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Aristotle in Aquinas’s Theology$
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Gilles Emery, O.P. and Matthew Levering

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749639

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749639.001.0001

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Contemplation and Action in Aristotle and Aquinas

Contemplation and Action in Aristotle and Aquinas

Chapter:
(p.167) 8 Contemplation and Action in Aristotle and Aquinas
Source:
Aristotle in Aquinas’s Theology
Author(s):

Mary Catherine Sommers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198749639.003.0008

This Chapter treats Thomas Aquinas’ final consideration of the meaning of contemplation, which occurs in the Summa theologiae in conjunction with his assessment of the best kind of human life. The treatment falls into three parts: (1) a review of eight arguments, taken by Aquinas from the Nicomachean Ethics, that “the contemplative life is unconditionally better than the active life”; (2) an analysis of Aquinas’s arguments concerning why Christ did not choose to live a contemplative life, but rather “an active life which gives to others the fruits of contemplation”; (3) finally, the question of whether and to what extent Aquinas has repudiated Aristotle’s reasoning about the “best life” or happiness (beatitude) is addressed.

Keywords:   contemplation, contemplative life, active life, best life, life of Christ, beatitude, happiness

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