St. Thomas Aquinas Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of St. Thomas Aquinas

Chesterton on Aquinas sounds like it ought to be worth a read, and it is. This is an enjoyable and stimulating introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274), his life and works. He was born into the aristocracy he gave it all up and became a monk, and his philosophy and theology have influenced Western thought ever since.
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Other writer on Aquinas have acclaimed this excellent work as the best short introduction there is - up to the date of writing, which was in the 1930's - and that probably still stands. Although Aquinas' theology is not covered on grounds of space and complexity, the rest of his thought is, and it is explained as well as space allows in such a short book. Chesterton's usual sense of fun and wordplay keeps the whole thing light.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

One of Chesterton's highly acclaimed short biographies, writing just before WWII he called this 'a popular sketch of a great historical character who ought to be more popular'. St Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274) was born into an aristocratic Italian family and forsook his privileged position, took a vow of poverty, and became a Dominican monk. A brilliant thinker, and revolutionary in his day, he proceeded to become one of the most influential philosophers and theologians that has lived. Although the modern 'average man in the street' might be hard put to explain how medieval theology is an influential strand in his imagination and worldview, it is, and this book helps explain why.

Several experts on Aquinas have acclaimed this book as the finest introduction to the man and his works. It introduces the man himself and some of his philosophical ideas, which are modern and scientific in tone. This is not too much to be surprised at when we consider that his university professor was Albertus Magnus, who paved the way for modern science by taking certain elements of Aristotle more seriously than anyone before. Aquinas' theology is not covered on grounds of space and complexity. Chesterton is writing at his best, assuming a fair degree of knowledge on the part of the reader, he covers a great deal of ground in a short space, and employs his usual paradoxical sense of fun and wordplay to good effect. Chapter seven, 'The Permanent Philosophy' is wonderful, and at only twelve pages would serve as a good primer of philosophy for anyone, something to read before and alongside Bertrand Russell's 'The Problems of Philosophy' perhaps.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Chapter Analysis of St. Thomas Aquinas

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Plot & Themes

job/profession:    -   philosopher Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Period of greatest activity?    -   ancient times

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   religious figure Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   Italian Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   1 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France    -   Italy Century:    -   distant past

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   thoughtful    -   like laughing Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   little dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   76%-100% of book

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G.K. Chesterton Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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