Review Of "Aquinas And The Jews" By J. Y. B. Hood

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This is a fascinating, amply documented, and well-written examination of St. Thomas's views on Judaism and the Jews. It is a particularly significant study because St. Thomas, although not an innovator, is more thorough than other medieval thinkers in faithfully reflecting the theological tradition while attempting to reconcile its seeming contradictions. Examples of the latter are that the Jews are a chosen people, yet they reject Christ as the Messiah; the New Testament asserts that the Jews of Jerusalem did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, yet the Patristic tradition considered them guilty of killing the Messiah; and finally, all Jews are to be saved, yet they were considered to be dangerous infidels and rejected by God. Though attempting to reconcile these paradoxes, Aquinas placed himself squarely in the tradition of toleration deriving from Paul and Augustine. Hood argues that, contrary to what has often been supposed, Aquinas contributed only incidentally to the persecutions of the 14th century, in that the reasons he gave in support of toleration were not strong enough to withstand the growing animosity toward the Jews. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate; graduate; faculty.


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