Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae

(1266–1273)

The magnum opus of the medieval Christian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae (also known as Summa theologica, “Summary of Theology”) is a massive work that aims to expound all of Christian theology as systematically as possible. It is written in Latin, the universal language of medieval European scholarship and law. At its broadest level, the Summa depicts in philosophical terms the relationship between God and humanity and delineates how human reconciliation with God is made possible through Christ. Spanning three volumes treating God, humanity, and Christ the Redeemer, the Summa is arranged as 518 questions divided into 2,652 articles. Each article states the negative and positive sides of the proposition under examination, the arguments pro and con, and then Aquinas’s solution.

The first and most famous volume (from which our excerpts are drawn) deals with the theological enterprise as well as the existence and nature of God. The second volume...

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Thomas Aquinas holding a copy of the ”Summa theologia“ (Library of Congress)

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