Christ’s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple
Salvation according to Thomas Aquinas
264 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: April 2002
- ISBN: 9780268022730
- Published: April 2002
- ISBN: 9780268022723
- Published: April 2002
- ISBN: 9780268161248
Christ’s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple is a concise introduction to the Christian theology of salvation in light of the contributions of Thomas Aquinas. In this cogent study, Matthew Levering identifies six important aspects of soteriology, each of which corresponds to an individual chapter in the book. Levering focuses on human history understood in light of the divine law and covenants, Jesus the Incarnate Son of God and Messiah of Israel, Jesus’ cross, transformation in the image of God, the Mystical Body of Christ into which all human beings are called, and eternal life.
Taking the doctrines of faith as his starting point, Levering’s objective is to answer the questions of both Christians and non-Christians who desire to learn how and for what end Jesus “saves” humankind. Levering’s work also speaks directly to contemporary systematic theologians. In contrast to widespread assumptions that Aquinas’s theology of salvation is overly abstract or juridical, Levering demonstrates that Aquinas’s theology of salvation flows from his reading of Scripture and deserves a central place in contemporary discussions.
Thomas Aquinas’s theology of salvation employs and develops the concepts of satisfaction and merit in light of his theology of the Old Testament. For Aquinas, Christ fulfills Israel’s Torah and Temple, law and liturgy. These two aspects of Israel’s religion provide the central categories for understanding salvation. The Torah expresses God’s Wisdom, incarnated in Jesus Christ. Christ’s passion, then, fulfills and transforms the moral, juridical, and ceremonial precepts of the Torah, which correspond to the three “offices” of ancient Israel—prophet, king, and priest. The New Law in Christ Jesus is also the fulfillment of the Temple, Israel’s worship. Christ offers the Father the perfect worship, participated in by all members of his Mystical Body through faith, charity, and the sacraments. Old Law and New Law are fulfilled in the perfect knowing and loving (perfect law and liturgy) of eternal life, the Heavenly Jerusalem.
As a Thomistic contribution to contemporary theology, this fruitful study develops a theology of salvation in accord with contemporary canonical readings of Scripture and with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on the fulfillment and permanence of God’s covenants.
“[A]n instructive survey and analysis of Thomas’ understanding of the connections between Old and New Testaments, with special attention to the ways in which the Christian understanding of salvation includes the fulfillment of Israel’s law and worship.”—First Things
“Matthew Levering is one of the brightest of the Thomistic new wave and in this exciting book, he displays, for a wide readership, the resourcefulness of the reinvigorated Thomistic theology of today. If you are someone who thought that Thomism ‘went out’ with the Second Vatican Council, then I urge you to read Matthew Levering’s eloquent new book. It will lead you back to St. Thomas Aquinas himself, whom the Church commends, now as before, as a teacher of priviledged authority whose thought lives on with undiminished energy.” —Crisis Magazine
“There is much of value in this book. It makes an important contribution to Thomistic studies.” —Catholic Library World
“The author explores very closely the Angelic Doctor’s reading of biblical texts in a way that offers a fresh perspective on the connections between law (including natural law) and gospel, as well as the ways in which the Church is and is not ‘the new Israel.’ Levering’ is an illuminating argument for readers with at least a modicum of theological training.” — First Things
“[Levering’s] presentation is well-organized, clear, and always to the point. Beginners will find it a prime example of extended theological thinking and writing. More advanced readers will find the 40 pages of notes and the bibliography very helpful.” —Choice
“Levering succeeds splendidly both in orienting biblically informed readers to Aquinas’ work and in welcoming Jewish readers into the breadth of Thomist theology of salvation” —Theology Today
“Matthew Levering’s book is an example of the type of research and reflection needed if we are to recover in greater fullness the robust thinking of the past, in this case that of Thomas Aquinas, in regard to the ongoing mystery of Israel. This fine work makes a serious contribution to the kind of retrieval theology that must be done before we Christians can approach Jewish-Christian relations in our own day with a genuine spiritual and theological understanding of what the Scriptures and Tradition actually teach.” —The Thomist
“The book would make a suitable introduction to newcomers to Aquinas on salvation." —Theological Studies
“In Christ's Fulfillment of Torah and Temple, Matthew Levering has written a thoughtful, insightful study, one that will be valuable for Aquinas studies and beyond. Levering's thoughtful treatment of the matter will make his work useful not only for Aquinas studies, but for... contemporary Jewish-Christian dialogue. ...Levering has produced a work that is both careful and creative.” —Pro Ecclesia
“Matthew Levering manages to bring both the student and the expert into a fascinating discussion of an ancient sotierology which speaks volumes to contemporary debates.” —Theological Book Review