Aquinass Summa Theologiae Critical Essays On Othello

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The most striking thing about this book is its completeness. It is indeed an introductory guide to and a (brief) commentary on the whole of the Summa Theologiae -- the whole of the Summa Theologiae... The book is intended as an introductory guide and commentary, and perhaps few of those who read it will get as far as reading the whole Summa. But those who read this book will be far better equipped to understand the fragments which they do get to read in the context of St. Thomas's mature thought as a whole. And for anyone who has merely to dip into the Summa from time to time, reading or re-reading the sections of this book that deal with what he or she is unfamiliar with will be a small effort and a brief time well spent in the best possible preparation." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"...[A] scholarly triumph... [This book] is thorough, well organized, and supplemented with copious notes and pie charts that give a visual breakdown of the philosophical and theological subjects covered in the Summa... those looking for a comprehensive and accessible companion to Aquinas's Summa could do no better... Essential." --CHOICE

"Brian Davies takes the reader on a guided tour of the vast demesne of the Summa Theologiae with a lucid and patient commentary. He writes for the intelligent reader without any formal training in either philosophy or theology--the kind of audience, he believes, that St. Thomas himself had in mind. Nonetheless, his book contains a number of surprises even for those who are familiar with the landscape." --Anthony Kenny, author of the four-volume series New History of Western Philosophy

"Most of us engaged in studying Christian theology would of course say that Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae is a classic, an essential text, which we should all read and re-read. The truth is, however, that, while the clarity of the arguments and the systematic presentation are very attractive, most newcomers and even old hands need a good deal of help to keep going: no one is better qualified than Brian Davies, after years of teaching and writing about it, to guide us: the study of the Summa will be greatly facilitated and enriched by this excellent commentary." --Fergus Kerr, OP, Honorary Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

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About the Author


Brian Davies is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University and Honorary Professor at Australian Catholic University. He has published numerous books on Aquinas, including Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil (OUP 2011).

Read more

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The most striking thing about this book is its completeness. It is indeed an introductory guide to and a (brief) commentary on the whole of the Summa Theologiae -- the whole of the Summa Theologiae... The book is intended as an introductory guide and commentary, and perhaps few of those who read it will get as far as reading the whole Summa. But those who read this book will be far better equipped to understand the fragments which they do get to read in the context of St. Thomas's mature thought as a whole. And for anyone who has merely to dip into the Summa from time to time, reading or re-reading the sections of this book that deal with what he or she is unfamiliar with will be a small effort and a brief time well spent in the best possible preparation." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"...[A] scholarly triumph... [This book] is thorough, well organized, and supplemented with copious notes and pie charts that give a visual breakdown of the philosophical and theological subjects covered in the Summa... those looking for a comprehensive and accessible companion to Aquinas's Summa could do no better... Essential." --CHOICE

"Brian Davies takes the reader on a guided tour of the vast demesne of the Summa Theologiae with a lucid and patient commentary. He writes for the intelligent reader without any formal training in either philosophy or theology--the kind of audience, he believes, that St. Thomas himself had in mind. Nonetheless, his book contains a number of surprises even for those who are familiar with the landscape." --Anthony Kenny, author of the four-volume series New History of Western Philosophy

"Most of us engaged in studying Christian theology would of course say that Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae is a classic, an essential text, which we should all read and re-read. The truth is, however, that, while the clarity of the arguments and the systematic presentation are very attractive, most newcomers and even old hands need a good deal of help to keep going: no one is better qualified than Brian Davies, after years of teaching and writing about it, to guide us: the study of the Summa will be greatly facilitated and enriched by this excellent commentary." --Fergus Kerr, OP, Honorary Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

Read more

About the Author


Brian Davies is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University and Honorary Professor at Australian Catholic University. He has published numerous books on Aquinas, including Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil (OUP 2011).

Read more

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The most striking thing about this book is its completeness. It is indeed an introductory guide to and a (brief) commentary on the whole of the Summa Theologiae -- the whole of the Summa Theologiae... The book is intended as an introductory guide and commentary, and perhaps few of those who read it will get as far as reading the whole Summa. But those who read this book will be far better equipped to understand the fragments which they do get to read in the context of St. Thomas's mature thought as a whole. And for anyone who has merely to dip into the Summa from time to time, reading or re-reading the sections of this book that deal with what he or she is unfamiliar with will be a small effort and a brief time well spent in the best possible preparation." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"...[A] scholarly triumph... [This book] is thorough, well organized, and supplemented with copious notes and pie charts that give a visual breakdown of the philosophical and theological subjects covered in the Summa... those looking for a comprehensive and accessible companion to Aquinas's Summa could do no better... Essential." --CHOICE

"Brian Davies takes the reader on a guided tour of the vast demesne of the Summa Theologiae with a lucid and patient commentary. He writes for the intelligent reader without any formal training in either philosophy or theology--the kind of audience, he believes, that St. Thomas himself had in mind. Nonetheless, his book contains a number of surprises even for those who are familiar with the landscape." --Anthony Kenny, author of the four-volume series New History of Western Philosophy

"Most of us engaged in studying Christian theology would of course say that Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae is a classic, an essential text, which we should all read and re-read. The truth is, however, that, while the clarity of the arguments and the systematic presentation are very attractive, most newcomers and even old hands need a good deal of help to keep going: no one is better qualified than Brian Davies, after years of teaching and writing about it, to guide us: the study of the Summa will be greatly facilitated and enriched by this excellent commentary." --Fergus Kerr, OP, Honorary Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

Read more

About the Author


Brian Davies is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University and Honorary Professor at Australian Catholic University. He has published numerous books on Aquinas, including Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil (OUP 2011).

