Teachings of Thomas Aquinas about law and the state
Thomas Aquinas (1225/1226-1274) - the largest authority of medieval Catholic theology and scholasticism, with his name is connected influential to the present day ideological trend of Thomism and its new interpretation - neo-Thomism.
Thomas Aquinas was the youngest son of Count Landolph Aquinas, feudal lord, knight of King Frederick II. Up to 10 years, Thomas Aquinas was raised in the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy, then for six years studied free science at the University of Naples. At the age of 17 he entered the Dominican Order and went to Paris, later - to Cologne for the continuation of education. From 1249 to 1251 years. Thomas teaches theology in Cologne. In 1254, he began his academic career in Paris. In 1257, Aquinas became a master of theology and a doctor of theology. For the softness and lightness of his character, he received the nickname "Angelic Doctor", and for the taciturness and heaviness - "Silent bull". In 1259, Pope Urban IV recalled Thomas to Rome. On the instructions of the Roman curia, Aquinas participates in the recasting of the doctrine of Aristotle in the Christian-Catholic spirit. In the years 1269-1272. again teaches theology at the University of Paris and is fighting against the oppositional school of the Aborigines. In 1272, Thomas returned to Italy to teach theology at the University of Naples. Two years later he left Naples to take part in the convocation of Pope Gregory X Cathedral, which took place in Lyons. During the trip, Thomas fell seriously ill and died March 7, 1274 in the Bernardine monastery near Rome. In 1323, during the pontificate of Pope John XXII Thomas Aquinas was ranked among the saints.
The political views of Thomas Aquinas are set forth in the work "On the Rule of Sovereigns" and in the Comments to the "Policy" and Ethics Aristotle. The doctrine of the laws is contained in one of the parts of his main work "The Sum of Theology".
Thomas was the first of the medieval philosophers of Western Europe to make extensive use of the works of Aristotle. According to the witty remark of one of the researchers, Thomas Aquinas turned Aristotle into Christianity and baptized him. In the spirit of medieval scholasticism, Thomas views philosophy as a "servant of theology".
Following Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas argues that the state arose as a result of natural necessity, since man is by nature a social and political being and possesses intelligence as opposed to animals: "And if only it was necessary for man to live alone, how many animals live , he would not need anything else, directing him to the goal, but everyone himself would be a king under the rule of God, the highest king, because in his actions a person himself would direct himself given to him by the will of God with the light of reason. For a person, however, since he is a social and political being, it is natural that he lives in a multitude; even more than all other creatures, for this requires a natural necessity. After all, all other creatures are naturally provided with food, a coat of wool, protection, for example, fangs, horns ... Man, on the other hand, is created in such a way that nature has not endowed him with any of these qualities, but instead of this he is given the mind. " At the same time, Thomas introduces a new content into this formula: the state, like nature, and everything that exists, originates from God. This distinguishes his teaching not only from Aristotelian, but essentially from the Augustinian tradition, according to which the origin of the state is from the fall. This approach caused the well-known negativity of Augustine's followers in relation to secular power and worldly life.
According to the views of Thomas Aquinas, God created nature has some autonomy and creative properties, and the state created by nature possesses the same properties. This also distinguishes the teachings of Thomas Aquinas about the state from the tradition of the Augustinian followers, who viewed every phenomenon of nature and society as a result of the direct intervention of divine providence. It was Aristotle who gave impetus to the appearance of the system of Thomas Aquinas' views on the state as a natural institution.Undoubtedly, Aristotle is also inspired by reasoning about forms of government that are just or unjust, depending on the purpose that the ruler sets for him. Foma referred to fair forms: monarchy, aristocracy and politics, to unjust - tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. Thus, if an unjust government is succeeded only by one who seeks to extract his interest from the board, and not at all a boon to the subservient set, such a ruler is called a tyrant (which name is derived from "force"), because, as is known, he oppresses power, and does not rule in justice, which is why in ancient times mighty people were called tyrants. If an unjust government is not led by one person, but ... not by many - it is called an oligarchy, i.e. this is the primacy of the few, when, as is known, few suppress the plebs for enrichment, differing from the tyrant only in quantity. If unjust government is carried out by many, it is called democracy, which means the domination of the people, when people from the common people oppress the rich. Thus, the whole nation acts as one tyrant. In the same way, one should also distinguish between just governance. So, if control is carried out by any set - this is called polity, for example, when a set consisting of warriors dominates in a city-state or province. If management is carried out by few, but possessing excellent qualities of people, a board of this kind is called aristocracy, i.e. the best authority, or the power of the best, those that are why they are called optimal. If, however, a just government is exercised by one, he is properly called the king. "
Thomas considers the monarchy to be the best form of government, because "one manages better than many, because they are only getting closer to becoming one." Moreover, what exists by nature is arranged in the best way, because nature in each individual case acts best, and general management in nature is carried out by one. In fact, among the many parts of the body there is one that moves everything, namely the heart, and among the parts of the soul, one power predominates, namely the mind. After all, bees have one king, and in the whole universe there is one God, the creator of everything and the ruler. "
Aquinas recognizes the right of subjects to overthrow the head of state in cases where the latter encroaches on the interests of the church. Foma's recognition of the right of subjects to revolt against state power is different from the previous Christian tradition, whose representatives have drawn the opposite conclusion from the apostle Paul's saying: "Any power from God."
