’n Probleem-historiese analise van die neo-Thomistiese wetenskapsbeoefening
’n Verklaring van die denkrigting se veranderende visies op die verhouding tussen natuur en genade
A preceding article in this journal by the same author provided a broad overview of seven centuries of neo-Thomistic thinking in philosophy and theology as well as a discussion of the methodological attempts of various neo-Thomists to describe this long history of the reinterpretations of Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274). The final conclusion of the previous article in the series was that these historiographers were confronted with such a long and complex history that they could not provide a fully satisfactory historiographical method. This essay argues that a consistent problem-historical method may be better equipped to do the job, providing both penetrating analysis and insight.
The essay develops as follows. First a brief description of the two main aspects of a philosophical conception, viz. its ontological type and normative direction is given. The second part provides an analysis of “classic” Thomistic ontology (pure cosmological thinking, an ontological hierarchy with dualism, vertical partial universalism and a clear distinction between nature and supernature or grace) as well as its anthropology (a subsistence theory). From the third section onwards the focus is on the Thomistic nature-grace distinction, describing the modern shifting perspectives on this central dogma, while the next section explains the underlying philosophical reasons for this remarkable departure from Aquinas’s original viewpoint. (Special attention is given to more recent irrationalistic perspectives.) The last (fifth) part is devoted to the discussion of a possible more biblically orientated perspective on the ancient tension between the secular/profane and sacred/holy. In an increasing secular world also Protestant Reformational thinkers are challenged by the vital question how the relationship between nature and grace, culture and Christ, creation and redemption should be viewed. If a neo-Thomistic view cannot be of help in this regard, in which direction should a Reformational philosophy be developed in the twenty-first century A.D.?
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