Brian McCarthy e-mail(Inicie sesión)

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Brian McCarthy e-mail(Inicie sesión)


In the most recent studies on the treatise De Inspiratione there is a tendency to reject the use of the notion of prophetic gift and of what St. Thomas says about prophecy, in order to focus its treatment from the psychological point of view or the philosophy of language.

The study presented here, without entering in polemics with the alluded currents of thought, pretends to point out that the elements contained in the works of the Angelic Doctor, and specially the short treatise De Prophetia of the Summa (II-II, qq. 171-174), as well as in parallel texts (for example, De Veritate q. 12), can serve to clarify the nature, finality and properties oj the hagiographic gift.

The demonstration is carried out in two steps. In the first place, the parallelism between prophecy and inspiration is studied. The most important factor which is established is that the prophecy is a cognoscitive gift, which consists essentially in an illumination of the intellect (lumen propheticum), in order to judge of the truth of something apprehended naturally or supernaturally. In this sense, it is not essential that the species present in the mind of the hagiographer be infused: the most important element of knowledge is the judgment (judicium est perfectivum cognitionis), and for that matter, one could talk of a natural human knowledge (memory, fantasy, etc.). From this point of view, which corresponds to the notion of prophecy in the broad sense, the scriptural inspiration and prophecy can be considered identical. Moreover, the prophecy is a grace gratis data, which is given ad loquendum, that is to say a manifestative gift. But then, inspiration is also a manifestative gift, although ad scribendum. Between the denuntiatio prophetica and the composition of an inspired book, there is an evident analogy, even though there exists some difference. For that reason, the Angelic Doctor says in some texts that Solomon was a "prophet" simply for the composition of the books of wisdom even though he had never foreseen the contingent future things.

The second part of the investigation tries to find out whether St. Thomas, in fact, utilized the notions of lumen propheticum, of gratia locutionis and of denuntiatio prophetica while speaking of inspiration. The examination of the texts related to inspiration does not resolve the problem. On the other hand, it is quite evident that the Common Doctor has the notion of inspiration present when he speaks of prophecy.

As conclusion, according to the texts of St. Thomas inspiration pertains to prophecy as a species to its gender. What characterizes inspiration (its specific difference) is that the hagiographer does not necessarily receive the intellectual species by supernatural infusion. This could be given, but not necessarily. One characteristic of inspiration is that of being a gift destined to put in script and in a truthful manner (apte infallibili veritate) what the writer knows or receives from God.


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