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Wisdom, Law, and VirtueEssays in Thomistic Ethics$
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Lawrence Dewan

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227969

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823227969.001.0001

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“Obiectum”: Notes on the Invention of a Word

“Obiectum”: Notes on the Invention of a Word

(p.403) Chapter 26 “Obiectum”: Notes on the Invention of a Word
Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Lawrence Dewan

Fordham University Press

The importance for theology, at least from the mid-13th century onward, of the Latin word “obiectum, -i”—a substantive meaning the object of a power—is easily shown. The word figures prominently in St. Thomas Aquinas's explanation of the beatitude promised to man as the goal of life. And it is accordingly used to explain the nature of Christian charity: charity is the love of God, that is, the love one has for God, considering God not merely as the author of natural reality but as the obiectum of supernatural beatitude. This chapter investigates the invention of this word. It first looks at the entries in some dictionaries. It then examines the two earliest texts in which the word is used in a fairly elaborate way. Finally, it considers some of the background indicated by these earliest uses.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, obiectum, beatitude, power, Christian charity

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