In this lesson we explore the New vs. Old Law in light of our Lord's teachings in the Gospels and St. Thomas Aquinas' writings.
All CatechismClass Lessons follow our time-tested 7 Step format: Introduction, Opening Prayers, Scripture and Commentary, Catechism Passages, Integration of the Lesson Topic, an activity, and a closing prayer. Quizzes end each of the lessons.Preview This Lesson
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While continuing to meditate on Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount, we realize that much of the discussion concerns the New vs. the Old Law of Moses. Therefore, with hearts seeking to serve the Lord, let us read from the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor.
The linguistic style used by Saint Thomas and his arguments are what lawyers refer to as “closely worded.” This means that the arguments are stated in exacting language using precise wording that is not always easy to read. It also means that the writer may restate his same argument in several different ways, leading to the same conclusion. To understand a closely worded treatise, you may have to read each paragraph (or even each sentence) several times to understand the writer’s meaning.
A good way to read any closely worded argument is first to read it quickly to get a sense of what he author is saying — the premise of the argument, the objections and the rebuttal — then a second read concentrating on the wording of the objections and rebuttals set forth. Sometimes a third and even a forth reading may be necessary.
The structure of the arguments Saint Thomas uses is this:
• The BASIC PREMISE, stated as a question, upon around which the argument will revolve
• The SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS that are made to the basic premise, one objection at a time
• Thomas’s OVERALL GENERAL REBUTTAL to the OBJECTIONS
• Thomas’s SPECIFIC REBUTTALS to each SPECIFIC OBJECTION
Question 107. The new law as compared with the old
Article 1. Whether the New Law is distinct from the Old Law?
Objection 1. It would seem that the New Law is not distinct from the Old. Because both these laws were given to those who believe in God: since “without faith it is impossible to please God,” according to Hebrews 11:6. But the faith of olden times and of nowadays is the same, as the gloss says on Matthew 21:9. Therefore the law is the same also.
Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (Contra Adamant. Manich. discip. xvii) that “there is little difference between the Law and Gospel” [The ’little difference’ refers to the Latin words ’timor’ and ’amor’] — “fear and love.” But the New and Old Laws cannot be differentiated in respect of these two things: since even the Old Law comprised precepts of charity: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor” (Levit... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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