Wisdom in Aristotle and Aquinas: From Metaphysics to Mysticism

Existenz 12 (2):19-24 (2017)
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Abstract

This essay contains an attempt to trace the evolution of the concept of wisdom as found in the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas in terms of how the philosophical concept of wisdom as an intellectual virtue is understood and used to express the theological concept of wisdom as a gift of the Holy Spirit. The main aim is to understand how Aquinas derived the concept of wisdom from Aristotle's metaphysics and developed it in his mysticism. This research is based on a close study of Book Six of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, the corresponding sections of Aquinas' Sententia libri Ethicorum and question forty-five of the second part of the second part of Aquinas' Summa Theologiae. The insights gained from the study are then used to decipher the theoretical meaning of Augustine's famous saying: "love and do what thou wilt" and to expound on the practical value of wisdom for religious leaders.

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Edmond Eh
University of Saint Joseph, Macau

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