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Journal Article

"Remodelling Ultimate Human Happiness: Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Sentences and its Sources"


Krause,  Katja
External, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Max Planck Society;

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Krause, K. (2015). "Remodelling Ultimate Human Happiness: Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Sentences and its Sources". Divus Thomas, 118(1), 15-56.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-8AF2-1
Aquinas presents his earliest conception of human happiness in his commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, bk. IV d. 49 q. 1. In holding that happiness can only be possessed in relation to God in the afterlife, he decidedly follows the Latin tradition, including Peter Lombard. But he radically remodels the structure and content of heavenly happiness. Not only does he commence his treatment with the philosophical question of “wherein happiness is to be sought” (a. 1), but also grounds it in the perfective operation of the soul alone and links it to God as its external obtainable good. His reasons for this fundamental deviation from the Latin tradition do, however, not lie in his adherence to Aristotle as contemporary scholarship suggests. Rather, as it is shown, Aquinas develops his theory of happiness against the backdrop of a complex range of sources, including Aristotle, the Greek Christian Commentators on Aristotle’s Ethics, Avicenna, Averroes, the Parisian Masters of Arts, and Albert the Great. The main purpose of his “intellectualist” account of heavenly happiness – a superior reconciliation of the truth of reason with the truth of revelation – can only be appreciated if this range of sources is taken into consideration.