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Inaugural Lecture delivered by Prof.dr. Henk Schoot

Two days before the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Henk J.M. Schoot has delivered his inaugural lecture as professor on the Chair for Theology of Thomas Aquinas, entitled: 'Holy, holy, holy'. This chair was newly founded at the faculty of Catholic Theology at Utrecht (Tilburg University), and is an initiative of the Thomas Foundation.
Henk Schoot delivered his inaugural lecture at Utrecht on 26 January 2007, surrounded by professors of theology of the Faculty of Catholic Theology and the Department of Religious Studies and Theology of Tilburg University and in front of students, collegues of other academic institutions, teachers and students of the college for the training of deacons in the archdiocese of Utrecht, friends and family.

The lecture is intending to be a plea for understanding theology as a sacred doctrine. Aquinas explains the chant Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, the central part of the Eucharistic prayer, as a prayer addressing the fundamental mystery of the Incarnation, i.e. Christ being divine and human in one person.

The prophet Isaias, from whom these words are borrowed, shows that speaking of Him can be a precarious undertaking - his lips are burnt -, and presupposes a vocation. Moreover, in Aquinas' understanding theology is built upon sacred revelation, considered as a kind of wisdom which God pours out like rain from on high, and is transmitted by teachers, likened to mountains, to bear fruit in the valleys, as he says in his own inaugural lecture from 1256.

Schoot explored the themes of sanctity and grace, in relation to the Holy One, as a biblical and traditional name of Christ. The central place Christ occupies in Aquinas' theology, is shown to be relevant for his conception of theology, which fits in with theology focussing on the so-called nexus mysteriorum, the bond between the mysteries of faith. Schoot discussed Aquinas' inaugural lecture against this background, and translated some of his fundamental insights to the postmodern need for a theology which understands itself to be sacred.

Review in Dutch in Friesch Dagblad 29-01-07