Aquinas's Eschatological Ethics and the Virtue of Temperance by Matthew Levering
In Aquinas's Eschatological Ethics and the Virtue of Temperance, Matthew Levering argues that Catholic ethics make sense only in light of the biblical worldview that Jesus has inaugurated the kingdom of God by pouring out his spirit. Jesus has made it possible for us to know and obey God's law for human flourishing as individuals and communities. He has reoriented our lives toward the goal of beatific communion with him in charity, which affects the exercise of the moral virtues that pertain to human flourishing.
Without the context of the inaugurated kingdom, Catholic ethics as traditionally conceived will seem like an effort to find a middle ground between legalistic rigorism and relativistic laxism, which is especially the case with the virtue of temperance, the focus of Levering's book. After an opening chapter on the eschatological/biblical character of Catholic ethics, the ensuing chapters engage Aquinas's theology of temperance in the Summa theologiae, which identifies and examines a number of virtues associated with temperance. Levering demonstrates that the theology of temperance is profoundly biblical, and that Aquinas's theology of temperance relies for its intelligibility upon Christ's inauguration of the kingdom of God as the graced fulfillment of our created nature. The book develops new vistas for scholars and students interested in moral theology.