Sententiae from St. Thomas Aquinas in the Works of James Joyce

Aquinas’ definition of Beauty: Nam ad puchritudinem tria requiruntur. Prima quidem integritas, sive perfectio; (quae enim diminuta sunt hoc ipso turpia sunt), et debita proportio, sive consonantia; et iterum claritas habent colorem nitidus, pulchra esse dicuntur. (Summa Theologica, q.39, a. 8.) Quoted in Hugh Kenner, Dublin’s Joyce, ((Indiana UP 1955); see further: ‘The possibility of epiphanies depends on the composite structure of things, signate matter plus intelligible form.’ (Kenner, op. cit., p.146.) See also Stephen’s rendering of the Tria requiruntur as a theory of perception in Stephen Hero (Chap. XXV) and A Portrait (Chap. V).

Aquinas: Nihil in intellectu quod no prius in sensibus fuerit (Aristotle, De Anima, 432a, 7-8; quoted in Aquinas’s Commentary on De Anima, Q. a.16).
Note: In this St. Thomas follows Paul: ‘So the things that are of God no man knoweth but the spirit of God. But to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit. (Cor. 2. 11, 10.) Also, ‘[] through a glass darkly [ per aenigmate ] &c.’ (Cor. 13.12); and - ‘The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.’ (Rom. 1.20.)

‘Those things which do not fall under the senses cannot be apprehended by the human mind except in sofar as knowledge of them can be gathered from the senses.’ (Summa Contra Gentiles, 1.3.) Cf. Finnegans Wake, ‘But the world, mind, is, was and will be writing its own wrunes for ever, man, on all matter that fall under the ban of our infrarational senses []’ [019.35].

Sentences of Aquinas:

‘Because the first principle of our knowledge is sense, it is necessary that we reduce to sense in some way all things about which we judge.’ (De Verititate, 12.3 ad. 2.)

‘All cognitive agents know God’s existence in everything they know.’ (De Veritate, 22. 2., ad. 1)

‘Truth must be the ultimate end of the whole universe, and the consideration of the wise man aims principally at truth.’ (Summa Contra Gentiles, 1.2)

‘For just as the light of the sun is the principle of all visible perception, so the divine light is the principle of all intelligble knowledge; since the divine light is that in which intelligible illumination is found first and in the highest degree.’ (Summa contra Gentiles, 10.6.) Cf. Finnegans Wake: ‘by the light of the bright reason which dayscends on us from on high’ [610.27]

‘Now, if there were an infinite regress among efficient causes, no cause would be first. Therefore, all the other causes, which are intermediate, will be suppressed. But this is manifestly false. We must, therefore, posit that there exists a first efficient cause. This is God.’ (Summa contra Gentiles, 13.33)

‘His being is His essence, so that to the question what is He, and to the question Is He, the answer is one and the same.’ (Summa contra Gentiles, 10.4)

In quantum habet esse Ei simile.’ ( Summa contra Gentiles, 2. 22.)

‘In the emergence of creatures from their first source is revealed a kind of circulation [quaedam circulatio vel regiratio] in which things return as to their end, back to the place from which they had their origin in the beginning.’ (Commentary on the Sentences, I, d. 14. 2. 2.)

See Marcia L. Colish, The Mirror of Language (1968): ‘The medieval confidence that Babel has been redeemed in the Gift of Tongues was the immediate context in which the men of this period judged, understood and pressed into action the symbolic forms of human discourse.’ (p.4.) Further, ‘redeemed language becomes a mirror, and Christian eloquence becomes both literally and figuratively, a vessel of the Spirit, bearing the Word to mankind, incorporating men into the New Convenant of Christ, and preparing them through its mediation for a face to face knowledge of God in the beatific vision.’ (Colish, p.35.)

See Rudolf Steiner’s remarks on Aquinas’s ‘truly theological theology of the Incarnation’ in The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas (1946), p. 24.

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