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Ceremonial Law: History Of A Philosophical-Political Concept

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Chapter Summary

Ceremonial and judicial precepts derive their binding force "not from reason alone, but by virtue of their institution". The distinction is very important because it introduces the category of the "institution," which gives both philosophical and political expression to Thomas's unconcealed goal of demonstrating the historical contingency of Jewish judicial and ceremonial law. The judicialia and the caeremonalia are considered as having unquestionably been handed down in a particular historical context. By making this distinction, Thomas of Aquinas makes it clear that judicial and ceremonial laws point forward to the coming of Christ, who brought them to fulfillment, while natural law is a product of reason. While Jews and Catholics follow ritual (ceremonial) laws, they do not have any foundation in revealed biblical law, which Christ has fulfilled.

Keywords: ceremonial law; Christ; Jewish rites; Thomas of Aquinas



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