Aquinas.ppt - Political Theology Thomas Aquinas Questions...

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Political Theology & Thomas Aquinas September 29, 2017
Questions: How did Aquinas reconcile Christian faith with Aristotelian reason? Is the understanding of Christian faith changed in any way by Aquinas’ reconciliation? Is Aristotle’s method changed or adapted in any way in Aquinas’ reconciliation?
St. Thomas Aquinas began writing his first major work, Summa Contra Gentiles, in about 1259. What happened in the nearly 1,000 intervening years since the Council of Nicea? Christianity was becoming “Christendom,” a sort of social and political polity in its own right. (Christians continued to argue over the true interpretation of “Christendom” long after Aquinas as well.) In 392, Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Pagan practices were legally prohibited . The Church gradually became a defining institution of the Empire. Members of the Christian clergy wielded various degrees of political power, as well as spiritual authority . They envisioned a government devoted to the enforcement of Christian values, whose institutions were to be guided by Christian doctrine.
The big news: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire fell into a set of loosely connected feudal kingdoms and principalities. Christians in the Byzantine East saw themselves as the last bastion of Christianity. In 800, the Pope in Rome switched his allegiance from the emperors in Constantinople to Charlemagne, the ruler of the German Frankish tribes. The Pope named Charlemagne henceforth the Holy Roman Emperor .
Key Biblical passages to be interpreted from Romans 13:1-7 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities ( exousia ). For there is no authority ( exousia ) except from God: and those authorities that exist ( exousia ) have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the power ( exousia ) will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with the very thing. Pay to all what is due them -- taxes to whom taxes are due, respect to whom respect is due; honor to whom honor is due.
Key Biblical passages from Acts, Romans and 1 Corinthians: Acts 4:18-20 Then they [i.e. the rulers, elders and scribes…and all who were from the high priestly family in Jerusalem] called [the Apostles] in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

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