Due out in January is The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas, edited by Brian Davies of Fordham University and Eleonore Stump of St. Louis University. The Handbook has been several years in the making. A short while ago it was said to be coming out in October. According to the OUP website, the release date is now the beginning of next year. We’ll see whether this date changes yet again.
The list of topics covered is impressive and includes, among others, metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, theory of language, and the theological virtues. Some of the topics have several subtopics. Under metaphysics, for example, there are being, matter, form, individuation, causation, the Five Ways, and language and analogy.
Here is a preview of the table of contents:
Table of Contents
1. Life and Works
2. Historical Background
(a) Aquinas and Aristotle
(b) Augustine to Aquinas (Latin-Christian authors)
(c) Aquinas, Plato, and Neo-Platonism
(d) Aquinas and Jewish and Islamic authors
3. Metaphysics and the Existence of God
(b) Matter, Form, and Individuation
(d) The Five Ways
(e) The Limits of Language and the Notion of Analogy
4. The Divine Nature
(a) God’s Simplicity
(b) God’s Goodness
(c) God’s Knowledge and Will
(d) God’s Impassibility, Immutability, and Eternality
(e) God’s Omnipotence
5. Ethics and Action Theory
(a) Human Freedom and Agency
(d) Law and Natural Law
(e) Conscience and Synderesis
(f) Virtues and Vices
(g) Practical Reasoning
(a) Human Knowledge
(b) Intellectual Virtues
(c) The Relation of Reason to Faith
7. Philosophy of Mind and Human Nature
8. Theory of Language
9. The Theological Virtues
10. Providence and the Problem of Evil
11. Philosophical Theology
(c) The Saving Work of Christ
(e) Resurrection and the Separated Soul
(g) The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
12. The Development of Aquinas’s Thought
13. The Influence of Aquinas
Chronological List of Aquinas’s Writings
Editions and Translations
Unfortunately, a list of authors of these essays has not yet, as far as I know, been made public.
From the table of contents it would appear to be a more philosophical than theological volume but, not having seen it for myself, I can’t say for certain.
It seems peculiar that the topics in sec. 11 of the book, which are listed as the Trinity, Incarnation, the Saving Work of Christ, Sacraments, Resurrection and the Separated Soul, Prayer, the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, should have the heading “Philosophical Theology.” That I am aware of, when Aquinas uses something like this term he means a branch of Aristotelian metaphysics:
Theologia ergo philosophica determinat de separatis secundo modo sicut de subiectis, de separatis autem primo modo sicut de principiis subiecti.
He contrasts this theology with the theology of Sacred Scripture:
Theologia vero sacrae Scripturae tractat de separatis primo modo sicut de subiectis, quamvis in ea tractentur aliqua quae sunt in materia et motu, secundum quod requirit rerum divinarum manifestatio.
These two passages are taken from the corpus of q. 5, a. 4 of his commentary on Boethius’s De Trinitate. Even in its contemporary usage “philosophical theology” usually denotes something like natural theology.
Then again, Aquinas was often quite flexible with his terminology, so there is no reason why we can’t be too. Perhaps the editors offer a reasonable justification for the use of the title or the essays make its choice clear. At any rate, it’s probably foolish for me to speculate so much about these things from a mere table of contents!
The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas looks like it will be a very useful reference volume. I look forward to its publication.