

    Theologique (published by Cerf in either three large volumes or many

    smaller ones) is an invaluable resource.

    b) The key sources for Thomas in this section.

    c) A basic outline of Thomas’ argument throughout the section.

    d) The key claims and contested questions, noting the practical relevance

    of these questions. These, along with your paper, will serve as the impetus

    for discussion.

    e) Give a bibliography of secondary sources for this topic.

    f) Presenters should contact the professor by January 26 with the articles

    he or she would like the class to focus upon in the primary text reading.

    Several days before our seminar (Friday, 2 pm?) the presenter should send out to

    the class and professor by email a 2000-2500 wd. paper making an argument

    relevant to the reading. It must be well footnoted with primary and secondary

    sources. It is not a summary or overview it is an argument that takes a position

    (for or against Thomas or some interpreter of Thomas) on a contested question.

2. Seminar Response (One over the course of the term)

    The assigned respondent for a class will write a 1000-1200 wd. direct response to

    the paper handed out by Monday, agreeing and / or disagreeing with its claims

    and explaining why. It must be well footnoted with primary and secondary

    sources. It will be handed out and read in class, and serve as the starting point

    (with the presenter paper) for discussion.

3. Final Paper (due Weds., May 6, by email by 3 pm)

    Your your paper should be in the form of a publishable paper with a clear thesis,

    argument, and command of the primary and secondary literature on the topic. It

    should be 5,000-10,000 words. Use The Thomist submission guidelines (and


    published articles) as an example. You should meet with me early and repeatedly

    about this paper.

    Latin Reading Group

    If students are interested and able, there will optional reading of Thomas’ texts in Latin

    for 45 minutes before each class. We will decide on this the first week of class.

    All levels of Latin ability are welcome!

    Course Texts

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, English Dominicans translation, 5 vol.

    Stephen Pope (ed.), The Ethics of Aquinas, Georgetown Press 2002 (EA)

    John Berkman and Craig Steven Titus (eds.), The Pinckaers Reader, CUA Press 2005


    Michael Sherwin, O.P., By Knowledge and By Love, CUA Press 2005

    Dozens of articles available electronically.

     -Electronic Subscription to The Thomist highly recommended ($20)

     -Go to

    Recommended: Jean Porter, Nature as Reason, Eerdman’s 2005.

     Romanus Cessario, O.P., Introduction to Moral Theology, CUA Press



    (subject to revision)

Seminar Presentation 100

    Seminar Response 50

    Research Paper 200 (inc. 50 pt detailed proposal)

    Participation 50

    TOTAL 400

    Course Outline

    (subject to revision!)

Tuesday, January 13 Introduction to Course: St. Thomas’ Moral


Tuesday, January 20 Inauguration Day No Class

    -students have their presentation class chosen shortly after the first class, and must

    should use the reading / preparation time for this class session to read their

    primary and secondary material in order to inform the professor both what articles

    the class will focus on that week, and what topic the student plans to write about

    for his or her presentation


    Tuesday, January 27 The Treatise on Happiness

     1. primary text: I-II 1-5

    2. possible other primary texts: parallels in Summa Contra Gentiles (SCG) or

    Sentences; Commentary on Nicomachean Ethics; Augustine’s De moribus 1.1-15;

    Augustine’s City of God XIX; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics; Boethius’

    Consolation of Philosophy ii & iii.

    3. required secondary: Sherwin in Nova et Vetera 2005; Staley in Thomist 1989;

    Long in The Thomist 2000

    4. other secondary: PR 6; Wieland in EA; Porter Nature as Reason chap 3; PR

    7; Pegis in American Catholic Philosophical Association 1949; Toner in Thomist

    2007; Bradley’s book Aquinas on the Twofold Human Good; Pagan-Aguliar in

    Thomist 2000; Pieper’s Happiness and Contemplation; Bowlin’s Contingency and

    Fortune in Aquinas’ Ethics; PR 18; Nova et Vetera 5.1 (2007) pieces on nature /


    Tuesday, February 3 The Treatise on Acts I

     1. primary text: I-II 6-17

    2. possible other primary texts: ST I 82-83, ST III 18; De malo 6; De veritate 22

    3. required secondary: Sherwin BKBL chapter 2 & pp. 81-100 ; Westberg in

    Thomist 1994 (only pp. 51-60)

