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Philosophers {12} ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas {1225-1274}

Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Dominican friar, theologian and Doctor of the Church, born in what is known today as the Lazio region of Italy. His most important contribution to Western thought is the concept of natural theology (sometimes referred to as Thomism in tribute to his influence). This belief system holds that the existence of God is verified through reason and rational explanation, as opposed to through scripture or religious experience. This ontological approach is among the central premises underpinning modern Catholic philosophy and liturgy. His writings, and Aquinas himself, are still considered among the preeminent models for Catholic priesthood. His ideas also remain central to theological debate, discourse, and modes of worship.

Aquinas’ Big Ideas
~Adhered to the Platonic/Aristotelian principle of realism, which holds that certain absolutes exist in the universe, including the existence of the universe itself;
~Focused much of his work on reconciling Aristotelian and Christian principles, but also expressed a doctrinal openness to Jewish and Roman philosophers, all to the end of divining truth wherever it could be found;
~The Second Vatican Council (1962–65) declared his Summa Theolgoiae — a compendium of all the teachings of the Catholic Church to that point — “Perennial Philosophy.”

Aquinas’ Key Works
~Summa Theologica (1265–74)
~Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings