Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thomas Tuesday

I just started reading a new book called "Holy Teaching." It's a collection of some articles of the Summa with a lot of good explanatory footnotes. It's meant to give an overview of Thomas' teaching in certain key areas.

The "holy teaching" comes from the very first question of the Summa, where Thomas explores the nature of this holy teaching or sacred doctrine. The interesting thing is that for Thomas, holy teaching was the same as the study of Sacred Scripture. Thankfully in recent years, before Vatican II and after, the importance of Scripture has been restored to its rightful place in Catholic theology. Not that it was ever absent, but there was a time when the focus was on a more abstract kind of theology that was more like a textbook approach.

The author of this book says that Thomas used the word "teaching" in a dynamic sense, like a verb, and not just as a noun indicating a body of teaching. In other words, in divine revelation God is our teacher. He comes into relationship with us. Revelation isn't just handing down a pre-printed book we just have to read. In this sense God as revealer is like a teacher who interacts with his or her students in a dynamic way, coaching them, encouraging them, inspiring them and leading them.

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