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Eugene F. Rogers
University of North Carolina, Greensboro (Greensboro, NC 27412-5068)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 6/30/2012

Thomas Aquinas's Biblical Commentaries and the U.S. Supreme Court

Rival accounts of what's 'natural' for human morality still cite the 13th C. system of Thomas Aquinas--even on the Supreme Court. But all accounts ignore his biblical commentaries, which reveal something far stranger: the commentaries embed all law, even natural law, in a sexually charged story of decline by specific ethnic groups Jews and Gentiles--gendered in changing ways. The courts need natural law to be unchanging, universal, and neutral on ethnicity, gender, and religion. Aquinas's own commentaries make it none of those. My method is simple, but has hardly been tried: When Aquinas's systematic works quote the Bible, I read his own commentary on the verses he cites. With an NEH, I would draw eight essays into a coherent book--under advance contract from Blackwell--with wide implications for lawyers, judges, and scholars in humanities and law. Each chapter reads the commentaries to make Aquinas's natural law reasoning more difficult for secular courts to use.