A First Glance at St. Thomas Aquinas
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Thomism is solidly based on the assumption that we know the world first through our senses and then through concepts formed on the basis of our sense experience. In this informally discursive introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, Ralph McInerny shows how this basic assumption contrasts with dominant modern alternative views and is developed by Thomas into a coherent view of ourselves, of knowledge, and of God.

McInerny first places Thomism in context within philosophical inquiry, discussing the relationship between philosophy and theology, and between modern and classical views of philosophy. He then describes the challenges Thomas faced with the introduction of Aristotle’s works into the Christian West. The reader is subsequently guided through such key concepts as art, nature, causes, and motion and shown how Thomas used these concepts to resolve the problems presented by Aristotle.

Each chapter is tied to a specific Thomistic text, providing a sample from a number of Thomas’s works. In addition to articles from both Summas, there are sections from the Disputed Questions and the Commentaries, among others. McInerny also provides an annotated list of the writings of Thomas available in English. Bibliographical notes provided by the author, grouped by subject and following his general chapter divisions, will be particularly helpful for further reading.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 décembre 1989
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268161316
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1250€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Ralph McInerny
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
All Rights Reserved
Published in the United States of America
Copyright 1990 by University of Notre Dame
Reprinted in 1991, 1996, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
McInerny, Ralph M.
A first glance at St. Thomas Aquinas : a handbook for peeping Thomists / Ralph McInerny.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-268-00976-7 (cl)
ISBN 13: 978-0-268-00975-5 (pbk.)
ISBN 10: 0-268-00975-9 (pbk.)
1. Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?- 1274. 2. Thomists. I. Title.
B765.T54M3923 1990
189 .4-dc20 89-40392
ISBN 9780268161316
The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources .
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at ebooks@nd.edu .
For Mortimer Adler
Resume of Tommaso de Aquino
1. Getting into Philosophy
2. Philosophy vs Religion
3. Reviving Thomism
4. Two Big Pictures
5. Thomas s Big Picture
6. Theologian as Philosopher
7. What is a Thing?
8. Art and Nature
9. Causes
10. Parmenides Problem
11. Motion
12. Creation
13. Soul
14. Beyond the Grave
15. Metaphor and Analogy
16. Proving God Exists
17. Speaking of God
18. The Meaning of Life
19. On Being Good
20. Aristotle and the Beatific Vision
Bibliographical Notes
Thomistic Chronology
The Writings of Thomas in English Translations
T HIS LITTLE book provides a first, informal look into the vast world of St. Thomas Aquinas. I have tried to make it as intelligible as I could, using much the same style as I used in Ethica Thomistica , mingling argument with anecdote and example.
Thomism is solidly based on the assumption that we know the world first through our senses and then via concepts formed on the basis of our sense experience. Indeed, our knowledge of ourselves, of knowledge, of God, depends upon our conviction about the physical world. This contrasts in a dramatic way with a dominant alternative which, beginning with Descartes, starts with knowledge of the self and establishes the reality of the physical world. I am not here concerned to develop both Thomism and its alternative, but frequent references are made to what I call Modernity for purposes of contrast. Needless to say, these asides should not be taken to provide the best case for Modernity.
Many years ago an elderly Professor Joseph Bochenski said to a youthful me: When you are young, you teach more than you know; with experience, you teach as much as you know; when you are old, you teach far less than you know. This book contains truth, but not the whole truth. Much of what is said, being said with great brevity, could be extended indefinitely. But that is what philosophy is, the endless pursuit of knowledge, the constant addressing of objections, the willingness always to go back to the beginning. This handbook stays very close to Square One.
Why write such a book?
A few years ago I spent a month speaking to some young nuns of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita on our medieval heritage. I thought of them as The Woodchuck Lectures, not because they answered that old question, but because of the avenue the convent is on. In June of 1988, I gave a sketch of the Thomistic Revival at a summer institute at Notre Dame for non-philosophers. The following month, I taped thirteen lectures on Thomas Aquinas for Mother Angelica. In the fall of that year, I gave a course on The World of St. Thomas Aquinas at Cornell University, where I was the Rachel Rebeccah Kaneb Visiting Professor of Catholic Studies for the academic year 1988-89. All these efforts to connect somewhat difficult matters with their origins in common sense converged in this book, a book my colleague Jim Carberry has long urged me to write.
