Rediscovering the Roots of Western Culture and Civilization
Concept of Law in Thomas Aquinas
STEP is an
international multi-language cultural project on Thomas Aquinas’s
concept of law, which is being co-financed by the European
Commission and co-organized by:
following cultural and academic institutions congratulated
this project and offered their collaboration to its scientific
aims to enhance and enrich the cultural
debate on the foundation of political community, on the relationship
between law and morals, and on the cultural patrimony of Western
civilization by focusing on the concept of law as developed
by Thomas Aquinas.
the public debate on the common values and cultural patrimony
of Western civilization flared up recently, especially after
the monetary union was established and the constitution of
the European Union was drafted and approved. The process of
Europe’s political unification is currently moving so quickly
that it is difficult to identify and maintain clear foundational
principles to guide it. This is unfortunate because politics
is strong and healthy when culture adequately supports and
orients its activities.
the ongoing and very fruitful debate on liberalism and multiculturalism
keeps raising the question about the relevance of tradition
to the foundation of political community. What is the real
ground of political community, consent or tradition? What
values should be part of political discussion and action?
Can a political community be neutral to the values and history
of its own civilization? Some modern trends of the US Supreme
Court’s jurisprudence would seem to be opposed to basic principles
of the Nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence,
especially the references to God as the basic ground of the
inalienable rights of the human person.
has been one of the most influential authors in the European
culture both during the middle age and during the modern age;
today his work is also a subject of renewed interest in America,
especially in the United States. As far as the current debate
is concerned, one of the most interesting features of Aquinas’s
philosophy of law and political philosophy is the intrinsic
connection between the concept of law and the ideals that
a sound political community should pursue.
pursues its goal
by means of three international
conferences: respectively, in Barcelona, in Budapest and in
by making freely available
on this website both Aquinas’s Treatise on Law and a number
of essays related to it in English, Hungarian, Italian, and
on Law will also be made available in its original language
(Latin). The essays will be solicited from leading scholars
in the disciplines relevant to Aquinas’s concept of law, such
as ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of law, political, legal
and economic theory, and theology. These scholars will be
asked to focus particularly on the questions that make Aquinas’s
thought interesting for the contemporary public debate. The
present website will include biographical and bibliographical
information, and useful links as well.
who take part in the project will not necessarily belong to
the institutions that promote it. These institutions and scholars
will actively collaborate both in carrying out a critical
work on the text of the Treatise on Law in the four languages
involved in the project and in discussing the many issues
covered by the essays.
will greatly facilitate and improve the scientific debate
and exchange between the European and the American scientific
communities. The scientific debate that will accompany and
follow the project will positively contribute to the worldwide
public debate in political, ethical and legal theory.
this scientific work on Aquinas’s concept of law will greatly
contribute to the rediscovery and promotion of the study and
thought of one of the most important sources of Western culture.
Needless to say, this recovery of the roots of Western culture
is a high priority for both the United States and Europe.
People without a past are people without a future.
student, and professional in law, economics, politics, etc.,
will benefit from the material available on the website. More
generally, the public debate both national and international,
will benefit from this specialized study of Aquinas’s concept
of law and its relevance to the contemporary world.