The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes toward a Green Thomism

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Christopher J. Thompson’s first publication formally introducing his “Green Thomism” is a work of art. For years, Thompson has been quietly coordinating this Thomistic vision for ecology through his Chapelstone Foundation and with a number of articles calling for theologians and other thinkers to give serious moral consideration to the intersection of the Catholic worldview and the growing need for ecological stewardship. Now, he weaves together an integral account that convincingly presents our contemporary deficit with regard to the natural order of lower creation and also argues for a proper vision rooted in the Thomistic philosophical and theological tradition. Throughout, Thompson relies upon the doctrine of Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’, beautifully demonstrating the Thomistic precedent in the holy father’s encyclical.

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The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes toward a Green Thomism is available from Emmaus Road Publishing in their Living Faith Series as a small, easy-to-read and easy-to-enjoy hardback. It is accessible at a popular level to readers who have some familiarity with the Catholic Thomistic tradition. Just because it is accessible, however, does not mean that it is not intellectually worthwhile. Its import primarily lies, however, in its ability to personally challenge the reader to convert their minds and hearts and habits to Jesus Christ, the Logos Incarnate, the same sapiential Logos who both creates and redeems in a joyful mystery, summoning a proper response of awe and adoration from us rational animals.

- Reviewed by Brandon L. Wanless

Latin-English Opera Omnia of St. Thomas Aquinas

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Almost exactly one year ago, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and Emmaus Academic (under the direction of Dr. Scott Hahn) teamed up with the Aquinas Institute, the organization behind the famous opera omnia project led by Dr. John Mortensen. The Thomistic Institute has for several years been working diligently at producing a single complete set of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, with Leonine Latin and English translation side-by-side throughout. This particular author recently received a free sample copy of volume number 55—”Opusculum I”—as a gift from the St. Paul Center for review. Of the same series, I already have Aquinas’s biblical commentaries on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans and the gospels of Matthew and John, plus the entire fourth book of his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

These volumes are a handful, sizing at about 11.5 inches tall by 8.5 inches wide. They are bound very well and encased within a beautiful blue imitation-leather hardback. The pages feel appropriately thick and almost elegant, with eye-friendly font and dimensions. Finally, there is sufficient marginal space for annotation, especially at the top and bottom of the pages. All in all, this series is splendidly beautiful and easily becomes the envy of any bookshelf, especially after one has compiled a number of volumes.

The most significant aspect of this series, however, is what is found printed on the paper. Not only does this Opera Omnia series provide stunning side-by-side Latin and English of Aquinas’s texts, although that alone would be worthy of attention. No, instead, the real contribution of this series is twofold. First, and most importantly, the Leonine critical Latin edition is made easily accessible to Thomistic scholars in a printed format that will (most likely) fit on office and home bookshelves practically anywhere. This is a major improvement from the opera omnia series that are generally only found as oversized volumes in the reference sections of theological libraries, if they even have them. Second, and quite interestingly, the entirety of Aquinas’s works will be made available in English for the first time ever. It is true that the Aquinas Institute has been relying on several previous English translations to populate their series; however, there are still many works that previously have never been translated beyond a few snippets here and there. Most especially, I am thinking of Aquinas’s massive Commentary on Lombard’s Sentences, but even several of his biblical commentaries, his correspondences, and his lesser known treatises. Because of the availability of the Leonine texts and because of the wave of new English translations, this series marks a major milestone in Thomistic scholarship.

As one can see from the St. Paul Center website, there are only select series available for purchase. A fuller picture of the publication process for individual volumes still in the works can be found on the Aquinas Institute website. Additionally, they have made available many of the texts online at Aquinas.cc. Even though there are still several volumes yet to be published, once the entire series is complete, it will be well worth the wait. In the meantime, there is plenty to enjoy and to use until then!

- Reviewed by Brandon L. Wanless

New Book from Lawrence Feingold: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology

New Book from Lawrence Feingold: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology

As the various debates and crises of the 20th century illustrate, the specific focus of fundamental theology addresses some of the most contentious and pertinent aspects of theological and ecclesial reflection within the (post-)modern milieu. Dr. Lawrence Feingold’s recent volume, Faith Comes from What Is Heard: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology, published by Emmaus Academic, provides the reader with a much-needed “textbook” (xix) that faithfully and perspicaciously navigates the decisive waters of fundamental theology.

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