1st Edition

Aquinas on Faith, Reason, and Charity

By Roberto Di Ceglie Copyright 2022
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers a new reading of Aquinas’s views on faith. The author argues that the theological nature of faith is crucial to Aquinas’s thought, and that it gives rise to a particular and otherwise incomprehensible relationship with reason.

    The first part of the book examines various modern and contemporary accounts of the relationship between faith and reason in Aquinas’s thought. The author shows that these accounts are unconvincing because they exhibit what he calls a Lockean view of faith and reason, which maintains that the relationship between faith and reason should be treated only by way of evidence. In other words, the Lockean view ignores the specific nature of the Christian faith and the equally specific way it needs to relate to reason. The second part offers a comprehensive account of Aquinas’s view of faith. It focuses on the way the divine grace and charity shape the relationship between evidence and human will. The final part of the book ties these ideas together to show how Christian faith, with its specifically theological nature, is perfectly compatible with rational debate. It also argues that employing the specificity of faith may constitute the best way to promote autonomous and successful rational investigations.

    Aquinas on Faith, Reason, and Charity will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on Aquinas, philosophy of religion, Christian theology, and medieval philosophy.


    Part I: Faith and Reason without Faith

    1. Mutually Opposing Readings of Aquinas’ View of Faith and Reason

    2. Locke’s Perspective as a Ground for Reading Aquinas’ View of Faith and Reason

    Part II: Aquinas on Faith, Evidence and Divine Grace

    3. Evidence, Human Will and Divine Grace

    4. Two Controversial Matters Related to Faith, Evidence, and Divine Grace

    5. Faith and Charity, and the Varying Levels of Faith

    Part III: Aquinas on Faith and Reason

    6. Primacy of Faith and the Autonomy of Reason

    7. Primacy of Faith as a Support of the Autonomy of Reason (Aquinas beyond Aquinas)



    Roberto Di Ceglie is Full Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Pontifical Lateran University, Italy. His essays have appeared in journals such as Philosophy, Philosophia, Sophia, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, and others. His book – God, the Good, and the Spiritual Turn in Epistemology – is forthcoming.

    "We might be tempted to think that there is nothing new to say when it comes to the perennial debate between faith and reason, but Di Ceglie artfully dismantles this notion by showing us that we remain gridlocked by the assumptions of modernity. He allows Aquinas’s insights to shine through with their original splendor, revealing that authentic faith is not a source of naivete or hubris but rather a gift from God."

    Stewart Clem, Aquinas Institute of Theology, USA

    "This fine book … is the product of an author who combines mastery of current analytical philosophy as well as of the last hundred years of Thomistic scholarship… The basic idea is that…Christians with a faith that is a virtue granted by God, occurring as ‘perfected’ by charity, would love exploring whatever invites engagement by our powers of reasoning…as Di Ceglie puts it…at the end of this splendid book"

    Fergus Kerr in The New Blackfriars

    "Di Ceglie offers a salutary correction to readings of Thomas that neglect faith's supernatural and volitional nature. His analysis of faith's merit, the preambles of faith, and unformed faith will be of particular interest to Aquinas specialists. Finally, his novel apologetic case for faith's value as a motivator of rational enquiry merits consideration and development."

    Gregory Stacey in The Review of Metaphysics

    “The argument of this complex and sophisticated book is disarmingly simple: Aquinas holds that faith is a divine gift; attempts to contextualize Aquinas in the framework of the kind of evidentialist approaches that we find in Locke and other thinkers of modernity are bound to fail. The point is well-taken.”

    Richard Cross in The Expository Times

    “Roberto Di Ceglie’s exposition of Aquinas serves as an important corrective to an overly narrow vision of faith as mere assent to propositions about the existence of God, or to propositions on which demonstrative proof of the existence of God would be a necessary prerequisite for rational acts of faith.”

    James Dominic Rooney in Religious Studies

    “Di Ceglie's book shows us, rigorously from an argumentative point of view and at the same time in a clear and easily accessible way, all the richness of Aquinas' conception of faith.”

    Francesco Gallo in Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica

    “Di Ceglie's challenging work salutarily frees Thomas's thought from the prejudices that have weighed on him since John Locke, and which are also present in neo-scholastic manualistic theology . . . In the final pages, Di Ceglie also considers the relationship between the Christian faith and other faiths, in order to dispel any idea of fanaticism or intolerance that might arise from the writings of Thomas."

    Giacomo Canobbio in Rassegna di Teologia