Explaining the Presence, Identifying the Change: Aquinas and Giles of Rome

Marilyn McCord Adams

in Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591053
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595554 | DOI:
Explaining the Presence, Identifying the Change: Aquinas and Giles of Rome

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For Aquinas and Giles, two questions loom large: how can the Body of Christ be there, where the bread still seems to be, and how can it get there without abandoning its throne in heaven? This chapter examines their answers. Philosophically, they agree that a body is located in place per se through the commensuration of the parts of its own determinate quantity with the parts of place; and that it is metaphysically impossible for two determinate quantities to be commensurate with one place or one determinate quantity with two places at the same time. They conclude that the Body of Christ is present on altars only per accidens, not through its own determinate quantity but by being present to the determinate quantity of the bread. Aquinas contends that neither Aristotelian changes nor creation nor annihilation can get Christ's Body on the altar. ‘Thomistic transubstantiation’ posits the whole-being conversion of the bread-substance into the Body of Christ. Giles tries ingeniously to clarify Aquinas' proposal and to make it more precise.

Keywords: Aquinas; Giles; place; creation; bread

Chapter.  11306 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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