E491 SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from Summa Theologica (240-46).

Summa Theologica

1. What assumptions in Aquinas do you find derived from Aristotle? (general question)

2. To what extent are Augustine and Aquinas in agreement about the significance of figurative language such as metaphor in the Bible? (general question)

3. Explain "metaphor" in your own terms, but also incorporating the terms "vehicle" and "tenor" in your response. (general question)

Summa Theologica, Question 1, Ninth Article

4. Why, according to Aquinas, is the Bible's metaphoric language both "necessary and useful" -- what makes it necessary, and in what three ways is it useful to human beings? (244)

5. What does Aquinas suggest is the value of figurative language to God, as opposed to mere mortals? That is, how does metaphor preserve or remind us of the gap between the human and the divine? (244)

Summa Theologica, Question 1, Tenth Article

6. Why, according to Aquinas, is the Bible's figurative language not a threat to stable meaning or to God's providential order -- i.e. to his all-encompassing plan for humans and the universe? (245)

7. In Aquinas' view, what is the "literal sense" of a figurative expression? Why is it important for him to define the term "literal"? (246)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.