Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas III is Msgr. John Wippel’s third volume dedicated to the metaphysical thought of Thomas Aquinas. After an introduction, this volume of collected essays begins with Wippel’s interpretation of the discovery of the subject of metaphysics by a special kind of judgment ("separation"). In subsequent chapters, Wippel turns to the relationship between faith and reason, exploring what are known as the preambles of faith. This is followed by two chapters on the important contributions by Cornelio Fabro on Aquinas’s distinction between essence and esse and on participation. The volume continues with articles on Aquinas’s view of creation as a preamble of faith, Aquinas’s much-disputed defense of unicity of substantial form in creatures, his account of the separated soul’s natural knowledge, and Aquinas’s understanding of evil in his De Malo 1. The volume concludes with an article comparing Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Godfrey of Fontaines on the metaphysical composition of angelic beings.
Most of these issues were disputed during Aquinas’s time by some of his contemporaries, and the proper understanding of each continues to be debated by various students of his thought today. Wippel’s purpose, therefore, is to help clarify our understanding of Aquinas’s thought on each of these topics, a task that requires the careful analysis of primary sources and of secondary literature and attention to the relative chronology of his writing.
"The scholarly methods are impeccable, and the essays are fine examples of how to investigate and report one’s finding in the area of Thomistic metaphysics. Wippel has fantastic command of the secondary literature as well as the primary sources, and his documentation is meticulous. And, thankfully, his writing style is clear and makes even the most difficult questions accessible."~Joseph W. Koterski, SJ, Fordham University