Meekness, Justice and Piety: The Moral Transformation of Sophie Scholl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

First I will briefly touch upon Aquinas use of moral examples inside and outside the Summa. Second I will make the argument that moral exemplars contribute to our understanding of moral action in general, and we will note earlier scholarship to making this case. Here insights from sociology corroborate the claims of theologians. Third I will present the case of Sophie Scholl and The White Rose and follow it up with a sustained reflection on her actions in light of Aquinas’ moral theory. It is particularly striking that Scholl turned against the system that initially was successful at recruiting her for its cause. This process of moral transformation is of interest because it helps us to see how the object of virtues changes. We will see that Sophie Scholl exemplifies meekness, justice and piety as they are presented in the Summa. But she arrived at this point through a process of moral transformation under the influence of friends and a renewed interest in Scripture and spiritual writings. Because her case has been well-documented in recent years we can see the personal journey of an individual believer and the case thus helps us to see the theory ‘in the flesh’, giving us a deeper appreciation of it. Her popular appeal means that presenting her as a moral exemplar is a chance to communicate to society how a person can be formed and transformed in the Christian faith through the action of the Holy Spirit.
, in: H.J.M. Schoot, J. Verburgt, J. Vijgen (ed.), Initiation and Mystagogy in Thomas Aquinas: Scriptural, Systematic, Sacramental and Moral, and Pastoral Perspectives, Leuven, Peeters, 2019, pp. 251-272
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInitiation and Mystagogy in Thomas Aquinas
Subtitle of host publicationScriptural, Systematic, Sacramental and Moral, and Pastoral Perspectives
EditorsH.J.M. Schoot, J. Verburgt, J. Vijgen
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherPeeters
Pages251-272
ISBN (Print)9789042941274
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Sophie Scholl
  • moral theology
  • Pneumatology
  • Grace
  • transformation

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