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SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS : The Human Person as Embodied Spirit

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS : The Human Person as Embodied Spirit

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SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS : The Human Person as Embodied Spirit

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  1. SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS:The Human Personas Embodied Spirit Prepared by: FR.RONNIE B. RODRIGUEZ, MS University of La Salette

  2. Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas, Detail of Figure Below the Throne, from the Spanish Chapel, c. 1365 by Andrea di Bonaiuto

  3. Life and Works: • Born in 1224 at Roccasecca, the castle of his father, Landulf of Aquino, who was a member of the lesser nobility • When he was five or six he went to study at the neighboring monastery of Monte Casino • At 15, he enrolled in the newly founded University of Naples

  4. He came into contact with a recently established religious congregation, the Dominicans, and after five years at Naples, wanted to join the community • His mother objected since she had nourished other plans for him • She had him captured by his brothers and kept under house arrest at Roccasecca for a year, after which she relented and let him go

  5. 1245 – the Dominicans sent Aquinas to Paris for his novitiate and further studies • 1248 to 1252-he studied in Cologne under the Dominican Albert the Great • He returned to Paris to complete his theological education, becoming a Doctor of Theology in 1256

  6. During these years, he composed his first major work, comparable in a way to a doctoral thesis: a commentary on the texts of the Fathers of the Church compiled by Peter the Lombard • He remained in Paris for three years as professor of theology • He lectured on the Bible and hold public debates on theological topics

  7. 1259 – Thomas returned to Italy as professor of theology in Dominican houses of study • 1265 – he opened a new house of study for the Dominicans in Rome and taught there for two years • He rejected the usual textbook of theology and began to write a new one, A Complete Treatise on Theology(Summa Theologiae)

  8. After a further year as professor at the papal court in Viterbo, Thomas returned to Paris for three years (1269-72) • In addition to lecturing on the Bible and conducting public debates, he continued writing the Summa Theologiae and also began commentaries on many of Aristotle’s works • He returned to Italy in 1272 and continued his work at the Dominican house of studies in Naples

  9. December 6, 1273 – he had an unusual experience, certainly at least in part supernatural, and immediately ceased his theological writing • The next year he was asked to attend the Ecumenical Council at Lyon, France, and on the way he hurt his head in an accident and died at the Cistercian monastery at Fossanova • He died on March 7, 1274 • Canonized - 1323

  10. Main Ideas: • St.Thomas understands man as a whole • Man is substantially united body and soul • Man is the point of convergence between corporeal and spiritual substances • Man “is one substance body and soul” • He is insistent that man is a substantial unity of body and soul • “Man…is composed of spiritual and corporeal substance”

  11. Man is an embodied soul, not a soul using a body as Plato asserted • Man is substantially body and soul • Only the soul is a substance, while the body is actual • He asserts that any existing body is perfect or any existing body is actual • “…all things which are diversified by the diverse participation of being, are more or less perfect”

  12. No “body” can exist apart from matter • Any “body” should be necessarily be material • This means that any body is actual because it exists as such completely as it is • The mere existence of a body makes a body complete, perfect and actual

  13. Per se, the human body is perfect • It has head, hands, feet, and all else that a human body must have • But it must be united to something else that will enable it to perform its intrinsic function as a human body • The human body must be united with something else which we call soul

  14. The human body has the potentiality to be animated by the soul • When animation happens, the two become one • When a human body is animated by the soul specifically during conception, “the soul includes the body in its definition and in its act”

  15. The soul substantiates the body which is actual then becomes one with the body in act • It is through animation that the soul substantiates the actual body • The two become one substance

  16. On the soul… • The soul, the animator of the human body, is a substance. • It is a substance because it exists by itself; it is incorporeal and spiritual. • Soul is a substance because it acts, it wills, it thinks, it knows, etc. • The soul’s possession of will and intellect is a priori and intrinsic in it. • The soul is unified with the body for its lower activity, i.e. sensation.

  17. Sensation can only be realized in the context of a body. • The soul in this context is limited that it needs the correlative function of a material element called body. • Hence, the intellectual soul is understood by St. Thomas as the form of the body because the soul is the principle of life of the body, the principle of nourishment and the principle of movement. • Body and soul are substantially united.

  18. Although the body and soul are substantially united, each retains its own substantial identity because the soul is not the body in the same manner that the body is not the soul. • Soul is united to the body not only because of perception, but also, because “it is the form of the body.” • By form, St. Thomas explains, is meant that the soul is the body’s principle of activity.

  19. A body, categorically speaking, can act only through the soul, because the latter is the principle of life of the former. • The soul in man is not only an embodied substance in itself-because it is immaterial or spiritual-but it is also, at the same time, the form of the body. • Thus, the parts of a human body like head, feet, ears, nose, eyes, skin, tongue, and the rest, can only act according through the soul.

  20. Through this, the soul’s animation by the body (during conception) becomes evident. • In this animation, the two are one in a form of substantial unity in man. • However, it must be made lucid that “a body is not necessary to the intellectual operation consideration as such but because of the sensitive power, which requires an organ of equitable temperament,” which actually refers to the body.

  21. What does St. Thomas mean by substance? • Substance is that whose essence necessitates its own existence. • In simple terms, a substance essentially exists by itself. • But why did St. Thomas call the soul in man substance? • When the soul animates the body, does it make the body also a substance?

  22. Accordingly, the soul and the body become substance only in terms of participation. • St. Thomas asserts that “everything that is in any way it is, is from God.” • For him, God is the only substance; God is the only self-subsisting Being. • But this does not imply that the human body and the human soul are not substances.

  23. These are substances only by participation. • The human body becomes a substance, only when it is animated by the soul. • This animation is actually intrinsic in the human body, for as long as there is a human body there is also a soul (except in death which is only a temporary separation of body and soul because in the Last Judgment the two will be united again); like the body, the soul is also a substance.

  24. Each of them becomes a substance by virtue of their participation with God, the only substance. • The human body and the human soul are one substance in man and they are unified together as an embodied soul. • However, matter is subject to corruption. • So, a human body “is subject to corruption by necessity of its matter.” • On the other hand, because the soul is immaterial it is free from corruption.

  25. This logically makes the soul immortal. • Because it is immortal, its higher powers such as intellect and will “must remain in the soul after the destruction of the body.” • And the substantial unity of the body and soul, according to St. Thomas, “ceases at the cessation of breath….”

  26. To sum up… • Man is substantially body and soul. • The soul is united with the human body because it is the substantial form of the human body. • Further, it is the principle of life of the body. • But the soul, however, requires the body as the material medium for its operation particularly perception.

  27. Nevertheless, it has operative functions (higher powers) which do not need a material medium; they are man’s intellect and will. • Thus, at death, the soul’s intellection and will remain in the soul as it is immortal, simple, and incorruptible. • Body and soul before death are essentially united because the two exist in a correlative manner specifically in the context of perception.