Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Spirituality" is not very often "life according to the Spirit" for St. Thomas

"one can consider as assured the following conclusions:
     "1. One meets again quite unmistakably in Thomas two of the three senses [of spiritualitas] isolated by the earlier investigations [mentioned in footnotes 1 ff.]:  the philosophical sense, frequently attested, according to which spiritualitas is opposed to corporeitas or to materialitas; [and] the juridical sense, comparatively rare, according to which the term is found employed in [the] context of simony or of spiritual kinship.
     "2. The properly religious sense of «life according to the Spirit» is present in him, but in no way dominant [(mais de façon non majoritaire)].  Most often it retains its tie to the first philosophical sense and only an attentive reading permits [one] to determine whether it is a question of a spiritualitas gratiae or [only] a spiritualitas by [virtue of a] simple separation from materialitas.
     "3. This ambivalent use [of the term] is especially evident in the domain of continence (virginity and marriage), and it is [in that domain] that one finds it used the most.  [Yet] even there it stands most often not for the state of «spirituality» made possible by the terrestrial practice of continence, but rather for the spirituality in glory that is the recompense for it."

     Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., "«spiritualitas» chez Saint Thomas d'Aquin:  contribution à l'histoire d'un mot," in Recherches thomasiennes:  études revues et augmentées, Bibliothèque thomiste 52, ed. L.-J. Bataillon, O.P. (Paris:  Libraire Philosophique J. Vrin, 2000), 323-324 (315-234) =Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 73 (1989):  583 (575-584).  Conclusions 4 and 5 have to do with 4) the extent to which spiritualitas is in the early Thomas a loan word merely, and 5) the decline in his usage of it after 1260.  An Addendum to the article as published in the Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques considers his use of the adjective spiritualis, which is much less ambiguously indicative of "the life in charity and the exercise of the virtues" (524).

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