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  #1  
Old Sep 25, '08, 8:00 am
Boxerdog Boxerdog is offline
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Default St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

I have often read that both of these saints were probably the greatest theologians the church has ever seen, but in a very general question, what is the main similarities and differences between the two?

Is there some sort of online critiques and contrasts between the two?
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Old Sep 25, '08, 2:38 pm
jfoges jfoges is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

I don't have too much information for you about this. But one difference is that Augustine was more influenced by Plato, and Aquinas was more influenced by Aristotle.
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  #3  
Old Sep 25, '08, 4:09 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by Boxerdog View Post
I have often read that both of these saints were probably the greatest theologians the church has ever seen, but in a very general question, what is the main similarities and differences between the two?

Is there some sort of online critiques and contrasts between the two?
Aquinas did not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.
Augustine believed Mary never had any personal sins but its not clear to me if he also believed she was not conceived in sin.
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Old Sep 25, '08, 4:16 pm
rpp rpp is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

Here are a couple of points that immediately jump to my mind.

St. Thomas Aquinas was always part of the Church, St. Augustine was a convert who lived a pretty decadent life.

Aquinas was never involved in heresy. Before his conversion, Augustine was deeply involved with Manicheism.

Both wrote books on apologetics. Aquinas wrote the multi-volume Summa Contra Gentiles that was directed principally at those who were not part of any faith or were involved in Northern European and Germanic pagan religions. Augustine wrote City of God which was directed at pagans following the classical Roman and Greek pantheon. He also spoke out strongly, even mockingly, against astrology.

Both had exceptionally impressive intellects which were exceeded only by their waistlines.

Aquinas was a priest. Augustine was ordained a bishop directly, something "demanded" by the people of his city due to his faithfulness, popularity and strong leadership abilities.

Aquinas was a pure academic. Augustine was a "down-in-the-trenches" bishop who happened to be very good at writing.

Aquinas was childless as he was a faithful priest all his life. Augustine had a son with a mistress before his conversion. Both he and his son converted at the same time and his died about 1-1/2 years later.

Aquinas' mother was a good and faithful woman. His father not so good as he did not want his son to be a priest and actually imprisoned him for over a year and even hired a prostitute to, unsuccessfully, tempt him. Augustine's mother is a cannonized saint, St. Monica. His father was a pagan who converted but died while still a catechuman.

Both men wrote their books in Latin.

That is about all I can recall from the top of my head.
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Old Sep 25, '08, 4:23 pm
rpp rpp is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by thistle View Post
Aquinas did not believe in the immaculate conception of Mary.
This is not correct. From the Summa Theologae, Part 3, Question 27, Article 1.

Quote:
I answer that, Nothing is handed down in the canonical Scriptures concerning the sanctification of the Blessed Mary as to her being sanctified in the womb; indeed, they do not even mention her birth. But as Augustine, in his tractate on the Assumption of the Virgin, argues with reason, since her body was assumed into heaven, and yet Scripture does not relate this; so it may be reasonably argued that she was sanctified in the womb. For it is reasonable to believe that she, who brought forth "the Only-Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth," received greater privileges of grace than all others: hence we read (Lk. 1:28) that the angel addressed her in the words: "Hail full of grace!"

Moreover, it is to be observed that it was granted, by way of privilege, to others, to be sanctified in the womb; for instance, to Jeremias, to whom it was said (Jer. 1:5): "Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee"; and again, to John the Baptist, of whom it is written (Lk. 1:15): "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb." It is therefore with reason that we believe the Blessed Virgin to have been sanctified before her birth from the womb.
Augustine believed Mary never had any personal sins but its not clear to me if he also believed she was not conceived in sin.[/quote]

As we can see from the quote above, Aquinas refers to Augustine when he talks in support of Mary's sanctification in the womb (immaculate conception).
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Old Sep 25, '08, 6:18 pm
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TheWhim TheWhim is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

I’d like to point out that it’s a mistake to believe that Aquinas embraced the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The quote given makes this clear. He believed Mary to have been sanctified in her mother’s womb, so she wasn’t exempt from the universal guilt right on from the first moment of her being conceived, as the dogma says. According to Aquinas, Mary shared in the sinful nature of man for the first short time of her life but was sanctified before being born – Pius IX., on the other hand, declared that by a special privilege of God, the stain of original sin, though it should have belonged to her(in difference to the God-Man Christ), was not allowed to blemish the perfect beauty of Christ’s mother. The dogma talks about exemption, not purification. There was nothing to be purified because from the first moment of her existence Mary was sinless.

