Aquinas’ and Dante’s Common Ideals
While St. Thomas Aquinas established himself as the New Aristotle of the 13th century, Dante Alighieri established himself the new Virgil. The two men made an immense impact in their respective fields (poetry and philosophy). Yet surprisingly, the two share common ideals. In each of their respective literary and philosophical views, they establish the importance of the relationship between nature and grace. In Dante’s Inferno the unique relationship of grace and nature is made apparent and reflects the writings of Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica”. Dante’s pilgrimage through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise exhibit and reflect St. Thomas’ understanding of the relationship of nature and grace. Dante mirrors grace through Beatrice and reflects nature in Virgil. These symbolic representations show how Aquinas views are instilled in Dante’s writing. In St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa Theologica” he bases the relationship between nature and grace on the human purpose. Since we are all rational beings with an ultimate goal of reuniting with God, Aquinas’ believes that both grace and nature will allow us to achieve the human goal. Aquinas explains that reason and revelation parallel moral development of virtue and grace. Reason is something you can practice, much like the four cardinal virtues temperance, courage, justice, and wisdom. These three theological virtues faith, hope and love help you achieve grace. These virtues come from gift of God’s grace and perfect the natural abilities of humans to know and love. “According to Thomas natural reason can know the external world without divine illumination and can discern the structure of created things through its sciences. Reason has a legitimate domain in analyzing the human person, ethics and politics. Thomas even extends reason’s competence to certain ‘spiritual’ truths; ...he believes that reason can prove the existence of god” (Reid pg 243) In this excerpt...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document