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Aquinas and the Supreme Court: Race, Gender, and the Failure of Natural Law in Thomas's Bibical Commentaries



Aquinas and the Supreme Court: Race, Gender, and the Failure of Natural Law in Thomas's Bibical Commentaries

Eugene F. Rogers Jr.

ISBN: 978-1-118-39116-7 May 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 326 Pages


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

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

"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)