Defenders of the Faith: Augustine, Aquinas, and the Evolution of Medieval Just War Theory

medieval warfare -  Mediaeval and modern history (1905)

Christianity has always had a difficult relationship with the concept of war. After all, it is impossible to follow Christ’s command to ‘love one’s neighbor’ on the battlefield.

To See with the Eyes of the Soul: Memory and Visual Culture in Medieval Europe

The Triumph (or Wisdom) of St Thomas Aquinas, fresco in the Chapter Hall of the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, by Andrea di Bonaiuto from 1366/1367.

In this article I shall therefore take a closer look at how people thought about the subject of memory and why memory was considered so important in the Middle Ages.

God is Great, God is Good: Medieval Conceptions of Divine Goodness and the Problem of Hell

Hellmouth  - miniature from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves

The medieval notions of goodness and hell seem to make God more a sadistic torturer than a caring parent.

Aquinas on Torture

Aquinas Benozzo_Gozzoli

Here we are faced with something that, for this writer at least, is something of an enigma. It does not appear that Aquinas approved of this practice. Nowhere does he defend it, although he explicitly defends putting heretics to death.

Petrus Hispanus (circa 1215-1277) and ‘The Treasury of the Poor’

Pope John XXI (Petrus Hispanus)

The identity of Petrus Hispanus is a matter of some controversy. Part of the problem is centred on the fact that ‘Hispanus’ covers the general region of the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in medieval times as ‘las Españas’ (the Spains), incorporating both present day Spain and Portgual.

Narratives of resistance: arguments against the mendicants in the works of Matthew Paris and William of Saint-Amour

The Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule (Cappella Sassetti, Santa Trinità, Florence) - 15th century

The rise of the new mendicant orders, foremost the Franciscans and Dominicans, is one of the great success stories of thirteenth-century Europe. Combining apostolic poverty with sophisticated organization and university learning, they brought much needed improvements to pastoral care in the growing cities.

The Friars Preachers: The First Hundred Years of the Dominican Order

Dominicans

When Dominic of Caleruega began preaching in southern France in the early 1200s, he would have had no idea of the far reaching influence that the band of men he would attract would leave such a broad and enduring influence on medieval history.

Women’s Devotional Bequests of Textiles in the Late Medieval English Parish Church, c.1350-1550

Medieval woman reading

My investigation is set within the context of the current high level of interest in the workings of the late medieval parish.

Two Rabbinic Views of Christianity in the Middle Ages

Picture of Medieval Jews

In the sessions of our section over the past decade, I introduced a significant distinction between two rabbinic attitudes in the Mediterranean countries during the Middle Ages of 12th and 13th centuries as to their view of Christianity.

‘Protecting the non-combatant’: Chivalry, Codes and the Just War Theory

Medieval War - Royal 16 G VI f. 427v Civil war in England - image courtesy British Library

The concept of chivalry, a traditional code of conduct idealised by the knightly class relating to times of both peace and war, dominated the medieval period and many of the scholars who contributed to the principle of jus in bello were in fact writing about chivalry.

How to study St. Thomas Aquinas: An interview with Therese Scarpelli Cory

Thomas Aquinas by Fra Bartolommeo

He’s not the kind of thinker who wants to complicate things or show off his brilliance—he just wants to make sense of the world the best he can, within the limitations of the human mind.

The Psychology of Natural and Supernatural Knowledge according to St. Thomas Aquinas

1476 --- St. Thomas Aquinas from  by Carlo Crivelli --- Image by © National Gallery Collection; By kind permission of the Trustees of the National Gallery, London/CORBIS

For some 50 years now, I have been studying the texts of St. Thomas on cognition. Over the years periods of intensive study of the texts have alternated with periods of reflection without reference to concrete texts and long periods in which the topic lay fallow, because I was occupied with other concerns.

