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Voetius on the Subject and Formal Act of Happiness—A Scholastic Exercise

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Chapter Summary

Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676) is surely one of the theologians who were of particular importance for both church and school in early modern Protestantism. In this chapter, the author honors the groundbreaking work of Richard A. Muller on Reformed orthodoxy and scholasticism by looking at the exercise on the article about the "subject and formal act of happiness". This scholastic exercise deals with the debate between the Thomistic and Scotistic schools on the question whether beatitude or happiness is situated in the intellect (as Aquinas held), or the will (as Scotus argued), or in both faculties. The articulus under consideration is part of Aquinas' tract on happiness or beatitude at the beginning of the prima secundae of his Summa Theologiae. With the Franciscans, Voetius formally locates happiness either in both of the faculties or, preferably, in the will alone, since love, not knowledge, is the noblest act of an intellectual nature.

Keywords: early modern Protestantism; Gisbertus Voetius; reformed orthodoxy; Richard A. Muller; scholasticism



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