The Theological Virtues

Joseph P. Wawrykow

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Theological Virtues

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion



Aquinas focused on the moral and intellectual virtues to display the theological virtues in their distinctiveness in his analysis of the theological virtues covering faith, hope, and charity. The designation of certain virtues as ‘theological’ suggests their connection to God in such a way that the theological virtues are infused by God, they direct a person to God as beatifying end and they become known by God's revelation in scripture. The theological virtues are not acquired but are given by God. The theological virtues enhance human capacity and elevate the person to the supernatural order and making their possessor capable of the acts that bring that person to the end to which grace and these virtues direct him. Each of these virtues in its particular manner relates the person to the God. Aquinas considered the theological virtues in the order of generation in his Summa theologiae. Aquinas thought there are three aspects of the internal act of faith. He adopted a formulation that nuances the relation of the person to God by faith, which includes credere Deo, credere Deum, credere in Deum. Human beings are involved in God's revealing and the process of articulation. The truths needed for salvation are revealed in Scripture, and God reveals these truths to the human authors of Scripture and does so in such a way that they cannot be mistaken.

Keywords: moral virtues; intellectual virtues; theological virtues; credere Deo; credere in Deum

Article.  11203 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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