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In recent years, increased interest in medieval studies and Catholic theology have revealed St. Thomas as more than just quasi-official theologian to the Roman Catholic Church, confirming his stature as one of the greatest thinkers the West has ever known. In his masterwork, the Summa, he synthesizes Aristotelian concepts on the nature of the living world and man, with Biblical teaching on God's loving purpose in creating them.
Thomas Aquinas (1224/6-1274) was one of the greatest of the medieval philosophers. His Summa Theologiae is his most important contribution to Christian theology, and one of the main sources for his philosophy. This volume offers most of the Summa's first 26 questions, including all of those on the existence and nature of God. Based on the 1960 Blackfriars translation, this version has been extensively revised by Brian Davies and also includes an introduction by Brian Leftow which places the questions in their philosophical and historical context. The result is an accessible and up-to-date edition of Aquinas' thoughts on the nature and existence of God, both of which have continuing relevance for the philosophy of religion and Christian theology.
No collection of philosophy or theology is complete without this classic work of Thomas Aquinas. Designed for study, this edition makes the Summa Theologiae accessible to everyone.
Following a scholarly account of Thomas Aquinas's life, Davies explores his purposes in writing the Summa Theologiae and works systematically through each of its three Parts. He also relates their contents and Aquinas's teachings to those of other works and other thinkers both theological and philosophical. The concluding chapter considers the impact Aquinas's best-known work has exerted since its first appearance, and why it is still studied today. Intended for students and general readers interested in medieval philosophy and theology, Davies's study is a solid and reflective introduction both to the Summa Theologiae and to Aquinas in general.
The life and times of the most important theological work of medieval Christendom Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae holds a unique place in Western religion and philosophy. Written between 1266 and 1273, it was conceived by Aquinas as an instructional guide for teachers and novices and a compendium of all the approved teachings of the Catholic Church. It synthesizes an astonishing range of scholarship, covering hundreds of topics and containing more than a million and a half words—and was still unfinished at the time of Aquinas’s death. Bernard McGinn, one of today’s most acclaimed scholars of medieval Christianity, traces the remarkable life of this iconic work, examining Aquinas’s reasons for writing it, its subject matter, and the novel way he organized it. McGinn looks at the influence of Aquinas’s masterpiece on such giants of medieval Christendom as Meister Eckhart, its ridicule during the Enlightenment, the role of the Summa in the post–Vatican II church, and the book’s enduring relevance today.
There are numerous Summas from the thirteenth century, but none quite like Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae in simplicity, scope, and rigor of organization. The structure of the Summa may seem complex to those approaching it for the first time, but it is a remarkable feat of clarity in comparison with its predecessors. In his spare and accessible English translation, Mark D. Jordan captures this clarity in Thomas's discussion of the theological virtue of faith.
Objection 1: It seems that, besides philosophical science, we have no need of any further knowledge. For man should not seek to know what is above reason: "Seek not the things that are too high for thee" (Ecclus. 3:22). But whatever is not above reason is fully treated of in philosophical science. Therefore any other knowledge besides philosophical science is superfluous. Objection 2: Further, knowledge can be concerned only with being, for nothing can be known, save what is true; and all that is, is true. But everything that is, is treated of in philosophical science—even God Himself; so that there is a part of philosophy called theology, or the divine science, as Aristotle has proved (Metaph. vi). Therefore, besides philosophical science, there is no need of any further knowledge. On the contrary, It is written (2 Tim. 3:16): "All Scripture inspired of God is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice." Now Scripture, inspired of God, is no part of philosophical science, which has been built up by human reason. Therefore it is useful that besides philosophical science, there should be other knowledge, i.e. inspired of God. I answer that, It was necessary for man's salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: "The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee" (Isa. 66:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors. Whereas man's whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth. Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they should be taught divine truths by divine revelation. It was therefore necessary that besides philosophical science built up by reason, there should be a sacred science learned through revelation.

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