That’s the difference.

More information on this somewhat sophisticated topic can be found on www.newadvent.org – Immaculate Conception

But back to the main question: perhaps I’d rather like to mention a great doctrine they have in common – the doctrine of the absolute necessity of grace. This is a doctrine I could never swallow, since under their ways of handling it, they make true free will, as every common man understands it, disappear, and only allow for a sort of excuse or remnant they then presumptuously dare to call free-will. But this topic would be going to far now.
Just compare Molina, Jacobus Arminius or John Wesley to the writings on grace of Augustine and Aquinas and the abyss of theology between these parties will make you shudder. That’s what both of the great Church Fathers we discuss here have in common – their doctrine of grace; their schools, moved by the quarrelsome spirit of schoolmanship, drawed many artificial borders but finally it resumes to the same basic doctrine, if once you set aside the distinctions in mere language, in mere technical terms.
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Old Sep 25, '08, 9:11 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by rpp View Post
This is not correct. From the Summa Theologae, Part 3, Question 27, Article 1.

Augustine believed Mary never had any personal sins but its not clear to me if he also believed she was not conceived in sin.

As we can see from the quote above, Aquinas refers to Augustine when he talks in support of Mary's sanctification in the womb (immaculate conception).
That is not correct. Aquinas believed Mary was conceived in original sin but not born in it. That is NOT immaculate conception.
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Old Sep 26, '08, 8:52 am
rpp rpp is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by thistle View Post
That is not correct. Aquinas believed Mary was conceived in original sin but not born in it. That is NOT immaculate conception.
So you are disagreeing with what Aquinas wrote?

One must also be very much aware that in the 13th century, very little, next to nothing actually, was known about embryology and the process of conception, development and birth.

In the quote I stated, Aquinas is clearly stating "in the womb" and quoted Jeremiah in support of that.

To claim that Aquinas sis not believe in the Immaculate conception is unsupportable speculation that is contradicted by the paragraphs I quoted when read with the understand that the concept of "conception" was fuzzy at best in Aquinas' time.
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Old Sep 26, '08, 9:39 am
Prayer_Warrior Prayer_Warrior is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rpp View Post
So you are disagreeing with what Aquinas wrote?

One must also be very much aware that in the 13th century, very little, next to nothing actually, was known about embryology and the process of conception, development and birth.

In the quote I stated, Aquinas is clearly stating "in the womb" and quoted Jeremiah in support of that.

To claim that Aquinas sis not believe in the Immaculate conception is unsupportable speculation that is contradicted by the paragraphs I quoted when read with the understand that the concept of "conception" was fuzzy at best in Aquinas' time.
Yes, but take a look at his answer to question 28. I don't think this would be supportive of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, particularly the second paragraph. From what I can understand, he is saying that sanctification could not have taken place until after a rational soul was infused. Whether or not he believed that a rational soul is infused at conception remains unclear to me, however, he is clear that he believes there was a time before animation that she was not sanctified, but then after her soul was infused she was sanctified. What do you think he is saying here?

Quote:
I answer that, The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin cannot be understood as having taken place before animation, for two reasons. First, because the sanctification of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin: for sanctification is a "perfect cleansing," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii). Now sin cannot be taken away except by grace, the subject of which is the rational creature alone. Therefore before the infusion of the rational soul, the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified.

Secondly, because, since the rational creature alone can be the subject of sin; before the infusion of the rational soul, the offspring conceived is not liable to sin. And thus, in whatever manner the Blessed Virgin would have been sanctified before animation, she could never have incurred the stain of original sin: and thus she would not have needed redemption and salvation which is by Christ, of whom it is written (Matthew 1:21): "He shall save His people from their sins." But this is unfitting, through implying that Christ is not the "Saviour of all men," as He is called (1 Timothy 4:10). It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation.
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  #10  
Old Sep 26, '08, 10:05 am
PaulJason PaulJason is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

This is from a Protestant friend who is of course trying to link St. Augustine with Sola Scriptura, which is untenable.

Aside from that I am curious what everyone thinks of this statement…

Quote:
I understand that Aquinas thought that the Bible was necessary to understand some things, but that human reason was fully capable of understanding many areas of life, such as politics and economics, without any reference to the Bible. I think he also believed that reason unassisted by divine revelation could detect natural laws by which society could be constructed.

