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The Promise of Christian Humanism

Thomas Aquinas on Hope

Author(s): Dominic Doyle

ISBN13: 9780824524692

ISBN10: 0824524691

Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Company (May 2012)

Extent: 236 pages

Binding: Paperback

Size: 22.6 x 15 x 1.8 cm

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  • How can we care about this world and the pain of others when we also look towards the transcendence and salvation of the afterlife? This award-winning book offers an answer to this profound and polarizing question, bringing unity to contemporary humanism and the blessing of Christian hope.


    Honored by the John Templeton Foundation, this work will be of great interest to many readers including secular intellectuals and students of Christian theology.


    Table of Contents



    Hope And Christian Humanism
    1. The Renewal Of Christian Humanism: Charles Taylor And Nicholas Boyle
    2. The Sources Of Christian Humanism: The Problem And A Proposal
    3. Presuppositions Of Aquinas’s Doctrine Of Hope
    4. Aquinas On Hope
    5. Hope And Religious Transcendence
    6. Hope And The Present Human Good
    The Humanism Of Hope

  • Dominic Doyle

    Dominic Doyle is an assistant professor of theology at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry. A graduate of the University of Cambridge and Harvard Divinity School, he received his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. His writing has appeared in Theological StudiesGregorianumIrish Theological Quarterly, and Studies in Spirituality. His theological interests include theology of culture, doctrine of God, and theological anthropology.


    Dominic has received a number of awards, including a John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, the Catholic Theological Society of America's Catherine LaCugna Award to New Scholars, and an Analytic Theology Course Award from the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy and Religion. He has also participated in the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies' Generation in Dialogue Program with Bernard McGinn and in a Wabash Center Workshop on Teaching and Learning. He is presently working on a book on the relationship between positive psychology and the theological virtues. A native of the United Kingdom, he lives in Boston with his wife, Tracy.

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    Doyle exposes in masterful fashion how Christian hope, operating on the concupiscent passions and the will and basing itself on faith in a reality 'beyond' the scope of natural reason, can alone sustain the enterprise of bringing God’s providential plan for the full development of his creation to completion, because only Christian hope is prepared ahead of time to accept the setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations of a world hemmed in with limitations and sin, by living out this dedication in the cruciform pattern of its Master. Applauding but finding limitations in the outward-turning Christianity of Charles Taylor and Nicholas Boyle, Doyle bases himself rather on the future-oriented stance of John Courtney Murray and Jacques Maritain. Doyle builds on but creatively extends Aquinas’ discussion of the theological virtues, seeing faith, hope, and charity as the potency, motion, and act of a single human process of development and conversion, culminating in a contemplative attainment and union with God that turns back and nourishes the other virtues and leads the individual to 'act as Christ would act' in every situation, for the full development and transformation of the world.  

     - Patrick Madigan, Heythrop College


    Does hope in a transcendent God help or hinder human flourishing in the world?’ In this impressively lucid and wide-ranging study, Dominic Doyle explores some of the ways in which contemporary Christian humanism, drawing on Thomas Aquinas' treatment of the virtue of hope, may respond to this question by seeking congruence between faith and reason, Christianity and culture.

      - Nicholas Lash, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Cambridge


    Dominic Doyle's The Promise of Christian Humanism presents a lively and learned discussion of the most important topic of theological reflection in the present age—our understanding of God's relation to humanity. Doyle's reading of the Thomistic contribution to Christian humanism is at once deeply rooted in the theological tradition and at the same time conversant with contemporary intellectual currents in Europe and North America. Every reader will find instructive Doyle's incisive reading of hope as the virtue most needed today. His penetrating reading of the relation between Christ and culture is fair-minded, intellectually rigorous, and challenging to readers from a variety of intellectual perspectives. This is a book that is a must-read for serious theologians, philosophers, and ethicists.

     - Stephen Pope, Boston College


    Dominic Doyle brings Charles Taylor and Nicholas Boyle into conversation with Thomas Aquinas (and Benedict XVI)  to help us see how authentic hope must be a theological virtue:  hope in the redeeming presence of the One through whom the world is created.  As we may be overwhelmed daily by the failure of human promise, Doyle’s analysis shows us a rich alternative to despair.

     - David Burrell, C.S.C., Hesburgh Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame


The Promise of Christian Humanism