I dedicate the book to Mortimer Adler for two reasons, the first more important than the second. Mortimer Adler has devoted a long lifetime to making the wisdom of the West available outside the grooves of academe, addressing himself urbi et orbi . He has succeeded enormously. If I offer so modest a work as this in tribute to him, it is because I know he will approve of what I am trying to do in it. A lesser reason for the dedication is that Mortimer was the one to whom the epithet Peeping Thomist was first applied, by Time Magazine. Al Plantinga has several times in print given me credit for this phrase. Since I have enough to answer for already, I wanted to make the historical record clear. Of course Mortimer is not among the Peeping Thomists for whom this book is written. But you, presumably, are.
I want to thank the students who used earlier versions of this book. In particular I want to thank Brendan Kelly and Michael Paietta, my graduate assistants, for helping get this ready for the printer and/or performing various other tasks that not even Dante with all his ingenuity devised for those with sins to make up for.
Born: March 7, 1225
Place: Roccasecca, in the family castle
Father: Landulf de Aquino
Mother: Theodora de Aquino
Brothers: Aimo, Rinaldo, and Landolfo
Sisters: Marotta, Maria, Theodora, and Adelasia
Primary education: Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino
Liberal Arts: Naples, Paris
Theology: Cologne, Paris
Bachelor, Faculty of Theology, University of Paris
Magister of Theology, University of Paris, 1256
Paris, Faculty of Theology, Regent Master, 1256-1259
Master theologian, Roman province, 1259-1265
Regent Master in Rome, 1265-1268
Regent Master, Paris, 1269-1272
Regent Master, Naples, 1271-1274
Commented on Bible, Old and New Testament
Commented on Sentences of Peter Lombard
Commented on Pseudo-Dionysius
Commented on Boethius
Disputed Questions
Quodlibetal Questions
Sermons on the Pater, Ave, and Credo
University Sermons
Collected Works, various editions cf. Appendix
Canonized July 18, 1323
Revocation of 1277 Parisian Condemnation of his teaching, 1325
T HOMAS AQUINAS was canonized on July 18, 1323 but he had already been put in Paradise by Dante who died in 1321.
Thomas s main role in the Divine Comedy is to praise St. Francis and his followers. St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan and contemporary of Thomas, is given the task of praising St. Dominic and the Dominican Order to which Thomas belonged. Dante saw these mendicant or begging friars as providing a needed reform of the Church. To this day it is impossible to think of Thomas Aquinas without thinking of the Church.
Councils and popes have praised him, saints and sinners have studied his writings, few philosophers are without an opinion of his main teachings. Somewhere, right now, there are people poring over his texts-over seven hundred years after his death.
Plato and Aristotle have been dead nearly three times as long and they too are still read. Moreover, there are Platonists and Aristotelians among us today. Whitehead said that we are born either Platonists or Aristotelians, presumably the way people in Gilbert Sullivan are born either little conservatives or little liberals.
A lot of dead philosophers are still read but very few of them have followers. Thomas Aquinas is one of that handful. (He was born an Aristotelian, incidentally.) Of course it has not hurt his reputation that he is held in such honor by the Church and is the patron of Catholic schools. There are people alive today who remember whole batteries of college courses in philosophy and theology that were, or aspired to be, Thomistic. Although that has changed, editions and translations and studies of Thomas s writings continue to pour from the presses. Journals and societies are devoted to his thought. No one would want to read everything that has been written about Thomas Aquinas. But then very few people have read everything Thomas himself wrote.
Thomas has been recommended to Catholic philosophers and theologians as their principal guide. The assumption is that he can aid them in their task. Their task, in a nutshell, is to attain the truth. The main reason to read Thomas is to learn things that are true.
Platonists follow Plato because they think he leads them to the truth.
Aristotelians follow Aristotle because they think he leads them to the truth.
There are Platonists and there are Aristotelians, but there are also Plato-scholars and Aristotle-scholars. A scholar is someone who knows a good deal more than you and I but it is sometimes unclear why he wants to. Disputes over passages in Plato have raged for centuries. The Platonist wishes to resolve the dispute in order to arrive at the true position. The Plato-scholar resolves disputes, to the degree that he does, by arguing that this or that is what Plato truly meant.
It could be argued that every Platonist must be in some degree a Plato-scholar. If that is true, the Plato-scholar is a truncated type. He is very serious about what the author

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