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Ab Uno Simplici Non Est Nisi Unum: The Place Of Natural And Necessary Emanation In Aquinas's Doctrine Of Creation

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Chapter Summary

Thomas insists that God could have made eternal creatures. In consequence, the Genesis images which seem to require a temporal beginning of creation do not describe for him what is logically necessary to its notion absolutely. This chapter looks at the use of ‘emanationist’ principle Ab uno simplici non est nisi unum by some Islamic, Jewish, and Christian thinkers from al-Farabi to Aquinas. Author’s treatment of necessity and freedom in emanation and creation is centred on how a group who identified themselves with ‘Peripatetics’ set up a conflict which Aquinas avoided, or, better, which Aquinas overcame by placing the opposed modalities in different places in his system. The chapter closes by reminding one of the many places where Maimonides and Aquinas stand together: their opposition to the attempts by theologians to demonstrate a temporal beginning of creation. For Aquinas creation was neither exclusively a Biblical nor characteristically a medieval doctrine.

Keywords: Ab Uno Simplici Non Est Nisi Unum; Christian thinkers; doctrine of Creation; emanation; Genesis; Jewish; Moses Maimonides; Peripatetics; Thomas Aquinas

10.1163/ej.9789004156197.i-460.73
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004156197.i-460.73
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