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St. Thomas Aquinas

Dominican philosopher and theologian, "Doctor Angelicus"

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Summary

Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Roman Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus (Angelic Doctor), Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis. "Aquinas" is not a surname, but is a Latin demonym for a resident of Aquino, his place of birth. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism.

Born
Died
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Importance
January 28, 1225
Castle of Roccasecca, near Aquino, Italy
March 7, 1274
Fossanova Abbey, Lazio, Italy
Aristotle, Catholic Church, Early works, Ethics, History
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Importance is calculated using the length of this author's Wikipedia entry, as well as the number of works by and about this author.
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Biography

 St. Thomas Aquinas
Source: Wikipedia

St. Thomas Aquinas was born in Aquino, a town in southern Italy from which he takes his surname. In his masterwork, Summa Theologica, he represents the pinnacle of scholasticism, the philosophical and theological school that flourished between 1100 and 1500 and attempted to reconcile faith with reason and the works of Aristotle with the scriptures.

The family of Thomas Aquinas was a noble one, his parents, the Count of Aquino and Countess of Teano, were related to Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, as well as to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and France. During his early education, Thomas exhibited great acumen in the medieval trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Because of his high birth, Thomas' entry into the Dominican order in the early 1240s was very surprising. His family employed various means to dissuade him from his vocation, including imprisoning him for two years.

After a stint as a student in Paris, Thomas made his way to Cologne to teach, receiving ordination to the priesthood in 1250. Soon after this, he was assigned to teach at Paris, where he also worked toward his degree of Doctor of Theology, which he received in 1257, with his friend St. Bonaventure, after some intramural political difficulty. The remainder of his life was spent in prayer, study, and writing his great Summa Theologica, a systematic attempt to present the findings of scholasticism. Although Thomas is sometimes perceived simply as an analytical and methodical writer, he was, especially in his later years, given to periods of mystical ecstasy. During one such experience, on December 6, 1273, he resigned from his writing project, indicating that he had perceived such wonders that his previous work seemed worthless.

The Summa Theologica was left unfinished, proceeding only as far as the ninetieth question of the third part. St. Thomas Aquinas died a few months later, on March 7, 1274. He was canonized in 1323 by John XXII. Although interest in Scholasticism in general and Thomism in particular waned during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Leo XIII's encyclicai Aeterni Patris in 1889 reestablished Thomism as the leading theological school of the Catholic church. Today, Thomist theology stands at the center of the Roman Catholic tradition.

This text copyright 1997, Mark Browning. Permission is granted for all noncommercial use of this article.

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Works by St. Thomas Aquinas

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External Work.
15 editions published.

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5 editions published.

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External Work.
15 editions published.

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Catena Aurea, or "Golden Chain," is a unique style of biblical commentary comprised of fragments from other existing commentaries. Aquinas' Gospel of Matthew features the teachings of St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Ambrose, The Venerable St. Bede, and other Church Fathers. Chapter by chapter, Aquinas draws together the biblical reflections of these great historical figures to create a continuous commentary on the Book of Matthew. This eight volume set was commissioned by Pope Urban IV in hopes that it would bring the Church a deeper understand of the early Christian faith. Aquinas' commentaries are excellent resources for biblical study because they contain a wealth of valuable references.

Catena Aurea, or "Golden Chain," is a unique style of biblical commentary comprised of fragments from other existing commentaries. Aquinas' Gospel of Matthew features the teachings of St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Ambrose, The Venerable St. Bede, and other Church Fathers. Chapter by chapter, Aquinas draws together the biblical reflections of these great historical figures to create a continuous commentary on the Book of Matthew. This eight volume set was commissioned by Pope Urban IV in hopes that it would bring the Church a deeper understand of the early Christian faith. Aquinas' commentaries are excellent resources for biblical study because they contain a wealth of valuable references.

External Work.
92 editions published.

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External Work.
53 editions published.

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External Work.
35 editions published.

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External Work.
93 editions published.

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External Work.
63 editions published.

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External Work.
69 editions published.

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External Work.
193 editions published.

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External Work.
54 editions published.

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External Work.
8 editions published.

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External Work.
97 editions published.

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This selection from Aquinas' magnum opus, the Summa Theologica, covers the great Catholic philosopher's words on the nature of God, the nature of sin, and how God's grace sanctifies and transforms the lives of Christians. Concerning the nature of God, this selection includes Aquinas' arguments for God's existence, his description of God's metaphysical attributes, and his exploration of how God interacts with creation and the people who inhabit it. In the portion of the selection focusing on sin, Aquinas asks and answers the questions of what sin is and how it affects human beings. The selection's last portion presents Aquinas' thoughts on sin's remedy, God's grace. For those seeking Aquinas' insight on the topics here presented, this selection may prove a less cumbersome and more streamlined alternative to the entire Summa.

This version of Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles contains the annotations of Joseph Rickaby, early 20th century Jesuit priest and philosopher, alongside the main text. Aquinas meant his treatise to serve as an apologetics handbook for missionaries and philosophers defending the Christian faith against those outside of or hostile to Christianity. The style and content of Aquinas’ arguments were particularly relevant to his time. The major religious communities in close proximity to the Christian West— Jewish and Islamic—had developed their various theological views using borrowed terms and ideas from Aristotelian philosophy just as Aquinas himself had. Readers have found Rickaby’s annotations helpful, as his comments strive to enrich the understanding of others rather than promote a particular philosophical agenda.

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29 editions published.

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External Work.
24 editions published.

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31 editions published.

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External Work.
457 editions published.

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Written from 1265-1274, the Summa Theologica is St. Thomas Aquinas' greatest work. Originally written for the "instruction of beginners," time has shown that all believers can come to learn from this enriching book. Organized systemically for the clearest way of "setting forth" the "sacred doctrine," Aquinas addresses many of Christianity's most pertinent questions in this multi-volume work. The First Part of the Summa begins with the existence and nature of God, before moving to creation and the nature of man. The Second Part contains his examination of morality and law; it also provides his account of the theological virtues, the cardinal virtues, and the seven deadly sins. The Third Part, uncompleted due to Aquinas' death, treats the incarnation and the sacraments. Taken together, the three parts compose one of the most impressive works of Christianity. Indeed, countless people from many centuries have studied and learned from the Summa; it has been widely influential from Aquinas' own day to the present. Hence, those with a passing inquiry or a serious question, an existential concern or a philosophical problem, can learn much from reading and studying St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica.

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111 editions published.

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