Reading Job with St. Thomas Aquinas

edited by Matthew Levering, Piotr Roszak and Jorgen Vijgen
Thomistic ressourcement series;
Catholic University of America Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-0-8132-3284-3, Cloth: 978-0-8132-3283-6

Reading Job with St. Thomas Aquinas is a scholarly contribution to Thomistic studies, specifically to the study of Aquinas’s biblical exegesis in relation to his philosophy and theology. Each of the thirteen chapters has a different focus, within the shared concentration of the book on Aquinas’s Literal Exposition on Job. The essays are arranged in three Parts: “Job and Sacra Doctrina”; “Providence and Suffering”; and “Job and the Moral Life”. Boyle’s opening essay argues that Aquinas’s commentary seeks to show what is required in the “Magister” (namely, Job and God) for the effective communication of wisdom. Mansini’s essay argues that by speaking, God reveals the virtue of Job and its value in God’s providence; without the personal revelation or speech of God, Job could not have known the value of his suffering. Vijgen’s essay explores the commentary’s use of Aristotle for reflecting upon divine providence, sorrow and anger, resurrection, and the new heavens and new earth. Levering’s essay explores the commentary’s citations of the Gospel of John and argues that these pertain especially to divine speech and to light/darkness. Bonino’s essay explains why divine incomprehensibility does not mean that Job is wrong to seek to understand God’s ways. Te Velde’s essay explores how Aquinas’s commentary draws upon the reasoning of his Summa contra gentiles with regard to the good order of the universe. Goris’s essay reflects upon how, according to Aquinas’s commentary, sin is and is not related to suffering. Knasas’s essay argues that Aquinas does not hold that the resurrection of the body is a necessary philosophical corollary of the human desire for happiness. Wawrykow’s essay explores merit, in relation to the connection between sin and punishment/affliction as well as to the connection between good actions and flourishing. Spezzano’s essay shows that Job’s hope and filial fear transform his suffering, making him an exemplar of the consolation they provide to the just. Mullady’s essay reflects upon the moral problems and opportunities posed by the passions, along with the ordering of the virtues to the reward of human happiness. Flood’s essay shows how Aquinas defends Job’s possession of the qualities needed for true friendship (including friendship with God), such as patience, delight in the presence of the friend, and compassion. Lastly, Kromholtz’s essay argues that although Aquinas’s Literal Exposition on Job never extensively engages eschatology, Aquinas depends throughout upon the reasonableness of hoping for the resurrection of the body and the final judgment.
Part 1. Job and Sacra Doctrina
1. John F. Boyle: St. Thomas, Job, and the University Master
2. Jörgen Vijgen: Job, Aquinas, and the Philosopher
3. Matthew Levering: The Gospel of John in Aquinas’s Literal Exposition on Job
Part 2. Providence and Suffering
4. Serge-Thomas Bonino, OP: The Incomprehensible Wisdom of God in the Expositio super Iob
5. Rudi te Velde: Divine Providence and Man’s Place in the Order of the Good
6. Guy Mansini, OSB: Revelation and Divine Speech
7. Harm Goris: Sin and Human Suffering in Aquinas’s Commentary on Job
8. John F. X. Knasas: Suffering and the “Thomistic Philosopher”: A Line of Thought Instigated by the Job Commentary
9. Joseph P. Wawrykow: Human Suffering and Merit
Part 3. The Moral Life and Eschatology
10. Daria Spezzano: The Hope and Fear of Blessed Job
11. Brian Thomas Becket Mullady, OP: Moral Principles in Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on Job
12. Anthony T. Flood: Friendship in the Literal Exposition on Job
13. Bryan Kromholtz, OP: The Spirit of the Letter: St. Thomas’s Interpretation of Scripture in His Reading of Job’s Eschatology

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