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Sheer Joy

Conversations with Thomas Aquinas On Creation Spirituality

 
(This new edition is available for pre-order and will ship in May).

In this groundbreaking book Fox presents sides to Thomas Aquinas that have never been seen before. The series of four “conversations,” are based on the four paths of creation spirituality. Fox translates many works that have never before been translated into English, French or German. The series of four “conversations,” are based on the four paths of creation spirituality: Via Positiva (awe and wonderment), Via Negativa (silence, darkness and suffering), Via Creativa (imagination and creativity), and Via Transformativa (justice and compassion).

Fox states in the Introduction to this book, “In this book I attempt a way of making Aquinas accessible, giving him a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. I present Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form that I believe allows late twentieth-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way… I descholasticize Aquinas by interviewing him. By interviewing Aquinas I am able to ask him OUR questions and allow him access to OUR pressing issues in spirituality.”

Yet every word of Aquinas is his own. As quoted by Fox, Aquinas is a virtual advocate of panentheism, holistic healing, and of course Creation Spirituality. Why is this presentation of St. Thomas so different from “traditional” portrayals? Fox writes, “To recover Aquinas’s whole spirituality we must get back to his scriptural works because in them he is less restricted by a scholastic methodology than in his other works. Following the inner logic of the biblical text, he is free to make connections, let his creative genius work, and allow his heart as well as his head to speak.”
 

 

 
A Foreword is written by scientist Rupert Sheldrake and an Afterword by the late monk Fr. Bede Griffiths. “Seizing Aquinas by scapular and capuche, Fox hauls him point by point through the fundamental issues of our day. The introduction is the finest thing on Aquinas I have ever read. It picks him up where Pieper and Chenu left him at mid-century and lifts him bodily through the paradigm shift into the new millennium.” – William Everson (former Brother Antoninus) author of The Integral Years and The Residual Years.

“Fox is doing us a great service by presenting us the best of Aquinas and doing Brother Thomas a service by making him live again.” – The National Catholic

“In this book Matthew Fox, in the light of his creation spirituality and his theology of the Cosmic Christ, has succeeded in restoring Aquinas to a central place in theology today. By placing the theology of Aquinas in the context of the Four Ways of the spiritual life, …he has given it new meaning for the world today….In this book the teaching of Aquinas comes through with a fullness and an insight that has never been presented in English before, and that moreover is shown to have a vital message for the world today…..Sheer Joy is a work of major importance not only for the church and the Dominican order but also for the wider world, which is looking for a philosophy that can act as a guide in the moral, social, and political problems of the world today…. – Father Bede Griffiths, OSB

“Seizing Aquinas by scapular and capuche, Fox hauls him point by point through the fundamental issues of our day. The introduction is the finest thing on Aquinas I have ever read. It picks him up where Pieper and Chenu left him at mid-century and lifts him bodily through the paradigm shift into the new millennium.” – Bill Everson, author of Naked Heart: Talking on Poetry, Mysticism, and the Erotic

“Until now, Aquinas’ insights have been buried in dusty comes, some still only in Latin. They have also been hidden behind a fog of scholastic and neo scholastic commentary and interpretation surviving him in very restricted habitats, such as Roman catholic seminaries. This book changes all that. Matthew Fox allows Aquinas to speak for himself, and at the same time the dialogue form enables the relevance of what he says to come cross with great clarity. After more than seven centuries, we can meet Aquinas again and hear what he has to say to us. I find that he has a lot to say to me. As a biologist, I especially like his strong sense of the spontaneity of life….I am finding this book a source of joy and inspiration. I am sure that many others will too.” – Rupert Sheldrake, author of The Rebirth of Nature and Science Set Free.

“The sheer joy of the shared commitment of Aquinas and Fox to creation spirituality is contagious and pervades almost every page of this big volume. Fox is doing us a great service by presenting us the best of Aquinas and doing Brother Thomas a service by making him live again.” – National Catholic Reporter

“This is an important book and will give much pleasure to those looking for deeper and richer philosophy.” — The Bloomsbury Review
 

Review & Commentary