Aquinas and Modernity: The Lost Promise of Natural Law (Modernity and Political Thought)

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9780742522589: Aquinas and Modernity: The Lost Promise of Natural Law (Modernity and Political Thought)
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In this startling book, Drury overturns the long-standing reputation of Thomas Aquinas as the most rational exponent of the Christian faith. She reveals that Aquinas as one of the most zealous Dominicans (Domini Canes) or Hounds of the Lord. The book contains incisive criticisms of Aquinas's reconciliation of faith and reason, his defense of papal supremacy, his justification of the Inquisition, his insistence on the persecution of Jews, and his veneration of celibacy. Far from being an antiquarian exercise, Drury shows why the study of Aquinas is relevant to the politics of the twenty-first century, where the primacy of faith over reason has experienced a revival. The current pope, Benedict XVI, relies heavily on Aquinas when prescribing cures for the ills of modernity. For Drury, religion is as incompatible with political moderation and sobriety in our time as it was in the thirteenth century. This is why she defends a secular version of Aquinas's theory of natural law_a theory that he betrayed in favor of what she calls 'the politics of salvation.'

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About the Author:

Shadia B. Drury is professor of philosophy and political science at the University of Regina in Canada, a Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, and director of the University of Regina Masters Program in Social and Political Thought.

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In this impassioned criticism, Drury condemns the prevailing view of Aquinas as a champion of reason and morality. With verve and wit Drury relentlessly documents how Aquinas opted for faith over reason, expediency over elementary decency, and cruelty over humanity in order to justify the Crusades, the Inquisition, the torture and murder of devout dissenters, and the condemnation of all who did not wholeheartedly obey the often-changing orthodoxy of the Catholic Church. Contemporary defenders of the faith and Aquinas should meet the challenge of this book―if they can. (John Kekes, SUNY at Albany)

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