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Title: Thomism in John Owen
Author: Cleveland, Christopher Harold
ISNI:       0000 0000 0255 0664
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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The secondary literature on Protestant scholasticism has undergone a seismic shift in recent years as scholars have moved away from the ‘Calvin against the Calvinists’ approach towards an approach that recognizes the importance of Reformed orthodox figures in their own context. One such figure is John Owen, who in his scholastic training at Oxford was exposed to the thought of Thomas Aquinas and the school of Thomism. Owen’s writings demonstrate a profound proficiency in Thomistic thought from his earliest writings until shortly before his death. Owen first of all demonstrates his debt to the Thomistic conception of God as pure act of being. This concept has relevance for divine simplicity and causality in three of Owen’s works: Display of Arminianism, Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance, and Vindiciae Evangelicae. Owen uses this concept to argue against what he sees as semi-Pelagian and Socinian understandings of God. Second, Owen uses the Thomistic understanding of infused habits and virtues in his development of the work of the Holy Spirit. In his works Communion with God and Discourse on the Holy Spirit, Owen demonstrates his dependence upon the Thomistic understanding of a habit of grace as something that is infused into the soul by God, not acquired by human action. This habit is given in regeneration and cultivated in sanctification. However, Owen clearly demonstrates his disagreements with Thomas on the role of infused habits in justification in his work Justification by Faith. Third, Owen demonstrates the influence of Thomistic Christology in his work Christologia. There Owen uses the Thomistic understanding of the hypostatic union in order to present a speculative basis for the practical acts of worship and adoration to Christ. Owen’s use of Thomism is both Augustinian and Trinitarian, and is an appropriate model for further Western theological reflection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available