    4. other secondary: PR 10; Porter Nature as Reason pp. 248-268; Westberg’s

    Right Practical Reason; Pasnau’s Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature; Finnis in

    Thomist 1991; James Keenan’s Goodness and Rightness…; Flannery’s Acts Amid

    Precepts; Gallagher in EA

    Tuesday, February 10 The Treatise on Acts II

     1. primary text: I-II 18-21

    2. possible other primary texts: pre-Thomistic Scholastics from Hoffman’s

    Thomist 2003 (and PR 11) LIKELY NONE

    3. required secondary: PR pp. 199-211; Long from Nova et Vetera 2008;

    Rhonheimer in Nova et Vetera 2004; Flannery in Thomist 2003

    4. other secondary: Porter Nature as Reason pp. 268-288; PR 11 & 12;

    Westberg in EA; Finnis in Thomist 1991; Flannery in Thomist 2005; Long in

    Thomist 2003; Hoffman in Thomist 2003; Dewan in Nova et Vetera 2008; Brock

    in Nova et Vetera 2008; Long’s Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act;

    Pinches’ Morality and Action; Brock’s Action and Conduct

    Tuesday, February 17 The Treatise on the Passions

     1. primary text: I-II 22-48

    2. possible other primary texts: I 81; III 15; De veritate 26; Augustine’s City of

    God IX & XIV

    3. required secondary: Chenu article; Mattison JSCE article

    4. other secondary: White in EA; PR 14, Gondreau in Thomist 2007; Jordan

    1986 article; Barad in Thomist 1991; Mirkes in Thomist 1997; Gondreau’s The

    Passions of Christ; Coolman in Thomist 2007; Mattison chapter 4 in Introducing


    Moral Theology; Loughlin in Thomist 2001; Malloy in Thomist 2007; Mattison in

    Theological Studies 2007; Westberg vs. Sarot on emotion in God in Thomist

    1996; Drost in Thomist 1995; Mattison CTS 2000 article

Tuesday, February 24 The Treatises on Habit and Virtue I

     1. primary text: I-II 49-70

    2. possible other primary texts: Sentences III 33 & 36; De virtutibus in communi;

    De virtutibus cardinalibus; Augustine’s City of God XIX; Augustine’s De

    moribus I; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

    3. required secondary: Mattison manuscript; Shanley in Thomst 1999; Osborne

    in Thomist 2003; McKay in Thomist 2005

    4. other secondary: Osborne in Thomist 2007; Kent in Religious Studies 1994;

    MacIntyre’s Whose Justice?; Kant in EA; Reichberg in EA; PR 14; Cessario

    books; Porter in Journal of Religious Ethics 1998; Porter’s Recovery of Virtue;

    Keenan’s Goodness and Rightness

Tuesday, March 3 Spring Break

Tuesday, March 10 The Treatises on Habit and Virtue II

     1. primary text: I-II 49-70

    2. possible other primary texts: depends on direction presenter takes some


    Role of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and / or beatitudes and / or fruits of the


    Connection of the virtues

    Duration of the Virtues

    Facility issue or seats of virtue issue (related to passions)

    3. required secondary: depends on direction presenter takes

    4. other secondary: depends on direction presenter takes

    Tuesday, March 17 The Treatise on Sin

     1. primary text: I-II 71-89

    2. possible other primary texts: De malo; Summa Contra Gentiles II & IV

    3. required secondary: Toner in Thomist 2005; Langan in 1987 Annual of the

    SCE; DeYoung in Thomist 2004

    4. other secondary: Sherwin’s By Knowledge and by Love 100-106; Keenan in

    Heythrop Journal 1994; Piper’s The Concept of Sin; Dewan on lying in Thomist

    1997 (esp. beginning part on sin); Pruss on lying in Thomist 1999; Guevin on

    lying in Thomist 2002

    Tuesday, March 24 The Treatise on Law

     1. primary text: I-II 90-108 (inc. new law)

    2. possible other primary texts: Commentary on Romans; On two precepts of

    charity and On Ten Commandments; see Porter’s Divine and Natural Law for

    other Scholastics on natural law; Augustine’s On the Spirit and the Letter

    3. required secondary: Rhonheimer in Thomist 2003; Levering in Thomist 2006


    4. other secondary: Kossell in EA; Hall in EA; Dewan on Porter in Thomist 2002; Porter / Rhonheimer exchange, 2005-2006; O’Reilly in Nova et Vetera 2007; Rhonheimer in Nova et Vetera 2004; Sokolowski in Thomist 2004;

