God's Grace and Human Action
'Merit' in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas
304 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268044336 | February 2016
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268080549 | January 1996
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268096830 | January 1996
Offering a fresh approach to one significant aspect of the soteriology of Thomas Aquinas, God's Grace and Human Action brings new scholarship and insights to the issue of merit in Aquinas's theology. Through a careful historical analysis, Joseph P. Wawrykow delineates the precise function of merit in Aquinas's account of salvation. Wawrykow accounts for the changes in Thomas's teaching on merit from the early Scriptum on the Sentences of Peter Lombard to the later Summa theologiae in two ways. First, he demonstrates how the teaching of the Summa theologiae discloses the impact of Thomas's profound encounter with the later writings of Augustine on predestination and grace. Second, Wawrykow notes the implications of Thomas's mature theological judgment that merit is best understood in the context of the plan of divine wisdom. The portrayal of merit in sapiential terms in the Summa permits Thomas to insist that the attainment of salvation through merit testifies not only to the dignity of the human person but even more to the goodness of God.
Joseph P. Wawrykow teaches medieval theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of The Westminster Handbook to Thomas Aquinas (2005), and co-editor of Christ Among the Medieval Dominicans (1998) and The Theology of Thomas Aquinas (2005).
". . . there is much to be learned from this very intelligent book. The author's insistence on the evidence for development in Thomas's understanding, his broad reading, his alertness to the interconnectedness of Thomas's ideas, and his willingness to grapple with the details of a text all combine to yield a wealth of insights. Wawrykow has gone a long way toward recovering the "essential spirit" of Thomas's motion of merit, and any serious discussion of the doctrine of merit or of Thomas's theology of grace will have to come to terms with his achievement." —The Thomist
“In his scholarly study God’s Grace and Human Action, Joseph Wawrykow seeks to remedy the failures of his predecessors. Wawrykow is sensitive to Aquinas’s intellectual development and offers useful insight into the reasons Aquinas altered his views as he matured as a theologian. What emerges is a ‘big picture’ of Aquinas’s discussions of grace and merit, not just as independent treatises, but as contributions to a larger theological project.” —Speculum, April 1999
"Recommended with great enthusiasm to historians of medieval and Reformation theology." —Religious Studies Review