Dominic F. Doyle (Author), Michael Himes (Author),

The Promise of Christian Humanism

Thomas Aquinas on Hope
  • Imprint: Herder & Herder
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  • Title: The Promise of Christian Humanism
  • Subtitle: Thomas Aquinas on Hope
  • Page Count: 248
  • Available Formats: Trade-paper (9780824524692)
  • Edition: Trade Paper
  • Original language: English
  • Retail US: Trade-paper (34.95)
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Michael Himes (Author)


Dominic F. Doyle (Author)

Dominic F. Doyle is an associate professor of theology at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry. He holds degrees from Cambridge University, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston College and has received the Catherine LaCugna Award to New Scholars (CTSA) and the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise.

  1. 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
  2. "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

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