    Budziszewski in First Things Dec., 2008; Hall’s Narrative and Natural Law;

    Butera in Thomist 2007; Gonzalez in Thomist 1999; see also work by Hittinger,

    Porter, Robert George, Ralph McInery, Yves Simon, John Finnis, & Germain

    Grisez see superb volume edited by Goyette et al, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition

    Tuesday, March 31 The Treatise on Grace & Law / Virtue / Grace

    1. primary text: I-II 106-114 (inc. new law) 2. possible other primary texts: Sentences III 26-28; Summa Contra Gentiles III.147-158; De veritate 24 & 27; Augustine’s De Spiritu et Littera (see also: De

    Natura et Gratia & On Praedestinatione Sanctorum & De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio)

    ; Porter’s Nature as Reason pp. 3. required secondary: Titus from Thomist 2008

    309-324 & 327-342 & 378-400

    4. other secondary: PR 19; Kobusch in EA; Hall (again) in EA; Thompson in Thomist 1999; Hibb’s Virtue’s Splendor, esp. 86-119; Carl from Thomist 1997; Di Blasi from Thomist 2004; Gonzalez from Thomist 1999; Wawrykow’s God’s

    Grace and Human Action: Merit in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas

    Tuesday, April 7 The Treatises on Faith and Hope 1. primary text: II-II 1-22

    2. possible other primary texts: Sentences III.23-26; De Veritate 14; De spe;

    Augustine’s Enchiridion

    3. required secondary: Sherwin chapter 3; Hutter from Nova et Vetera 2006

    4. other secondary: Brown & Cessario in EA; Pieper’s Faith, Hope and Love;

    Marshall in Thomist 1999; Cessario’s Christian Faith and the Theological Life;

    Guzie in Thomist 1965; Jenkins’ Knowledge and Faith; Sokolowski’s God of Faith and Reason

    Tuesday, April 14 The Treatise on Love 1. primary text: II-II 23-46

    2. possible other primary texts: Sentences III.27-32 (just now in English); De

    caritate; Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana (esp. Book I) & Enchiridion

    3. required secondary: Sherwin chapter 4, Keaty in Thomist1998; Porter in Thomist 1989

    4. other secondary: Schockenhoff in EA, Malloy in Thomist 2007; Pieper’s Faith, Hope, and Love, Pope’s Evolution of Altruism and the Order of Love; Selner-Wrigth in Philosophy and Theology 1995; Wadell’s Primacy of Love

    Tuesday, April 21 The Treatise on Prudence 1. primary text: II-II 47-56

    2. possible other primary texts: De Veritate 17; De virtutibus cardinalibus,

    Commentary on Nicomachean Ethics; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics


    3. required secondary: Miner in Thomist 2000; Sherwin’s By Knowledge and By

    Love pp. 106-117 & 176-192

    4. other secondary: PR 16 & 17, McInerny in Thomist 1974; Westberg’s Right

    Practical Reason 6-13 & 100-106; Pieper’s Four Cardinal Virtues; McKay in

    Thomist 2005; Osborne in Thomist 2007; Nelson’s Priority of Prudence (and

    countless negative reviews of it)

    Tuesday, April 28 The Treatise on Justice

    1. primary text: II-II 57-122

    2. possible other primary texts: Summa Contra Gentiles III.140-146

    3. required secondary: (double effect / praeter intentionem with an emphasis on

    killing, i.e., punishment, self-defense, etc.) Long in Thomist 1999; Brugger in

    Thomist 2004; Reichberg in Thomist 2002

    4. other secondary: Porter in EA; Rhonheimer in EA; White in Thomist 1993;

    Kaczor in Nova et Vetera 2004; Brugger’s Capital Punishment; Reichberg in

    Thomist 2005; Boyle in Thomist 1978; Sullivan in Thomist 2000; Cavannaugh in

    Thomist 1997; Pieper’s Four Cardinal Virtues

    Wednesday, May 6 Final Paper Due (by email by 3 pm)


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