What does it mean to say that God knows something? Is there anything God does not or cannot know? How does knowledge in God differ from knowledge in us? Through this course, we will examine how St. Thomas Aquinas engages this question through those principal texts which address these issues: Summa contra Gentiles I 44-58, 63-71; Quæstiones disputatæ de Veritate 2-3; and Summa theologiæ I 14-15. We will also consider a brief selection from Thomas’s Aristotelian commentary In Peri hermeneias l. 14. Students will be expected to be able to make use of the texts in the original Latin, although vernacular translations for these texts are also available to assist in making sense of the Latin.
In addition to the primary texts which form the core and bulk of our study, we will look at some recent considerations of God’s knowledge by contemporary scholars, viz. William Lane Craig, Leo Elders, S.V.D., Peter Geach, Peter van Inwagen, Brian Shanley, O.P., Eleonore Stump, and Richard Swinburne.
Bibliography : Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles I.44-58, 63-71; Thomas Aquinas, Quæstiones disputatæ de Veritate 2-3; Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiæ I.14-15; Thomas Aquinas, In Peri hermeneias l. 14; William Lane Craig, “The Basis of Divine Foreknowledge,” “Middle Knowledge,” Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom. The Coherence of Theism: Omniscience, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History Vol. 19 (Leiden, New York, København, Köln: E.J. Brill, 1991), 226-236, 237-278; Leo J. Elders S.V.D., “The Knowledge and Life of God,” The Philosophical Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, Bd. XXVI (Leiden, New York, København, Köln: E.J. Brill, 1990), 222-248; Peter Geach, "Omnisicence and the Future," Providence and Evil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 40-66; Peter Van Inwagen, “What Does an Omniscient Being Know about the Future?,” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, vol. 1, ed. by Jonathan L. Kvanvig (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 216-230; Brian J. Shanley, O.P., “Aquinas on God’s Causal Knowledge: A Reply to Stump and Kretzmann,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 72:3 (1998), 447-457; Brian J. Shanley, O.P., “Eternal Knowledge of the Temporal in Aquinas,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 71:2 (1997), 197-224; Eleonore Stump, “Eternity and God’s Knowledge: A Reply to Shanley,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 72:3 (1998), 439-445; Eleonore StumpSwinburne, “Omniscient,” The Coherence of Theism, Revised Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 167-183.