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Neo-Thomism. The application and development of the work of Thomas Aquinas. Somewhat improperly, ‘Neo-Thomism’ is used to refer to the revival of interest in Aquinas in the 16th and 17th cents., which was inspired by the writings of Cajetan (see also THOMISM). More accurately, Neo-Thomism refers to the revival after Vatican I reinforced by Leo XIII. One approach has been to emphasize the opinions of Aquinas' commentators, explicating and systematizing these. Another (and more influential) has been to abandon scholastic method in favour of reformulating Aquinas' thought in more discursive and historical ways. Notable exponents of this latter approach have been J. Maritain and E. Gilson. Both approaches have shared Aquinas' point of departure that reason can know that God is, but that revelation is needed to know what God is. The term ‘neo-Thomism’ is also sometimes applied to those who are more usually known as Transcendental Thomists. Notable exponents of neo-Thomism in this sense have been B. Lonergan and K. Rahner.

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neo-Thomism: see Thomas Aquinas, Saint.