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Aquinas and the Supreme Court: Biblical Narratives of Jews, Gentiles and Gender

ISBN: 978-1-118-39116-7
326 pages
May 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Aquinas and the Supreme Court: Biblical Narratives of Jews, Gentiles and Gender (1118391160) cover image


This new work clarifies Aquinas’ concept of natural law through his biblical commentaries, and explores its applications to U.S. constitutional law.

  • The first time the use of Aquinas on the U.S. Supreme Court has been explored in depth, and its applications tested through a rigorous reading of the biblical commentaries
  • Shows how key judgments in the Supreme Court have rested on medieval natural law, and applies critical gender theory to discuss problems with these applications
  • Offers new research data to give a different picture of Aquinas and natural law, and a fresh take on Aquinas’ biblical commentaries
  • New research based on passages in the biblical commentaries never before available in English
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Bibliographic Note xiv

List of Abbreviations xvii

1 Aquinas on the Supreme Court – and on the Bible, or How to Read This Book 1

Part I Aquinas on the Failure of Natural Law 23

2 What Aquinas Thinks We Cannot Know 25

3 How God Moves Creatures: For and Against Natural Law 63

4 How Aquinas Reads Scripture 97

5 How the Law of Nature Is a Character in Decline 118

6 How the Narrative Sexualizes Nature’s Decline 147

Part II Aquinas on the Redemption of Natural Law 177

7 How Aquinas Gets Nature and Grace Back Together Again: Aquinas Meets Karl Barth 179

8 How Faith and Reason Follow Glory 215

9 How Aquinas Makes Nature Dynamic All the Way Down: Aquinas Meets Judith Butler 232

10 How the Spirit Moves the Law 247

11 How Natural Science Becomes a Form of Prayer 265

12 How the Semen of the Spirit Genders the Gentiles: Rereading Romans 289

Conclusion: Questions Answered and Unanswered 298

Subject Index 305

Index of Thomistic Citations 313

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Author Information

Eugene F. Rogers is Professor of Religious Studies and Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has taught at Princeton, Yale, Shaw University Divinity School, among others, and has held numerous fellowships.  He is author or editor of five books and many articles and translations. In 2010, Christian Century named his book Sexuality and the Christian Body among “essential reading” published in the past 25 years.

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"It is essential reading for any theologian engaging with Aquinas’s ethics and for any lawyer who wants to reflect on their calling after Aquinas."  (Studies in Christian Ethics, 1 November 2015)

“A “must” for the theological-college library, this is not a book that can be ignored by anyone interested in this fascinating and deeply influential Dominican.”  (Church Times, 17 January 2014)

“This book will be particularly useful for graduate students in philosophy and theology.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates and graduate students.”  (Choice, 1 November 2013)

“In this fascinating new book, Eugene Rogers shows, in an unprecedented way, how Aquinas thinks that the law of nature is discerned differently according to specific historical position and cultural belonging. A singularly crucial contribution to the developing new debate about law and religion.”—John Milbank, University of Nottingham

“In this well documented and lucidly argued book we discover that what might seem purely arcane medieval scholarship cuts decisively into matters of currently great human concern.”—Fergus Kerr, University of Edinburgh

“Rogers's detailed and erudite argument constitutes a radical challenge to the ‘new natural law theory’.  Rooted deeply in Aquinas's biblical commentaries, his book turns St. Thomas against those who would use him to defend a socially conservative agenda in American law. Rogers simply up-ends the culture wars.  Anyone interested in the relationship of religion, morality, and American law should read this book.”—M Cathleen Kaveny, University of Notre Dame

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