Considering the most important theme of his works - the question of the relationship between spiritual and secular power, Thomas Aquinas sought to divide the scope of their actions. Secular power should govern only the external actions of subjects. Managing the souls of people is wholly within the competence of the church. Since spiritual power and secular power are both derived from the power of God, "Thomas wrote in comments to the" Sentences " Peter of Lombard - then the secular power is so much under the spiritual as far as it is subordinated to her, namely, in matters that relate to the salvation of the soul; as a consequence, in such matters, it is more likely to obey the church authority, rather than the secular one. In the same as for civil goods, one should obey secular authority more than church, in accordance with the teaching "Give Caesar to Caesar". Is it by any chance that both powers unite in the person of the pope, who stands on top of both authorities? ". In general, Thomas, as we see, leans to the side of the latter in the dispute between secular and ecclesiastical authorities.Thomas Aquinas deviates from the concept of direct theocracy in the solution of the problem of the correlation of church and secular authority, subordinating the temporal power of the church, but distinguishing the spheres of their influence and granting secular power an essential autonomy, just as the sphere of the natural and supernatural differs in its philosophy, where "Faith indicates the mind of its error and its boundaries, yet does not intersect with free practice by philosophy."
An important place in the political and legal doctrine of Thomas is the doctrine of law, laws, their forms and subordination. According to the definition of a thinker, right is the "action of justice in the divine order of human existence"; The law is "the establishment of the mind, for the common good's sake, accepted and promulgated by those who have the care of society."
Thomas identifies four types of laws, while the content of some of them does not fully comply with the above definition of the law.
1) The eternal law (lex aeterna) is at the top of the hierarchy and represents divine providence. To human consciousness the eternal law in its integrity is inaccessible. Man is able to comprehend only certain parts of the eternal law, comprehending what corresponds to him, and what is contrary. This knowledge allows a person to internally realize the proper and inappropriate behavior, to distinguish between good and evil. On the basis of this knowledge, a person develops certain rationalistic principles that make up the natural law.
2) The natural law (lex naturale) is the law generated by the mind of men, just as the eternal law is enclosed in the divine mind. The natural law is, as it were, a reflection of the eternal law in the human mind; it includes the laws of the hostel, the desire for self-preservation and the continuation of the family.
3) The human law (lex humana) is a positive law that forcibly forces people to avoid evil and achieve virtues. Unlike the law of nature, human law is a prescription with varying content. The norms of human law in different countries may be different. What they are identical in is the "right of peoples". What they differ in is integrated into the "right of citizens". of each individual state. These arguments are largely borrowed from Roman lawyers. The prescriptions of the human (positive) law must not contradict the requirements of the natural law: to go against the needs of self-preservation, family life and upbringing, the search for truth (god) and worthy people of communication.
4) The Divine Law (lex divina) is the "eternal law promulgated by God in writing"; The law, which is transmitted through revelation and contained in the Bible. The Divine Law is a necessary complement to human law, because people, because of the imperfection of the human mind, can not themselves come to a common understanding of the proper and just; then the Bible (the Divine law) comes to their aid.
All laws (natural, human and divine) take their origin and are subordinate to the eternal law. Even an unjust law, since it preserves a certain semblance of the law by virtue of what was created by the person in power, springs from the eternal: after all, "all authority is from the Lord God" & quot ;; "... hence it is clear that the human law is derived from the eternal, but can not follow it to the end."
Thomas Aquinas is a consistent defender of the Catholic Church, showed intolerance in matters of faith and called for a brutal struggle against heretics. "To pervert religion," he said, "is even more evil than minting a counterfeit coin." Thomas urged secular authority to physically destroy apostates.
The philosophy of St. Thomas is not only of historical interest, but is still an effective force, since in all Catholic schools the system of views of Thomas Aquinas is prescribed to teach as the only true philosophy; this became mandatory from the time of the rescript issued by Leo XIII in 1879. This rescript gave rise to the modern development of Thomism - neotomism.
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