Is Thomas Aquinas a Spiritual Hedonist?

Lawrence Dewan

in Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227969
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237210 | DOI:

Series: Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology

Is Thomas Aquinas a Spiritual               Hedonist?

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Leslie Dewart has attempted to make subject to question the whole orientation of Christian life toward beatitude. He has presented that orientation as a form of hedonism. This chapter examines whether Dewart's judgment of St. Thomas Aquinas' doctrine is adequate. It seeks to show that it is not, that is, St. Thomas's theory of the Christian life is not, in principle, a spiritual hedonism. For St. Thomas, the divine promise of supernatural beatitude is not merely no hedonism. It is that very effusion of divine goodness that makes possible the mode of loving God that we call “charity”.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; Leslie Dewart; Christianity; spiritual hedonism; God; beatitudes

Chapter.  7666 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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