Thomas Aquinas: A Brief Overview

Thomas Aquinas was one of the most influential theologians in the history of the Catholic Church. Over the course of his career he wrote 8.5 million words. His ideas and writings have shaped Christian thought to this day.

Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 to a family of influence and power. He went to the university of Naples, and at age 19, he joined the ascetic Dominicans. Quite predictably, his family objected and Thomas was imprisoned by them for a year in order to prevent him from bringing scandal to the family. During his imprisonment, Thomas memorized the Sentences of Peter Lombard, and the Bible. Finally he escaped his prison with the assistance of his mother. He studied under the famous scholastic philosopher, Albert the Great. Thomas then taught at Cologne, Paris, Bologna, Rome, and Naples. He also assisted three Popes throughout his career.

Thomas Aquinas wrote many books, including the Summa Theologica, the Summa Contra Gentiles, Commentaries on the Works of Aristotle, Two Precepts of Charity, the Angelic Salutation, and exegetical works on various books in the Bible and on the Song of Songs. His two most important works were the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. The Summa Theological was a massive book (approximately 3,500 pages) which presented many  doctrines of the Catholic Church and defended them from 10,000 possible objections. It was written in a technical style, and was targeted primarily at theology students of the Church and laity. The Summa Contra Gentiles was structured differently from the Summa Theologica, and was targeted at people who were not acquainted with the Catholic faith. It presented proofs for the existence of God, and from these it established what must be the attributes of God. All of these were proven without reference to any of the Holy Scriptures or writings of the Church. He used reason alone to demonstrate these as truths.

Thomas Aquinas was an extremely prolific thinker who wrote many great works on the Catholic faith. He wrote millions of words, disproved thousands of counterarguments, cited tens of thousands of sources, and used reason alone to prove the existence of God and His attributes. After his death in 1274, he was canonized by Pope John XXII. His writings are still studied today by theologians, and will probably be studied for many centuries to come.

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2 thoughts on “Thomas Aquinas: A Brief Overview

  1. Pingback: Just War Theory | supererling

  2. Pingback: Thomas Aquinas: God and His Attributes | supererling

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