Who Was St Thomas Aquinas?

All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.

- St Thomas Aquinas, as quoted in J. A. Weisheipl, Friar Thomas d'Aquino

Podcast of the Day

Melvyn Bragg discusses the life, works and enduring influence of the medieval philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas with Martin Palmer, John Haldane and Annabel Brett. St Thomas Aquinas' ideas remain at the heart of the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church today and inform philosophical debates on human rights, natural law and what constitutes a 'just war'.

Listen to the In Our Time episode on St Thomas Aquinas

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Short Article of the Day

St. Thomas Aquinas is a man whose name is practically synonymous with the endeavour to show that the religious belief he adopts is a reasonable one to hold. While he is not the only person to whom we can turn in the history of Christian thinkers to meet the demand of the reasonableness of faith, he is certainly a major figure. One of Aquinas’s more well-known journeys into philosophical thinking is in the realm of arguments for the existence of God. His famous five ways from the Summa Theologiae have been anthologised and commented on almost ad nauseam. The five ways represent the thought of Aquinas at the height of his philosophical powers, making use of a lifetime’s research into the different philosophical issues that are at work therein. However, given such a focus, it is common for many non-specialists to believe that the five ways are Thomas’s only proofs for the existence of God, or that they are the only ones worth considering. Not only that, given that they are a reflection of a mature mind making use of philosophical principles developed elsewhere, the five ways can come across as quite dense, with undefended premises, and are thereby often thought to be subject to easy refutation...

Continue reading Gaven Kerr's article: Thomas Aquinas and God

Further Reading

St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest and Scriptural theologian. He took seriously the medieval maxim that “grace perfects and builds on nature; it does not set it aside or destroy it.” Therefore, insofar as Thomas thought about philosophy as the discipline that investigates what we can know naturally about God and human beings, he thought that good Scriptural theology, since it treats those same topics, presupposes good philosophical analysis and argumentation. Although Thomas authored some works of pure philosophy, most of his philosophizing is found in the context of his doing Scriptural theology. Indeed, one finds Thomas engaging in the work of philosophy even in his Biblical commentaries and sermons.

Within his large body of work, Thomas treats most of the major sub-disciplines of philosophy, including logic, philosophy of nature, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical psychology, philosophy of mind, philosophical theology, the philosophy of language, ethics, and political philosophy. As far as his philosophy is concerned, Thomas is perhaps most famous for his so-called five ways of attempting to demonstrate the existence of God...

Continue reading the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Thomas Aquinas by Christopher M. Brown

Bonus Webcomic

Crazy Christian Eights - Existential Comics

Related Topics

If you’re interested in Aquinas, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 Aristotle | Augustine | Jesus | Medieval Philosophy

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