This view supplanted Augustinianism as the centerpiece of Roman Catholic thought in medieval history. Augustine believed that in order to understand ANY aspect of life, it must be understood in the light of the Word of God.
Not being as well versed in Aquinas as I would like, I am reading him now, I would like some opinions.

Thanks
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  #11  
Old Sep 26, '08, 10:43 am
CatsAndDogs CatsAndDogs is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prayer_Warrior View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpp View Post
So you are disagreeing with what Aquinas wrote?

One must also be very much aware that in the 13th century, very little, next to nothing actually, was known about embryology and the process of conception, development and birth.

In the quote I stated, Aquinas is clearly stating "in the womb" and quoted Jeremiah in support of that.

To claim that Aquinas sis not believe in the Immaculate conception is unsupportable speculation that is contradicted by the paragraphs I quoted when read with the understand that the concept of "conception" was fuzzy at best in Aquinas' time.
Yes, but take a look at his answer to question 28. I don't think this would be supportive of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, particularly the second paragraph.

From what I can understand, he is saying that sanctification could not have taken place until after a rational soul was infused.
A person is not a person until actually created.

Once created as a person, God can certainly arrange that persons nature to not have concupiscence.

Conception is creation of a person. Animation is the "animal-ification" of tissue. These happen precisely together (simultaneously) because we are created body and soul, not body then soul. Our "person-ness" is not contained in either our body or our soul, but rather in our body and soul as a unit.

Quote:
Whether or not he believed that a rational soul is infused at conception remains unclear to me, however, he is clear that he believes there was a time before animation that she was not sanctified, but then after her soul was infused she was sanctified. What do you think he is saying here?
Quote:
I answer that, The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin cannot be understood as having taken place before animation, for two reasons. First, because the sanctification of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin: for sanctification is a "perfect cleansing," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii). Now sin cannot be taken away except by grace, the subject of which is the rational creature alone. Therefore before the infusion of the rational soul, the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified.

Secondly, because, since the rational creature alone can be the subject of sin; before the infusion of the rational soul, the offspring conceived is not liable to sin. And thus, in whatever manner the Blessed Virgin would have been sanctified before animation, she could never have incurred the stain of original sin: and thus she would not have needed redemption and salvation which is by Christ, of whom it is written (Matthew 1:21): "He shall save His people from their sins." But this is unfitting, through implying that Christ is not the "Saviour of all men," as He is called (1 Timothy 4:10). It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation.
"..however, he is clear that he believes there was a time before animation that she was not sanctified, but then after her soul was infused she was sanctified. What do you think he is saying here?"
Before "animation", aka "being created a person", Mary was not a person and incapable of needing sanctification.

AS her "soul was infused", aka "being created a person", Mary's nature was composed by God as not containing concupiscence.

That's what Aquinas tells me. Am I wrong?
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Old Sep 26, '08, 10:51 am
rpp rpp is offline
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by Prayer_Warrior View Post
Yes, but take a look at his answer to question 28. I don't think this would be supportive of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, particularly the second paragraph. From what I can understand, he is saying that sanctification could not have taken place until after a rational soul was infused. Whether or not he believed that a rational soul is infused at conception remains unclear to me, however, he is clear that he believes there was a time before animation that she was not sanctified, but then after her soul was infused she was sanctified. What do you think he is saying here?
By the way, this is question 27 Article 2 in the 3rd part, not question 28.

I would like you to more carefully read the quote you posted. I will repeat the quote here.

Quote:
I answer that, The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin cannot be understood as having taken place before animation, for two reasons. First, because the sanctification of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin: for sanctification is a "perfect cleansing," as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii). Now sin cannot be taken away except by grace, the subject of which is the rational creature alone. Therefore before the infusion of the rational soul, the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified.

Secondly, because, since the rational creature alone can be the subject of sin; before the infusion of the rational soul, the offspring conceived is not liable to sin. And thus, in whatever manner the Blessed Virgin would have been sanctified before animation, she could never have incurred the stain of original sin: and thus she would not have needed redemption and salvation which is by Christ, of whom it is written (Matthew 1:21): "He shall save His people from their sins." But this is unfitting, through implying that Christ is not the "Saviour of all men," as He is called (1 Timothy 4:10). It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation.
Emphasis mine.

The text is bold is pretty clear, Mary never had the stain of Original Sin.

Unfortunately, the last sentence (in bold) seems to be at odds with the rest of the paragraph that precedes it.
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Old Sep 26, '08, 10:52 am
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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Originally Posted by CatsAndDogs View Post
AS her "soul was infused", aka "being created a person", Mary's nature was composed by God as not containing concupiscence.

