As a theologian, he was responsible for the classical systematization of Latin theology in his two masterpieces, the Summa theologiae and the Summa contra gentiles; and as a poet, he penned some of the most seriously beautiful eucharistic songs in the church's liturgy. His work on the intellect made him one of the most influential philosophers of his time.
Thomas Aquinas was born on April 25th, 1225, in Roccaseca, Italy, to a wealthy family. He had two brothers who also became priests. When he was twelve years old, his father died and his mother took up residence with her second husband, an imperial judge. Although this second marriage did not last long, it brought about many changes in Thomas's life. The judge sent the children to be educated by different teachers, including two German masters. When they were fifteen and sixteen years old, respectively, they returned home and began their careers as priests. However, because there were no monasteries near their house, they lived separately from their parents and worked at various churches throughout Europe.
Aquinas never married nor did he have any children. This left him with plenty of time to think and write about everything from theology to poetry. In fact, he is considered one of the most important philosophers and theologians of all time due to his contributions to both fields.
His most well-known works are his so-called theological syntheses. During his lifetime, Thomas wrote four of these: his commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, Summa contra gentiles, Compendium theologiae, and Summa theologiae. Today they are regarded as official statements by one of the world's greatest philosophers and theologians.
Thomas's philosophical views are contained in his commentaries on Aristotle's physics and metaphysics. They are especially famous for their introduction of Aristotelian philosophy into Europe after it had been largely abandoned following the acceptance of Plato's Academy in Athens. In addition to his own work, Thomas also commented on other scholars' ideas, including those of Albert the Great, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham.
He is considered one of the most important philosophers of all time. His work influenced many later thinkers, including St. Bonaventure, Nicholas of Cusa, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Aquinas taught at the University of Paris where he became known for his expertise in Aristotle. He was also a prolific writer who produced hundreds of articles and books on a wide range of topics from theology to politics. He died at the age of 42 while defending Pope Clement VII against charges of treason brought by Charles VIII of France.
Are there any movies or TV shows about him? Yes!
The Disputed Questions on Truth (1256–1259), the Summa Contra Gentiles (1259–1265), and the incomplete but immensely influential Summa Theologica, or Summa Theologiae (1265–1244) are his most well-known writings. His comments on Scripture and Aristotle are also significant contributions to his corpus of work.
Aquinas's most famous work is undoubtedly his Summa Theologiae, a comprehensive treatment of theology written when he was 37 years old. The first part of the work deals with God, the soul, and free will; the second part examines Christ and the church. Although only parts of it have been published so far, it is regarded as one of the major achievements of medieval philosophy and theology.
Some scholars believe that the Disputed Questions on Truth are actually a series of lectures that were later compiled and published together with some additional material. This would make them the earliest example of an academic treatise on philosophy published in Europe. They deal with topics such as truth, wisdom, morality, science, and medicine at a very early stage of European philosophy. In fact, they are considered the foundation of medieval epistemology.
Aquinas also wrote commentaries on both the Old and New Testaments and several works on Aristotle's physics. All these writings show that he not only studied many other philosophers but that he also wanted to discuss various issues from different points of view.
The Summa Theologiae (written between 1265 and 1274 and sometimes known as the Summa Theologica or just the Summa) is Thomas Aquinas' (c. 1225–1274) best-known book. It expounds on the doctrines of faith and reason, and is structured into an ordinary way (ratio studiorum), which considers topics such as salvation, God, and humanity, and a special way (via singularia), which examines specific problems related to moral philosophy, physics, psychology, and other subjects.
Aquinas began writing the Summa at the age of 34 while he was serving as archbishop of Canterbury. Although he had already written several important works, including a commentary on the Bible, this new project demanded even more from him. He continued to work on it for several years, finishing it in 1266. Then, fearing for his safety because of wars going on around him, he ordered all of its manuscripts to be destroyed. Only one copy survived this order; this is the manuscript now held by the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid.
Even though the Summa was never published during Aquinas's lifetime, it became very popular after his death. The first complete edition wasn't printed until 1477, almost two hundred years after Aquinas's death. The second edition appeared in 1572, more than 150 years after the first edition.
The Summa Theologica focuses on theological subjects connected to the Catholic faith's organization and theory, such as virtues and sacraments, as well as the essence of the Christian triune God and His creation. It is structured in four parts or "treatises": natural theology, which deals with God's existence and attributes; supernatural theology, which discusses Jesus' conception by the Holy Spirit and the operation of graces; church doctrine, which covers topics such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and salvation; and final theology, which examines topics such as eternal life and hell.
Aquinas states his objective in the opening of the first treatise: "We shall try to show that all truth is contained in Scripture, either expressly or by clear implication." He goes on to say that he will discuss what can be known about God through natural reason (a form of knowledge he calls "natural theology"), as well as what can be known about God through religious experience (a form of knowledge he calls "supernatural theology").
In addition to these two forms of knowledge, there is also divine revelation in the form of scripture and tradition. For Aquinas, all three types of knowledge are intertwined—what we know about God through nature and religion is only possible because God has chosen to reveal some things about Himself and has not revealed others.
Individual Aquinas Texts: English Title-Latin Title (Date of composition.) De Principiis Naturae (On the Principles of Nature). De Ente et Essentia-On Being and Essence (1252–556) Latin and English English. Summa contra Gentiles (1259–64)—On the Truth of the Catholic Faith. Summa Theologiae (1266-73) English. De Aeternitate Mundi—On the Eternity of the World (1270). Quaestiones Disputatae-Disputed Questions Greek. Metaphysics Lectiones-Lectures on Metaphysics Arabic. Subtitles available in English.
As a scholar, theologian, and philosopher, Thomas Aquinas (1225–74) left an indelible mark on European philosophy and theology. Considered one of the most important philosophers of his time, he was also called "the prince of philosophers" for his work in almost every branch of knowledge. He is often considered the father of modern science because of his understanding of the world and his contributions to natural science (especially biology), mathematics, and philosophy.
Aquinas taught at the University of Paris where he became one of the most sought-after teachers of his day. His lectures attracted large audiences who wanted to learn about Christianity and the works of Aristotle from one of Europe's leading scholars of the time. Among his many students were Saint Bonaventure, King Philip the Fair, and William of Ockham.