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Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles (Revisions: a Series of Books on Ethics) Hardcover – June 30, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 242 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press (June 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268008787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268008789
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on August 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles by Thomas S. Hibbs (Revisions: a Series of Books on Ethics: University of Notre Dame Press) investigates the intent, method, and structural unity of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles. In this innovative study Thomas S. Hibbs goes against the grain of most traditional interpretations of the work, which claim it serves a missionary or apologetic end, and argues that the intended audience is Christian and that its subject is Christian wisdom. In the process of making his argument, Hibbs also demonstrates that the Summa Contra Gentiles is the most important of Aquinas's texts on the relationship between faith and reason, theology, and philosophy.

Since the prologue to the Summa Contra Gentiles has been the focus of nearly all the debates over the work, Hibbs begins with an examination of it and the controversies it has provoked, and tests various interpretations of the prologue in light of the actual text. He then goes on to suggest that the method of the Contra Gentiles is dialectical and that its unifying principle is provided by the narrative structure of scripture. The next chapters are devoted to each of the Contra Gentiles' four parts and Hibbs argues that any interpretation of the first three books must consider how the order of Aquinas's discussion is driven by a series of dialectical encounters with received opinions, especially those of Aristotle and his commentators. Hibbs further demonstrates how attention to the dialectical method of the work has two advantages: first, it enables readers to avoid misinterpretations of Aquinas's positions on various issues, and second, it allows the reader to recapture something of Aquinas's original pedagogical intent.
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