A translation of the Quaestio Disputata De Spiritualibus Creaturis of St Thomas Aquinas, with accompanying notes

MPhil Thesis

Goodwin, Colin Robert. (2002). A translation of the Quaestio Disputata De Spiritualibus Creaturis of St Thomas Aquinas, with accompanying notes [MPhil Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a8e4bd64b7a4
AuthorsGoodwin, Colin Robert
TypeMPhil Thesis
Qualification nameMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)

Scope of the work - This research project involves two components. The first is a translation from Latin into English of St Thomas Aquinas's Quaestio disputata de spiritualibus creaturis. This is an important, though largely neglected, work of St Thomas dating from 1267- 68, dealing with a range of issues relating to the two categories of created spirits recognised by Thomas, viz. angels and human souls. The perspective of the Angelic Doctor is principally, though not exclusively, that of philosophy rather than of theology. What is found in the disputed question is the development of a number of arguments, and the consequent taking up of a number of positions, that are the immediate source of what St Thomas has to say about angels and the human soul in the first part (prima pars) of his Summa Theologiae - a part which was completed by 1268. What he has to say about the Averroistic view that there is only one receptive intellect, and only one agent intellect, for all human beings (see Articles 9 and 10 of the disputed question) prepared the way for his crucially important polemical treatise of 1270, the De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas. The project provides a complete translation of the Quaestio disputata de spiritualibus creaturis which extends across eleven 'articles' addressing selected questions concerning angels and/or human souls, viz. matter/form composition, modes of union with (or separation from) matter, specific differences between angels, receptive intellect and agent intellect in human beings, and the distinction between the soul and its powers. Pages vi- vii of the Introduction to the project discuss the way in which the translation of the text of St Thomas has been approached. To cite one sentence: 'An attempt has been made at all times to use a style of translation that is pleasantly readable, non-jarring, and non-pedantic' - but one that is subject to total fidelity to expressing the philosophical meaning of St Thomas.;The second component of the project is eleven sets of notes (one hundred and seven pages in all), each set of which belongs to one or other of the eleven articles making up the text of St Thomas as translated. There is a degree of cross-referencing between some of the notes belonging to particular articles. The notes are of varying length and are concerned to facilitate an understanding of what the Angelic Doctor has to say in his Quaestio disputata de spiritualibus creaturis. Most of the notes fall into one or other of the following categories: biographical (providing information about a number of persons whose names appear in Thomas's text), historical (giving information about institutions and events connected with the time, or life, of St Thomas), exegetical (explaining why a particular English translation of Thomas's Latin has been used, or illustrating a point in the text by citations from other works of the Saint, or on occasion taking issue with some feature of the critical Latin text of Leo Keeler, S.J., on which the translation has been based), and 'philosophical extension' notes (seeking to amplify what St Thomas has been arguing in the disputed question on created spirits by considering related issues in other works of his, or by further exploration of a concept or notion used in the text but not dwelt on by Thomas). 2 Aim of the work - The aim of the project has been to make available an accurate, and attractive, English translation from thirteenth century Latin of an important work of Thomas Aquinas, and to support this activity with accompanying sets of notes. The achievement of appropriate scholarly standards has been a pervasive intention in all that has been undertaken.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a8e4bd64b7a4
Research GroupSchool of Philosophy
Final version
Publication dates
Online24 Jun 2002
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