The medieval principle of motion and the modern principle of inertia

1476 --- St. Thomas Aquinas from  by Carlo Crivelli --- Image by © National Gallery Collection; By kind permission of the Trustees of the National Gallery, London/CORBIS

Aquinas’s First Way of arguing for the existence of God famously rests on the Aristotelian premise that “whatever is in motion is moved by another.” Let us call this the “principle of motion.” Newton’s First Law states that “every body continues in its state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.” Call this the “principle of inertia.

From Rome to the antipodes: the medieval form of the world

The Terrestrial Sphere of Crates of Mallus (ca. 150 B.C.).

Here we discuss how some medieval scholars in the Western Europe viewed the form of the world and the problem of the Antipodes

Civic and Religious Understanding of the Mentally Ill, Incompetent, and Disabled of Medieval England

medieval disability

This brief summary covered the fourth paper given at KZOO’s Mental Health in Non-medical Terms. It covered ways in which theologians, like Thomas Aquinas, tried to categorize mental disability. Aquinas also tried to prove that the mentally impaired were able to receive sacraments depending their lucidity and where they fit in his four categories. It was an interesting and enjoyable paper.

Rule by Natural Reason: Late Medieval and early Renaissance conceptions of political corruption

Francesco Guicciardini

This paper argues that, from about the eleventh century CE, a new and distinctive model of corruption accompanied the rediscovery and increased availability of a number of classical texts and ideals, particularly those of Cicero and the Roman Jurists.

Foolishness and Fools in Aquinas’s Analysis

St-Thomas-Aquinas

Fools are legion. This self-evident truth, vouched for by Holy Scripture, is quoted more than twenty times by Thomas Aquinas: ‘stultorum infinitus est numerus’.

Origins of the Medieval Theory That Sensation Is an Immaterial Reception of a Form

St-Thomas-Aquinas-xx-Fra-Bartolommeo

Let me begin my own discussion of Aquinas by saying that it seems to me that Cohen adequately proved that it was a mistake to view the sensible form as existing in the soul rather than the organ, and that Aquinas is not denying to the sensible form as received by the sensor a place in the physical world, or indeed physical existence, when he says it exists immaterially or spiritually.

The Virtuous Pagan in Middle English Literature

Piers Plowman

From the first through the fourteenth centuries, a succession of solutions to the problem of these virtuous pagans evolved. For the Early Church, an attractive solution was that Christ descended into Hell to convert the souls he found there.

The Making of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae

The Making of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae

Bernard McGinn explores Thomas’s reason for writing the Summa and its principles, structure, and originality.

The Symbolical Career of Georgios Gemistos Plethon

Georgius Gemistus Plethon

Thus Gemistos was the first who in an authoritative way attacked the hegemony of Aristotle in western thought.

Qui coierit cum muliere in fluxu menstruo… interficientur ambo (Lev. 20:18) – The Biblical Prohibition of Sexual Relations with a Menstruant in the Eyes of Some Medieval Christian Theologians

Shoshannat Yaakov

What attitudes did medieval Christian theologians have towards the prohibition in Leviticus of sexual relations with a menstruating woman?

Eriugena: The Medieval Irish Genius Between Augustine and Aquinas

Eriugena: The Medieval Irish Genius Between Augustine and Aquinas

Carolingian thinker Johannes Scottus Eriugena (810-877 CE) is the author of numerous philosophical and theological works.

The emotion of Shame in Medieval Philosophy

Thomas Aquinas 3

In his Summa theologiae, Thomas Aquinas presents a very detailed taxonomy of emotions which is influenced by some earlier medieval theories.

Charity as the Perfection of Natural Friendship in Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae

Thomas Aquinas 3

Within western civilization, there is a long-running dispute over which authority, the Christian tradition or Greek philosophical tradition, is the more trustworthy and comprehensive. Like other topics written about by Plato and Aristotle, friendship became part of this controversy. During Thomas Aquinas’ time, this struggle was focused on whether the works of Aristotle could be reconciled with Christianity.

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