Happiness in Thomas Aquinas
On 2 July 2003 Stefan Gradl, guest-researcher at the Thomas Instituut, successfully defended his doctoral thesis on Happiness in Thomas Aquinas at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany). At the Thomas Instituut he is the third doctorandus in a row to obtain a PhD in the summer of 2003!Stefan Gradl did not only have to defend his thesis in front of a commission. He also had to prepare two other subjects in the areas of Church History and Practical Theology for his 'Rigorosum'-exam, a special requirement for doctoral candidates in German academia. Nevertheless, Stefan Gradl defended his thesis and also passed the 'Rigorosum' with excellent results.
His thesis is titled Deus beatitudo hominis. Eine evangelische Annäherung an die Glückslehre des Thomas von Aquin:
'All people pursue happiness.' Hardly anyone will contradict this idea. However, human happiness is an unresearched and forgotten theme within protestant theology. The aim of the underlying study is to fill this gap. Therefore the one theologian is discussed in whose thinking human happiness plays a central role: Thomas Aquinas.
Gradl's study provides an overview of recent and current research into this topic and of the possibilities and difficulties of lutheran reception of Aquinas's theology. Subsequently, the doctrine of beatitudo in the context of the Summa Theologiae is being discussed. As a result, a number of criteria have been formulated about the extent to which one can speak of human happiness in a theologically responsible way at this day and age.
In autumn Stefan's thesis will be published as the tenth volume in the Publications of the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht series under the title Deus beatitudo hominis. Eine evangelische Annäherung an die Glückslehre des Thomas von Aquin.