Letters | But Was Aquinas Right?

Readers Write

In “Doubting Thomas?” (August 15) Brian Davies challenges my review of Denys Turner’s new book Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait, often on the grounds that I am mistaken in my “account of Aquinas.” For me to argue with Davies about what Aquinas meant would be like a Little Leaguer trying to hit against a World Series MVP pitcher. The opening paragraph of my review made it clear that I am not a historian of medieval philosophy and so would have nothing to say about what Aquinas thought. Instead, I wrote, I would only discuss the views that Turner (another MVP whose fastball I could never handle) attributes to Aquinas. Davies’s criticisms of the “account of Aquinas” I discussed should be directed to Turner. Unfortunately, he continually assumes that Turner’s interpretations are mine. At one point he even attributes to me a crucial phrase (about Aquinas on the Trinity) that I quoted directly from Turner.

Sometimes, however, Davies responds to my criticism of a position he thinks Aquinas really does hold. My criticisms typically claim that Aquinas’s position—as Turner presents it—has unacceptable consequences. For example, I say that his claim that all talk of God is analogous implies that assertions such as “God is good” have no clear meaning...

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