How do humans become virtuous? Thomas Aquinas writes that God bestows virtue onto humans through his grace. Yet he also espouses the Aristotelian idea that virtue is developed over time through habit. How can we reconcile these two perspectives?
Author Angela McKay Knobel tackles this second question directly through an investigation of Aquinas’s theory of infused moral virtue, especially as it relates to the concept of acquired moral virtue. She dissects Aquinas’ explicit writing on this subject, concluding that he believes infused and acquired virtues mirror each other, while also evaluating other interpretations of Aquinas and his work.
Aquinas and the Infused Moral Virtues gives an unparalleled analysis of the Aquinian understanding of virtue for those interested in the intersection between moral philosophy and theology. As William Mattison III, author of The Sermon on the Mount and Moral Theology, comments, “Knobel provides what is now likely the best book available on virtue in Aquinas’s thought. Through meticulous engagement with Thomas’s text, she delineates the commonalities and discontinuities between the acquired and infused virtues and supplies a decisive intervention in recent debate on the relationship between them.”
The paperback edition is available for purchase on the Notre Dame Press website.
Angela McKay Knobel is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas. She is co-editor of Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology.
Learn More on our blog: An Interview with Angela McKay Knobel, author of AQUINAS AND THE INFUSED MORAL VIRTUES.