What can or can't God do? What flexibility is there in the precise manner by which he executes his decrees? This book is a readically new interpretation of one of the key concepts of medieval religious philosophy: the concept of the power of God. In it Dr Moonan provides a thought-provoking and illuminating analysis of the arguments advanced by the medieval schoolmen to tackle this problem, concentrating in particular on the distinction they made between 'absolute' and 'ordained' divine power. In doing so, Dr Moonan brings to light some challenging and important new insights on the work of some of the most important thinkers of the Middle Ages - particularly Albert, Bonaventure, and Aquinas. Dr Moonan also discusses the secular predecessors who influenced these theologians, hitherto, largely overlooked by modern scholars, and as well as tracing the development of their ideas, he advances the case for their relevance and central position in modern religious philosophy today.
This is a stimulating and ground-breaking book, which will not only help to clarify one of the notorious puzzles of medieval religious philosophy, but also provide an important challenge to theologians and philosophers today.
`A careful and scholarly work on the history of a small but important issue in thirteenth-century theology ... There is much of value in Moonan's work. The book is thorough, containing a huge wealth of detailed textual discussion. Moonan's treatment of texts, and his exegesis of sometimes very small passages, are exemplary: careful, scholarly, sensitive, and at the same time theologically and philosophically acute. But Moonan also has a clear overall
thesis, and displays an admirable grasp of the wider contours of the power distinction: how it fits into thirteenth-century conceptions of the nature of God and of theology. Moonan clarifies a number of
points which have long remained obscure ... Moonan has produced a captivating and challenging study of a fascinating and important area in intellectual history.'
Journal of Theological Studies
`A radically new interpretation of one of the key concepts of Medieval religious philosophy: the concept of the power of God.'
The Medieval World
`careful historical work to identify the various formulations of "the power distinction" and the rules that govern its legitimate use in medieval philosophy ... he has developed a novel but precise terminology of his own by which to assess whether a given author is using the precise distinction in question and to elucidate the more sophisticated maneuvers which this distinction requires ... fine book'
Joseph W. Koterski, S.J. Fordham University, International Philosophical Quarterly, March '98
`A complex work...for students of 13th century theology and metaphysics, it is surely required reading. For those involved in contemporary theology or philosophy of religion, it offers a challenge that ought not be left unanswered.'
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly