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Aquinas: Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)


Aquinas: Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although a controversial figure in his own day, St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-74) forged a unique synthesis of faith and reason, of ancient philosophy and sacred scripture, which decisively influenced Dante and the whole subsequent Catholic tradition.

Intensely interested in Aristotle, as well as Plato, Paul and Augustine, Thomas believed that unaided human thought can take us a long way towards wisdom and truth, although it must always be supplemented by the central mystery of revelation. His writings contain many classic statements of doctrine about angels, the Incarnation, Trinity, sacraments and the soul, and also penetrating discussions on choice, creation and conscience, law, logic and the purpose of life.

In this superb selection, arranged chronologically, Ralph McInerny brings together sermons, commentary responses to criticism and substantial extracts from one of Christianity's supreme masterpieces, the Summa theologiae. For anyone concerned to find ways of reconciling science and reason and religion, Thomas has always been a major source inspiration. This volume reveals both the development and sheer scope of his work.


Arranged chronologically, this collection of work by the Italian philosopher Thomas Aquinas, brings together sermons, philosophical commentaries, responses to criticism and extracts from his Summae. The book reveals the development and scope of Thomas's work.

About the Author

St. Thomas Aquinas was born around 1225 at Roccasecca near Aquino, to the nobleman Landulf of Aquino. Educated by Benedictine monks at Monte Cassino and then at the University of Naples, it was during his time at university, around 1244, that he joined the Dominican monastic order. This decision so shocked the other members of his noble family that they kidnapped him and held him against his will for a year. Despite this, he remained committed to the religious life and, once he was free, Aquinas went to Cologne to study under St. Albert the Great. In 1256 he tok the degree of Master in Theology, and then embarked on a life of teaching, preaching and writing, living and working in France and Italy. He died from an illness at the abbey of Fossanuova while on his way to attend a meeting of the general council at Lyon in 1274. Thomas Aquinas was formally canonized in 1323.

Aquinas' religious writing has had a significant influence on both theological and philoshical thought throughout the centuries. His two great works are Summa contra Gentiles (1259-64), a treatise on God and his creation, and Summa theologica (1266-73), a massive, though unfinished, work, designed as a complete systematic exposition of theology.

Table of Contents



A Note on the Texts

Part One: Student (1245-56)

1. The Inaugural Sermons (1256)

2. On the Principles of Nature (1252-6)

3. On Being and Essence (1252-6)

4. The Nature of Theology. Commentary on Sentences I, Prologue (1252-4)

5. The Work of the Six Days of Creation. Commentary on Sentences 2.2, d. 12 (1252-4)

Part Two: Master at Paris (1256-9)

6. Theology, Faith and Reason. On Boethius On the Trinity, 1-2 (1257)

7. How are Things Good? Exposition of On the Hebdomads of Boethius (1257)

8. The Meanings of Truth. Disputed Question on Truth, I (1256-9)

9. On the Teacher. Disputed Question on Truth, II (1256-9)

10. On Conscience. Disputed Question on Truth, 17 (1256-9)

Part Three: Italy (1259-68)

11. Proof of God's Existence. Summa contra Gentiles, I, 9-14 (1259)

12. The Human Good. Summa contra Gentiles, 3 (1259-65)

13. On the Divine Simplicity. Disputed Question of the Power of God, 7 (1265-6)

14. On Goodness and the Goodness of God. Summa theologiae, 1, 5-6 (1268)

15. On Creation. Summa theologiae, 1, 44 (1268)

16. On Angelic Knowledge. Summa theologiae, 1, 54-8 (1268)

17. Definitions of Soul. On Aristotle's De anima, 2, 1-3 (1268)

18. Platonism and Neoplatonism. Preface to Exposition of On the Divine Names (1265-8)

Part Four: Paris (1269-72)

19. The Range of Natural Philosophy. Expositions of Physics, 1, 1, Preface to On the Heavens, Preface to On Sense and the Sensed Object (1269)

20. How Words Mean. Exposition of On Interpretation, 1-5 (1270-71)

21. On the Ultimate End. Summa theologiae, 1-2, 1-5 (1271)

22. On Human Choice. Disputed Question on Evil, 6 (1266-72)

23. What Makes Actions Good or Bad? Summa theologiae, 1-2, 18-20 (1271)

24. On Law and Natural Law. Summa theologiae, 1-2, 90-94 (1271)

25. The Virtues. Summa theologiae, 1-2, 55-7 (1271-2)

26. The Active and Contemplative Lives. Summa theologiae, 2-2, 179-81 (1271-2)

27. On the Eternity of the World (1271)

28. The Love of Wisdom. Exposition of Metaphysics, Preface and 1, 1-3 (1271)

Part Five: Naples (1272-4)

29. The Logic of the Incarnation. Summa theologiae, 3, 16 (1273)

30. What is a Sacrament? Summa theologiae, 3, 6 (1273)

31. The Exposition of the Book of Causes, 1-5 (1272)

32. Exposition of Paul's Epistle to Philemon (1273)

33. Exposition of the Angelic Salutation (Ave Maria) (1273)


Product Details

McInerny, Ralph M.
Mc Inerny, Ralph
Introduction by:
McInerny, Ralph M.
McInerny, Ralph M.
Aquinas, Thomas
Mc Inerny, Ralph
McInerny, Ralph M.
Penguin Books
London ;
Catholic church
Theology, doctrinal
Theology, Doctrinal -- Early works to 1800.
Spiritual life -- Catholic Church -- Early works to 1800.
History & Surveys - Medieval
Catholic Church--Doctrines
Philosophy : General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Penguin Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.8 x 5.36 x 1.5 in 1.31 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General
Humanities » Philosophy » Surveys
Religion » Christianity » Church History » Medieval
Religion » Christianity » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General
Religion » Western Religions » Theology

Aquinas: Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) New Trade Paper
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Product details 450 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140436327 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Arranged chronologically, this collection of work by the Italian philosopher Thomas Aquinas, brings together sermons, philosophical commentaries, responses to criticism and extracts from his Summae. The book reveals the development and scope of Thomas's work.
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