By Arthur Sidgwick
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Additional info for A first Greek writer : with exercises and vocabularies
55 Nevertheless, academic theology took a pragmatic approach to morality comparable to that with which medieval people would have been familiar from penitential and pastoral practice, and therefore Aquinas serves as another touchstone for the possibility and even desirability of casuistic ethics in the later Middle Ages. Moral cases are in Aquinas’s account highly variable – no less than “infinitely diversified,” as he says in his exposition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics56 – and so it is imperative to exercise caution and circumspection whenever moral judgements are made.
Aquinas divides the mental labour of the conscience between synderesis and conscientia: the former is infallible and contains the indemonstrable first principles of morality, but in itself synderesis remains ineffectual; conscientia is fallible, but proves necessary for the proper application of first principles to cases. 58 55 The Nicomachean Ethics is by far the most cited of Aristotle’s works in Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae, and it forms the basis of his exposition of ethics in the moral part of the Summa and of his Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics; see Mark D.
In Richard of Thetford’s Ars predicandi the exemplum is counted among the “modes of reasoning in preaching,”48 and in general such handbooks commend the rhetoric as memorable, pleasing, and edifying or moving. 49 These often anonymous works were variously alphabetized, indexed, cross-referenced, and rubricated in an effort to facilitate 46 Summula of the Synod of the Diocese of Exeter, as translated in Shinners and Dohar, Pastors and the Care of Souls, p. 178. The circumstantiae used by priest and penitent in the interrogation of conscience are the same ones epitomized in the mnemonic distich of the rhetors.