Yesterday in my Philosophy of Law class at NC State, I learned some very important things. The course’s objective is to better answer the question “what is law?” through readings of philosophers and court cases, and discussion of legal issues. The class assignment due yesterday was a reading of an excerpt of Aquinas’ Summa Theologica that dealt specifically with law.
As the class was going over the reading and taking notes, my professor made an interesting comment. She said that she removed from the text that she had given us to read many references to God and to “Aquinas’ theology”.
Puzzled, I raised my hand, wondering why a philosophy professor would remove references to God and to theology from a work by a theologian titled “Summary of Theology.”
My professor replied that what she refers to as “Aquinas’ theology” is not relevant to our class’s study of law and Aquinas’ answer to the question “what is law?”. She said that we only need to study his thoughts on law and the parts of the text that she removed were not necessary to our understanding of Aquinas’ thoughts.
This made me wonder–how can we separate God and theology from Aquinas’ writing?