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Aquinas on the Emotions: A Religious-Ethical Inquiry (Moral Traditions) Paperback – October 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Cates' engagement with Aquinas provides a grammar of emotional and moral life, but one that is never over-determined; white it has universal applicability, it leaves plenty of scope for individual initiative. Her examination provides a realistic prompt to self-understanding, more accurate 'readings' of reality and more appropriate responses to others."―Theological Book Review

"This is a careful and clear study of emotions in Aquinas. As such, Cates' book is also a resource for a wide range of readers who want to understand, educate and cultivate the emotional dimensions of their ethical and religious life."―Catholic Library World


"Philosophy and theology are finally giving human emotions the attention they deserve. No one surpasses Cates's extraordinarily careful presentation of Aquinas's own deep theory of emotions. She brings this too-long neglected aspect of his anthropology into clear light."―Edward Vacek, SJ, professor of moral theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

"Cates does a masterful job of providing a clear, sympathetic, and insightful analysis of Thomas Aquinas's account of the role of the emotions in the moral life. She shows that Thomas's ethics can be reduced neither to virtue nor to natural law, and that it can only be grasped within the context of his understanding of our emotions, desires, and aspirations. Anyone striving seriously to understand Thomas's moral thought will want to be informed by this critically important book."―Stephen Pope, professor of theological ethics, Boston College

"In recent years, there have been very few extended studies of Aquinas's theory of the passions (or emotions), and yet this theory plays a critical role in his overall account of virtue and the life of grace. Diana Cates's book thus fills a real need, offering us a comprehensive, reliable, and engagingly clear guide to Aquinas's complex theory, firmly placed within the wider context of his thought. What is more, by comparing Aquinas's account with that of central contemporary theories of the emotions, she draws Aquinas into our own conversations, where he proves to be a surprisingly illuminating interlocutor. This fine book makes an important contribution both to Aquinas studies and to contemporary religious ethics and moral philosophy, and it deserves, and I expect it to have, wide influence."―Jean Porter, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Notre Dame

"Lucid and nuanced, Cates's study of the emotions in Thomas Aquinas explores the significance of emotions for ethics with unprecedented care and thoroughness. Her book will be a staple for scholars of Aquinas and for constructive religious ethics. "―Cristina L. H. Traina, associate professor, Department of Religion, Northwestern University


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Product Details

  • Series: Moral Traditions
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press (October 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589015053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589015050
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #640,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Julie Balamut on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After "Choosing to Feel," I have anxiously awaited Dr. Fritz Cates's new book on the Thomist treatment on human emotion. She doesn't disappoint here in this very fine, much needed addition to the moral theology of Aquinas. Although this may be slightly complex for the casual reader, she takes a very complicated subject and takes it apart piece by piece in a careful manner to build and provide a convincing picture of Aquinas' masterful understanding of the place of human emotion to a flourishing life. I especially appreciated how she weaves the work of Jonathan Edwards's affections and the work of Martha Nussbaum into her own work. The writing is clear and beautiful and this book should not only help us gain greater understanding of Aquinas and his importance to contemporary Christian life, it should stand as a fine scholarly treatment of this very complex subject. All complete libraries of the work of Aquinas should have this book in its collection as I believe it will also withstand the test of time.
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