Final Examination of James W. Stroud
For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Friday, April 20, 2012 9:00 a.m., Caldwell Room 125
William Mattison III, Ph.D.
Thomas Aquinas’ Exposition of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Developments in His Thought and Rival Interpretations
Despite the renewed interest in the moral theology of St. Thomas since the time of Leo XIII, little attention has been paid to the topic of the gifts of the Holy Spirit among moral theologians, which is puzzling considering St. Thomas viewed the gifts as necessary for the moral life. Among the few scholars who discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit, a considerable disagreement has emerged regarding how to understand St. Thomas’ doctrine of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of this dissertation is elucidate an account of St. Thomas’ doctrine of the gifts of the Holy Spirit through an examination of the development of his doctrine of the gifts within his writings as a way to decide between the differing accounts.
First, this study surveys the historical development of the gifts of the Holy to show the scriptural foundations of the gifts, an emerging understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in the writings of the Church Fathers, and the efforts of systematizing the virtues and gifts in the writings of the Scholastic authors prior to St. Thomas. Second, this study presents the two differing accounts for understanding St. Thomas’ doctrine of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with attention to the specific areas of disagreement between these rival accounts. Third, this study examines the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This close textual study reveals how St. Thomas, for most of his work, consistently held one view of the gifts, but in his later work, wrote a different account of the gifts. Fourth, this dissertation concludes by focusing on the areas of development in St. Thomas’ doctrine of the gifts with specific attention on the use of the term “instinctus” and by adjudicating the areas of disagreement between the rival accounts.