Phil 43144:  Aquinas on Angels


Malloy 304/631-7327


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Purpose----Texts----Requirements----Syllabus----Online Handouts -- Next Paper Assignment

Purpose of Course:  A close reading, in a new translation by the instructor, of the 24 questions of the first part of the Summa Theologiae that deal with purely spiritual substances.  Unlike those philosophers who glory in the 'species-ist' despair of a 'disenchanted' world (read:  no God, no soul, no immortality, and especially no angels), St. Thomas believes in a more interesting and variegated world, one that includes as an irreplaceable part those purely spiritual substances known as angels, both the good ones and the bad ones in all their hierarchical splendor.  We will discuss angelic cognition and affection, how angels are related to places and bodies, how they move around, how they speak to one another, how they go bad, what their jobs are, how they take care of us or, as the case may be, try to corrupt us, etc.  Moreover, by studying angels and the ways in which St. Thomas takes them to differ from us, we can get a better grasp of his philosophical anthropology. As is normal for the first part of the Summa, the questions we will be studying provide a fairly comprehensive survey of St. Thomas's metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophical psychology, along with lots of enticing tidbits about space and time, motion, causality, communication, temptation, etc.

  • The cost-free text for the course, which is from my own translation of the Summa Theologiae, can be found at this part of my website.

  • For those interested, the Latin text is available online at Index Corporis Thomistici, which is maintained by Prof. Enrique Alarcon of the University of Navarre, Spain.  An alternate (though, needless to say, inferior) translation is available at the New Advent Website.

  • In addition, I am providing some supplementary material, along with class notes as available, on the course handout page.

  • Three short papers (60% of class grade).  Three 6-7 page papers on assigned topics, due on 9/30, 10/30, and 12/11 (the last class day).

  • Class Participation (40% of class grade).  This has two parts:

    (a) You must submit to me by email, before 9:00AM on each class day, a question/comment based on the readings assigned for that day.  I expect the questions/comments to be well thought out and well articulated, though fairly short.  They will serve as a partial guide for my class comments on the day in question.  (I pay close attention to the quality of these questions in determining the participation component of the grade.) 

    (b) Active and intelligent participation in seminar discussions.  In general, student initiative and signs of self-motivation will be rewarded in this course.

    • 9/9:  q. 51 and 52:  The relation of angels to bodies and places
    • 9/11:  q. 53 :  An angel's local motion
    • 9/16:  q. 10, aa. 5-6: An angel's relation to time

    • 9/18:  q. 54:  An angel's cognition
    • 9/23:  q. 55:  The medium of angelic cognition
    • 9/25:  q. 56:  An angel's cognition of immaterial things

    • 9/30:  q. 57:  An angel's cognition of material things

    • 10/2:  q. 58:  The mode of an angel's cognition
    • 10/7:  q. 59:  An angel's will
    • 10/9:  q. 60:  An angel's love or affection
    • 10/14:  q. 61:  The production of angels with their natural esse

    • 10/16:  q. 62:  The perfection of angels in the esse of grace and glory
    • 11/4:  q. 64:  The punishment of the demons
    • 11/6:  q. 106:  How one angel illuminates another
    • 11/11:  q. 107:  The speech of angels
    • 11/13:   q. 108:  The arrangement of angels according to hierarchies and orders
    • 11/18:  q. 109:  The ordering of the bad angels

    • 11/20:  110:  How angels preside over corporeal creatures

    • 11/25:  q. 111:  The action of angels on men

    • 12/2:  q. 112:  The mission of the angels

    • 12/4 and 12/9:  q. 113:  The guardianship of the angels

    • 12/11:  q. 114:  The attacks of the bad angels