Read more

Editorial Reviews

Review


"The most striking thing about this book is its completeness. It is indeed an introductory guide to and a (brief) commentary on the whole of the Summa Theologiae -- the whole of the Summa Theologiae... The book is intended as an introductory guide and commentary, and perhaps few of those who read it will get as far as reading the whole Summa. But those who read this book will be far better equipped to understand the fragments which they do get to read in the context of St. Thomas's mature thought as a whole. And for anyone who has merely to dip into the Summa from time to time, reading or re-reading the sections of this book that deal with what he or she is unfamiliar with will be a small effort and a brief time well spent in the best possible preparation." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"...[A] scholarly triumph... [This book] is thorough, well organized, and supplemented with copious notes and pie charts that give a visual breakdown of the philosophical and theological subjects covered in the Summa... those looking for a comprehensive and accessible companion to Aquinas's Summa could do no better... Essential." --CHOICE

"Brian Davies takes the reader on a guided tour of the vast demesne of the Summa Theologiae with a lucid and patient commentary. He writes for the intelligent reader without any formal training in either philosophy or theology--the kind of audience, he believes, that St. Thomas himself had in mind. Nonetheless, his book contains a number of surprises even for those who are familiar with the landscape." --Anthony Kenny, author of the four-volume series New History of Western Philosophy

"Most of us engaged in studying Christian theology would of course say that Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae is a classic, an essential text, which we should all read and re-read. The truth is, however, that, while the clarity of the arguments and the systematic presentation are very attractive, most newcomers and even old hands need a good deal of help to keep going: no one is better qualified than Brian Davies, after years of teaching and writing about it, to guide us: the study of the Summa will be greatly facilitated and enriched by this excellent commentary." --Fergus Kerr, OP, Honorary Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

Read more

About the Author


Brian Davies is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University and Honorary Professor at Australian Catholic University. He has published numerous books on Aquinas, including Thomas Aquinas on God and Evil (OUP 2011).

Read more

Summary

The Summa Theologica is divided into three parts, and each of these three parts contains numerous subdivisions. Part 1 deals primarily with God and comprises discussions of 119 questions concerning the existence and nature of God, the Creation, angels, the work of the six days of Creation, the essence and nature of man, and divine government. Part 2 deals with man and includes discussions of 303 questions concerning the purpose of man, habits, types of law, vices and virtues, prudence and justice, fortitude and temperance, graces, and the religious versus the secular life. Part 3 deals with Christ and comprises discussions of 90 questions concerning the Incarnation, the Sacraments, and the Resurrection. Some editions of the Summa Theologica include a Supplement comprising discussions of an additional 99 questions concerning a wide variety of loosely related issues such as excommunication, indulgences, confession, marriage, purgatory, and the relations of the saints toward the damned. Scholars believe that Rainaldo da Piperno, a friend of Aquinas, probably gathered the material in this supplement from a work that Aquinas had completed before he began working on the Summa Theologica.

The Summa Theologica, as its title indicates, is a “theological summary.” It seeks to describe the relationship between God and man and to explain how man’s reconciliation with the Divine is made possible at all through Christ. To this end, Aquinas cites proofs for the existence of God and outlines the activities and nature of God. Approximately one-half of the Summa Theologica then examines the nature and purpose of man. Finally, Aquinas devotes his attention to the nature of Christ and the role of the Sacraments in effecting a bridge between God and man. Within these broad topical boundaries, though, Aquinas examines the nature of God and man in exquisite detail. His examination includes questions of how angels act on bodies, the union of body and soul, the cause and remedies of anger, cursing, and the comparison of one sin with another. Aquinas is attempting to offer a truly universal and rational view of all existence.

Analysis

Adopting Aristotelian principles and concepts, Aquinas attempts to explain the origin, operation, and purpose of the entire universe and the role that everything in the universe plays in the attainment of that purpose. Aquinas never doubts the truth of the tenets of his faith. Rather, he employs techniques of argument that he learned in the disputatios to state, defend, and elaborate those tenets. The grandiose scope of the Summa Theologica derives from Aquinas’s belief that a very significant portion of theology can be expressed and codified in a comprehensive and rational system.

Aquinas writes not only as a philosopher who is intellectually interested in the pursuit of truth, he writes primarily as a Catholic who is convinced that the salvation of humanity itself is at stake. This conviction propels him toward a rational exegesis of topics the truth of which is ultimately derived and founded on divine revelation. When a specific topic so allows, Aquinas uses philosophical concepts and vocabulary to examine that topic. The primary topics admitting of such philosophical examination are the existence of God, the nature and limits of human knowledge, and the purpose of man. For most other topics, Aquinas articulates a decidedly Catholic position on issues of Christian interest, such as the Holy Trinity, original sin, and the like.

At first glance, it would seem astonishing and even counterintuitive that Aquinas reframes much of Catholic theology in terms of Aristotle’s pre-Christian philosophy. The pursuit of philosophy traditionally requires one to enter into debates with an open mind and to identify and re-examine one’s own core assumptions about a given issue, yet Aquinas enlists Aristotle not for his aid in the unbiased critical examination of the tenets of Catholic belief but rather for the explication and defense of those tenets. At the same time, though, Aquinas’s enlistment of Aristotle reveals Aquinas to be a remarkably fair, open minded, and indeed tolerant medieval thinker. He apparently believes that the fruits of the exercise of reason are not necessarily corrupt if the thinker is a non-Christian. This suggests that Aquinas believes that every human being, regardless of his or her beliefs, shares in humanity through the possession and use of reason. In this, Aquinas again reveals his indebtedness and allegiance to Aristotle, who had maintained that reason is the essential quality of humanity: it is that without which man cannot be man.

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