Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Aquinas on Friendship$

Daniel Schwartz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199205394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205394.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy). Subscriber: null; date: 30 March 2017

(p.165) Appendix

(p.165) Appendix

The Duality of the Rational Volition in Christ's Human Nature and Friendship with God

Aquinas on Friendship
Oxford University Press

Aquinas, following John Damascene (De Fide Orthodoxa, II, c. 22 in PG 94. 943), distinguishes between two types of rational will in human nature:

[T]he act of the will, inasmuch as it is drawn to anything desired of itself, as health, which act is called by Damascene thelesis—i.e. simple will {simplex voluntas}, and by the teachers ‘will as nature’ {voluntas ut natura}, is different from the act of the will as it is drawn to anything that is desired only in order to something else, as to take medicine; and this act of the will Damascene calls boulesis—i.e. counseling will {consiliativa voluntas}, and the teachers, ‘will as reason’ {voluntas ut ratio}.1

Hugh of St Victor,2 and Bonaventure3 after him, distinguished between four wills in Christ: voluntas Deitatis, voluntas rationis, voluntas pietatis, and voluntas carnis. Aquinas equates the ‘will of nature’ {voluntas quae consideratur ut natura} with Hugh of St Victor's ‘will of piety’ {voluntas pietatis}.4

The distinction between these two kinds of acts of the rational will is important for friendship. Consider the objection, in Summa Theologiae, III q. 18 a. 5 obj. 2, that:

Christ's soul had most perfect charity, which, indeed, surpasses the comprehension of all our knowledge [ . . . ] Now charity makes men will what God wills; hence Aristotle says (Nic. Eth. IX. 4) that one mark of friendship is ‘to will and choose the same.’ Therefore the human will in Christ willed nothing else than was willed by His Divine will.

Aquinas draws on the distinction between the will of sensuatity (which is a ‘will’ only by participation), the will of nature, and the rational will to reply, in the corpus, that:

[I]t is plain that in His will of sensuality {voluntas sensualitatis} and in His rational will considered as nature {voluntas rationis qua consideratur per modum naturae}, Christ could will what God did not; but in His will as reason {voluntas quae est per modum (p.166) rationis} He always willed the same as God, which appears from what He says (Matt. 26:39): ‘Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’ For He willed in His reason that the Divine will should be fulfilled although He said that He willed something else by another will.

In direct reply to the objection, he says that:

The conformity of the human will to the Divine regards the will of reason {voluntas rationis}: according to which the wills even of friends agree, inasmuch as reason considers something willed in its relation to the will of a friend.


(1) ST III q. 18 a. 3 obj. 1. For a critical edition of the text that Aquinas is likely to have consulted see De Fide Orthodoxa, Versions of Burgundio and Cerbanus, ed. E. M. Buytaert (New York: Franciscan Institute St Bonaventure; Louvain: Nauwelaerts; Paderborn: Schöningh, 1951) pp. 135–6.

(2) Hugh of Saint Victor, De quatuor voluntatibus in Christo libellus, PL 176. 846.

(3) Bonaventure, In I Sent. d. 48 q. 2c., p. 858.

(4) In ST III q. 18 a. 3 ad 3.