The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Andrew Pinsent

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit

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  • History of Western Philosophy
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Aquinas and Aristotle have different views on the types of virtues. Aquinas claimed that proper or perfect virtues are not acquired, but infused in human beings by God. These infused virtues include counterparts of many of the acquired moral and intellectual virtues. Aquinas argued that only the infused virtues are perfect and deserve to be called ‘virtues’ simply. Aquinas argued that cardinal virtues are not acquired virtues. There are seven gifts, which Aquinas appended to various theological and cardinal virtues. The cognitive gifts are understanding (Intellectus) and knowledge (Scientia) that are appended to the virtue of faith, wisdom (Sapientia), appended to the virtue of caritas, and counsel (Consilium), appended to the virtue of prudence. Aquinas claimed that the gift of knowledge enables ‘participated likeness’ of God's knowledge, knowledge that is absolute and simple rather than discursive, as for the homonymous intellectual virtue. A similar notion of participation can be found in Aquinas's descriptions of the other gifts. Aquinas's descriptions of gift-based movement therefore express two main principles. First, he described a situation in which a person's stance toward some object involves a participation in God's stance toward the same object. Second, gift-based movement involves what Aquinas described as a union or oneness of the soul with God. Aquinas was clear that anyone can possess the infused virtues and gifts.

Keywords: infused virtues; gifts; counsel; wisdom; understanding; intellectual virtue; caritas

Article.  7891 words. 

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

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