The good news, and the main reason for this post, is to announce the publication of another volume in the series, namely, St. Thomas's majestic Commentary on the Book of Job. The Aquinas Institute's policy with respect to scriptural commentaries is always to include a critical edition of the biblical text in Greek (either Septuagint or NT), the Latin Vulgate, and the English Douay-Rheims. The translator, Fr. Brian Thomas Becket Mullady, OP, has also contributed a fine introduction.
My colleague at Wyoming Catholic College and co-worker for the Aquinas Institute, Dr. Jeremy Holmes (who has also contributed guest posts to NLM), wrote up an informative piece about the theological originality and importance of this commentary. Here is an excerpt:
It is commonly said that Thomas Aquinas wrote commentaries on Scripture. But the claim is liable to misunderstanding: in our day, biblical scholars write commentaries on Scripture while theologians write monographs about theology. St. Thomas would have found this division of labor interesting in theory but odd in practice, because his job as a medieval university master was to teach theology to the most advanced students by lecturing on a book of the Bible. He lectured on Scripture in class, wrote theological treatises at home, and did theology all the time.The Commentary on Job is available from Amazon.
When St. Thomas was named lector for the priory at Orvieto, he was expected to expound a book of Scripture for the brethren. He had already begun work on Book III of the Summa contra gentiles, on divine providence, so to keep his work focused he looked for a book of Scripture that would allow him to lecture on divine providence. Where to turn?
His clue came from Maimonides, who devoted two chapters of his Guide of the Perplexed to the book of Job. According to this venerable Jewish teacher, Job was written to explain the various opinions people hold about divine providence. Literal exposition of the book of Job was rare in the Christian tradition, but St. Thomas saw this as an opportunity to fill a gap. And so he set out to teach his fellow Dominicans about divine providence via the book of Job, declaring that “The whole intention of this book is directed to this: to show that human affairs are ruled by divine providence using probable arguments.”
For today’s students of St. Thomas, this was a stroke of luck. Everyone knows that the artist flourishes under constraint: the poet’s creativity is unlocked, not diminished, by a rigid sonnet structure; the architect’s brilliance emerges especially under the demands of an unusual terrain; the painter’s genius rises to the challenge of a fresco where ceiling and walls dictate the contours. The same is true of a theologian. It is one thing to compose a treatise on divine providence in the open spaces of unshackled speculative reason; it is quite another thing to teach about divine providence through respectful engagement with the complicated, pungent, and often obscure poetry of Job.
The result is one of St. Thomas’s most lyrical works, a book Jean-Pierre Torrell describes as “beautiful.” The dramatic situation and the nooks and crannies of the poetry elicit insights from St. Thomas that might never have come up any other way.