The Concept of Salvation in the Perspectives of Thomas Aquinas and Śankara
PART I: From Bondage to Salvation 7
7 PART I: From Bondage to Salvation The word ‘bondage’ has a universal application. A person can be spiritually, physically, psychologically, mentally or even politically bound. The spiritual dimension of the term bondage has been one of the major concerns of all religions. In Christian theology the term bondage is better expressed by the concept of sin. Many of the religious leaders and thinkers ended up at the fact that it is ultimately sin and its after-effects that make human life bound and miserable. To free oneself from sin is to free oneself from bondage. It is in this context of seeking a way for being freed from the consequences of sin that the different religions and theologians refer to the concept of ‘salvation’. And in this first part of our study, we devote two chapters to discuss, in detail, the concept of salvation from the points of view of two thinkers. The whole study concentrates itself on the teachings of Aquinas and Śaïkara, for among the many great teachers of Advaita Vedanta’s venerable tradition, Śaïkara is the one most familiar to Christian theologians and contemplatives seeking to grasp the meaning and significance of Hindu teaching on non-duality for Christian theology and spirituality.1 In the first chapter an attempt is made to explain the concept as it is developed in the thought pattern of Thomas Aquinas, the great scholastic theologian of the Middle Ages. The second chapter discusses at length the concept salvation in the philosophy of Śa...
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