That's what Aquinas tells me. Am I wrong?
That makes sense to me.
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Old Sep 26, '08, 10:54 am
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

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The text is bold is pretty clear, Mary never had the stain of Original Sin.


The final sentence seems to be saying that sanctification did not occur at the same time as animation. That is contradictory, but could be resolved if Aquinas could not imagine two things happening simultaneously - sanctification and animation. It also could be resolved by the argument that Mary could not be sanctified until she existed, because until a person exists they cannot be stained by original sin. Perhaps it had to happen in that order because God does not sanctify sperm or egg as neither have the stain of original sin.
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Old Sep 26, '08, 11:00 am
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Default Re: St. Augustine vs. St. Thomas Aquinas ? Comparisons ?

Okay, I am looking further at question 27 Article 2 in the 3rd Part of the Summa Theologae. I think it is best to post both Article 1 and Article 2.

Here is the entire Article 1.

Quote:
ARTICLE 1. Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before her birth from the womb?

Objection 1: It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 15:46): "That was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; afterwards that which is spiritual." But by sanctifying grace man is born spiritually into a son of God according to Jn. 1:13: "(who) are born of God." But birth from the womb is a natural birth. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.

Objection 2: Further, Augustine says (Ep. ad Dardan.): "The sanctification, by which we become temples of God, is only of those who are born again." But no one is born again, who was not born previously. Therefore the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.

Objection 3: Further, whoever is sanctified by grace is cleansed from sin, both original and actual. If, therefore, the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before her birth from the womb, it follows that she was then cleansed from original sin. Now nothing but original sin could hinder her from entering the heavenly kingdom. If therefore she had died then, it seems that she would have entered the gates of heaven. But this was not possible before the Passion of Christ, according to the Apostle (Heb. 10:19): "We have therefore a confidence in the entering into the Holies by His blood." It seems therefore that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before her birth from the womb.

Objection 4: Further, original sin is contracted through the origin, just as actual sin is contracted through an act. But as long as one is in the act of sinning, one cannot be cleansed from actual sin. Therefore neither could the Blessed Virgin be cleansed from original sin as long as she was in the act of origin, by existence in her mother's womb.

On the contrary, The Church celebrates the feast of our Lady's Nativity. Now the Church does not celebrate feasts except of those who are holy. Therefore even in her birth the Blessed Virgin was holy. Therefore she was sanctified in the womb.

I answer that, Nothing is handed down in the canonical Scriptures concerning the sanctification of the Blessed Mary as to her being sanctified in the womb; indeed, they do not even mention her birth. But as Augustine, in his tractate on the Assumption of the Virgin, argues with reason, since her body was assumed into heaven, and yet Scripture does not relate this; so it may be reasonably argued that she was sanctified in the womb. For it is reasonable to believe that she, who brought forth "the Only-Begotten of the Father full of grace and truth," received greater privileges of grace than all others: hence we read (Lk. 1:28) that the angel addressed her in the words: "Hail full of grace!"

Moreover, it is to be observed that it was granted, by way of privilege, to others, to be sanctified in the womb; for instance, to Jeremias, to whom it was said (Jer. 1:5): "Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee"; and again, to John the Baptist, of whom it is written (Lk. 1:15): "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb." It is therefore with reason that we believe the Blessed Virgin to have been sanctified before her birth from the womb.

Reply to Objection 1: Even in the Blessed Virgin, first was that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual: for she was first conceived in the flesh, and afterwards sanctified in the spirit.

Reply to Objection 2: Augustine speaks according to the common law, by reason of which no one is regenerated by the sacraments, save those who are previously born. But God did not so limit His power to the law of the sacraments, but that He can bestow His grace, by special privilege, on some before they are born from the womb.

Reply to Objection 3: The Blessed Virgin was sanctified in the womb from original sin, as to the personal stain; but she was not freed from the guilt to which the whole nature is subject, so as to enter into Paradise otherwise than through the Sacrifice of Christ; the same also is to be said of the Holy Fathers who lived before Christ.

Reply to Objection 4: Original sin is transmitted through the origin, inasmuch as through the origin the human nature is transmitted, and original sin, properly speaking, affects the nature. And this takes place when the off-spring conceived is animated. Wherefore nothing hinders the offspring conceived from being sanctified after animation: for after this it remains in the mother's womb not for the purpose of receiving human nature, but for a certain perfecting of that which it has already received.
Here it seems Aquinas is supporting the Immaculate Conception.
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