“Obiectum”: Notes on the Invention of a Word

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

“Obiectum”: Notes on the Invention of a Word

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The importance for theology, at least from the mid-13th century onward, of the Latin word “obiectum, -i”—a substantive meaning the object of a power—is easily shown. The word figures prominently in St. Thomas Aquinas's explanation of the beatitude promised to man as the goal of life. And it is accordingly used to explain the nature of Christian charity: charity is the love of God, that is, the love one has for God, considering God not merely as the author of natural reality but as the obiectum of supernatural beatitude. This chapter investigates the invention of this word. It first looks at the entries in some dictionaries. It then examines the two earliest texts in which the word is used in a fairly elaborate way. Finally, it considers some of the background indicated by these earliest uses.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; obiectum; beatitude; power; Christian charity

Chapter.  16043 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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