Bijdragen 58 (3):279-300 (1997)

Rudi Te Velde
Tilburg University
Contemporary theology commonly rejects the traditional 'Greek' reading of Exodus 3:14, according to which God reveals himself to Moses by the name of 'being' in favour of a more religious interpretation which sees in the name a confirmation of Gods enduring and liberating presence to his people. By means of an interpretation of Thomas Aquinas' reading of the Exodus-name in the Summa the author intends to show that Aquinas' account of the name is not guided by an exegetical and hermeneutical interest but by a propoer speculative way of questioning, which can be formulated as follows: given the fact that God reveals himself to Moses under the name of being, how can this name - in what it signifies and how it signifies - be understood as a suitable medium by which God reveals himself to man. In the Summa-text Thomas gives three arguments why the name 'being' is the most appropriate name of God. It is argued that each of these arguments relates to a different aspect of the complex structure of God-in-his-revelation-to-man. Aquinas' account of the name of being is in accord with his analysis of the divine names, in which the tension between the res significata, the reality which is signified by a name, and the modus significandi, the human way of signifying, stands central. This tension returns in his analysis of the name 'being', where it clarifies the structure of revelation as a concealing presence of God to man. The implications of Thomas' reading for the notion of revelation exhibit some interesting similarities with the modern reading of Exodus inspite of the fundamental difference in theological method
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DOI 10.1080/00062278.1997.10739677
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