The Passio Corporalis and the Passio Animalis in Aquinas

Matthew Dugandzic 1
  • 1 St. Mary’s Seminary and University, , Baltimore


Contemporary discussions of Aquinas’ understanding of the passions often mention the passio corporalis and the passio animalis, but no recent scholarship has paid close attention to what these terms mean, largely because many scholars wrongly assume that ‘passio animalis’ simply means the same thing as ‘passio animae’. However, this paper argues that ‘passio corporalis’ and ‘passio animalis’ are specialized terms that Aquinas uses in order to explain the ways in which Christ experienced suffering on earth. Furthermore, understanding these terms properly bears important implications for understanding the development of Aquinas’ thought on the passion of pain.

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