Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth, though separated by hundreds of years, are often taken as two of Christianity’s greatest theologians. This collection of essays undertakes a systematic comparison of them through the lens of five key topics: (1) the being of God, (2) Trinity, (3) Christology, (4) grace and justification, and (5) covenant and law. Under each of these headings, a Catholic portrait of Aquinas is presented in comparison with a Protestant portrait of Barth, with the theological places of convergence and contrast highlighted. This volume combines a deep commitment to systematic theology with an equally profound commitment to mutual engagement. Understood rightly and well, Aquinas and Barth contribute powerfully to the future of theology and to an ecumenism that takes doctrinal confession seriously while at the same time seeking unity among Christians.
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Common theological reflection on God and the gospel, hindered by compromise and intransigence alike, is best promoted by the virtues of learning, generosity, attentiveness and charity, all of which are manifest in the distinguished essays collected in this book. They form a rare example of the demanding and much-needed art of theological diplomacy.
—John Webster, professor, University of St. Andrews
It must be acknowledged that White’s brilliant introduction is alone worth the cost of the volume. Add to this an array of richly developed essays by leading Protestant and Catholic scholars, treating the central domains of theology, and one has a book that will stand as a touchstone of ecumenical dialogue for years to come.
—Matthew Levering, Perry Family Foundation Professor of Theology, University of Saint Mary of the Lake
Remarkable points of convergence combine with strong disagreements throughout the dialogue of this volume. Invariably, however, the reader will find illuminating precision in the delineation of theological issues in these erudite essays. By rigorously examining and comparing Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth—the two preeminent representatives of Catholic and Reformed thought—this book makes a profound contribution to genuine ecumenical dialogue.
—Hans Boersma, J.I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College
This is a delightful and stimulating book, full of careful exegesis of two of the most profound theologians ever to have written. Barth and Aquinas are often caricatured or expounded in such a way as to blunt their thought. Not here. Here their thought is at work in its fullness, and in genuine and lively debate. The result is a surprising degree of rapprochement, but also the sharpening and deepening of some old disagreements. Above all, what’s here is good theological thinking done with passion. There’s no higher praise.
—Paul J. Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Thought, Duke Divinity School
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Thomas Joseph White is director of the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.
Bruce L. McCormack is Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.