A Protestant doctrine of nature and grace as illustrated by Jerome Zanchi's appropriation of Thomas Aquinas.
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Budiman, Kalvin S.
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This dissertation is an attempt to present the historical influence and significance of Thomas Aquinas’s thoughts in a particular Protestant leader in the sixteenth century, namely, Jerome Zanchi (1516-1590). The study is focused on aspects of Zanchi’s Protestant theology of nature and grace. Although he is not a “Thomist” in the strongest sense of the term, his works demonstrate a Protestant theological synthesis which has evidently been influenced by a Thomistic conceptual framework. The intent of this dissertation is to contribute to the broader ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Zanchi owes a great deal to Aristotle’s philosophy of nature and, for that matter, to the medieval Thomistic tradition. For him, the word natura, when applied to creation, always implies traces (vestigia) of God’s goodness. But it is only human beings who are said to be made in the image of God. Like Aquinas, Zanchi believes that God has so impressed natural law on the human heart that it cannot be altered by anyone or completely blotted out from the heart. But he also teaches that God’s activity in imparting the knowledge of natural law in human hearts is done before and after the fall. Still, natural law by itself is not adequate to direct us to our ultimate end, namely, our union with God. We need the law of the Spirit that effectively moves us to obedience to God. The continuity of Zanchi’s theology of grace with that of Aquinas is demonstrated through its root in Augustine. In affirming the primacy of God’s grace, Zanchi at the same time repeats Aquinas’s other core beliefs, namely, that that human was never in the state of pure nature, that the unity and solidarity of all humankind with Adam explain the universality of sin, that human’s original justice has lost in Adam. Finally, our study of Zanchi’s theology of the union with Christ brings us to Zanchi’s theology of marriage and symbolism. Under this topic, Zanchi’s appreciation of Aquinas can be seen especially in two ways: in his theory of knowledge and in his spiritual exegesis of the marriage of Adam and Eve.