The Promise of Christian Humanism

Buy it now

Front cover for The Promise Of Christian Humanism

The Promise of Christian Humanism

Thomas Aquinas on Hope

In this remarkable book, Dominic Doyle discusses how the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, Charles Taylor, Nicholas Boyle, and others reveals the essential bond between the Christian virtue of hope and the life-affirming sensibilities of humanism.

This book, honored by the John Templeton Foundation, explores and enriches the tradition of Christian humanism and will be of great interest to many readers, including secular intellectuals, students of modernity, and Christian theologians. Christian faith promotes human flourishing. Despite the suspicions voiced by modern atheism and secular humanism, God offers us something greater than what we could attain on our own. In this remarkable into humanism, enabling believers to approach God as the human good-God fulfills what it means to be human.

Contents

Introduction
HOPE AND CHRISTIAN HUMANISM
1. THE RENEWAL OF CHRISTIAN HUMANISM: CHARLES TAYLOR AND NICHOLAS BOYLE
2. THE SOURCES OF CHRISTIAN HUMANISM: THE PROBLEM AND A PROPOSAL
3. PRESUPPOSITIONS OF AQUINAS’S DOCTRINE OF HOPE
4. AQUINAS ON HOPE
5. HOPE AND RELIGIOUS TRANSCENDENCE
6. HOPE AND THE PRESENT HUMAN GOOD

Conclusion
THE HUMANISM OF HOPE

Reviews and endorsements

"Doyle exposes in masterful fashion how Christian hope, operating on the concupiscent passions and the will and basing itself on faith in a reality 'beyond' the scope of natural reason, can alone sustain the enterprise of bringing God’s providential plan for the full development of his creation to completion, because only Christian hope is prepared ahead of time to accept the setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations of a world hemmed in with limitations and sin, by living out this dedication in the cruciform pattern of its Master. Applauding but finding limitations in the outward-turning Christianity of Charles Taylor and Nicholas Boyle, Doyle bases himself rather on the future-oriented stance of John Courtney Murray and Jacques Maritain. Doyle builds on but creatively extends Aquinas’ discussion of the theological virtues, seeing faith, hope, and charity as the potency, motion, and act of a single human process of development and conversion, culminating in a contemplative attainment and union with God that turns back and nourishes the other virtues and leads the individual to 'act as Christ would act' in every situation, for the full development and transformation of the world."
Patrick Madigan, Heythrop College

,

Does belief in a transcendent God help or hinder human flourishing? Atheists accuse Christianity of using hope in an after-life to sap societies of their ameliorating strengths. Christianity, they say, has nothing positive to offer humanity in this life and therefore robs cultures of the desire to promote the potential of the species.

Some Christians in their desire to respond to such criticisms, seek to eliminate transcendent hopes in Christianity and direct the Gospel toward the betterment of temporal societies. Thus some attempts to promote justice often render Christianity nothing more than a social service organization that uses the scriptures and the liturgy as tools for galvanising the masses.

Dominic Doyle, in The Promise of Christian Humanism: Thomas Aquinas on Hope, tackles this question through a recovery and rereading of Aquinas's understanding of the theological virtues. Doyle masterfully demonstrates that the virtue of hope inspires a distinct Christian humanism that offers "concern for the human good and promotion of religious transcendence

Christian hope prevents secular hopes from becoming false absolutes and, in turn, totalitarian: one need only consider some of the tragic secular utopias of the 20th century to understand this point. Second, it liberates positive secular hopes – the hope for justice, peace, etc – from despair in a fallen world that often impedes such aspirations.

Finally, it places secular hopes within the human desire for God. Secular hopes, in effect, prepare one for the enjoyment of higher goods: love of neighbour opens up one's capacity for the enjoyment of God.

Nicholas Lash, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emertus, University of Cambridge


“’Does hope in a transcendent God help or hinder human flourishing in the world?’ In this impressively lucid and wide-ranging study, Dominic Doyle explores some of the ways in which contemporary Christian humanism, drawing on Thomas Aquinas' treatment of the virtue of hope, may respond to this question by seeking congruence between faith and reason, Christianity and culture.”
Nicholas Lash, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Cambridge

,

"Dominic Doyle's The Promise of Christian Humanism presents a lively and learned discussion of the most important topic of theological reflection in the present age—our understanding of God's relation to humanity. Doyle's reading of the Thomistic contribution to Christian humanism is at once deeply rooted in the theological tradition and at the same time conversant with contemporary intellectual currents in Europe and North America. Every reader will find instructive Doyle's incisive reading of hope as the virtue most needed today. His penetrating reading of the relation between "Christ and culture" is fair-minded, intellectually rigorous, and challenging to readers from a variety of intellectual perspectives. This is a book that is a must-read for serious theologians, philosophers, and ethicists.”
Stephen Pope, Boston College

,

“Dominic Doyle brings Charles Taylor and Nicholas Boyle into conversation with Thomas Aquinas (and Benedict XVI)  to help us see how authentic hope must be a theological virtue:  hope in the redeeming presence of the One through whom the world is created.  As we may be overwhelmed daily by the failure of human promise, Doyle’s analysis shows us a rich alternative to despair.”
David Burrell, C.S.C., Hesburgh Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame

Awards
978082452469
Paperback / 248 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9
HERDER & HERDER, 2012

Keywords:
Theology and Church
Categories:
Theology