The Aquinas industry

A striking aspect of contemporary Protestant theology is the amount of interest shown in the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas, who was long regarded as the champion of rationalism and the “natural” knowledge of God—a theology at odds with a Protestant understanding of the limits of reason. But in Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth: Sacred Doctrine and the Natural Knowledge of God (University of Notre Dame Press, 1995) Eugene Rogers looks at Barth’s and Aquinas’s treatments of the key biblical text on the natural knowledge of God—Romans 1—and shows that there are surprising affinities between the two theologians. Barth used Anselm’s vision of theological inquiry as “faith seeking understanding” to criticize the rationalist, Enlightenment approach to theology. Rogers shows that he could have just as easily used Aquinas to the same end.

 

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