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Title: Imagination and Theology in Thomas Aquinas
Author(s): BAUERSCHMIDT, Frederick Christian
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 34    Issue: 2-3   Date: 2010   
Pages: 169-184
DOI: 10.2143/LS.34.2.2118199

Abstract :
This article argues that although Aquinas’ imaginatio is not what we today would call ‘imagination’, it is not without interest and can in fact point us in a helpful direction in doing theology. To support this position, the article first presents Aquinas’ understanding of imaginatio in the context of his discussion of the inner senses. It then develops how the imaginatio, when taken together with the other inner senses, has a crucial role in the conceptual grasping of the world. Next, the article articulates the imaginatio’s role in our attempt to grasp non-material realities, even the reality of God. Finally, the article defends the view that Aquinas’ theological practice is original and imaginative when one understands that the true originality of the theological imagination is found not in novel doctrine, but in the ability, after reflection, to turn back to the tradition of the Church in order to see it and think it anew.

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