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How to Read Aquinas by Timothy McDermott


How to Read Aquinas by Timothy McDermott

Aquinas was a 13th century university teacher educating students in an ecclesiastical tradition, but because he thought authority without reason could not make sense of truth he taught questioning. Timothy McDermott examines some of Aquinas's questions and asks whether they can make sense of the truths the 21st century takes for granted. He considers the role of regularity and chance in the natural world, mind and matter, freedom and moral obligation, law and society, suffering and evil, hope and hopelessness, and what place can rationally be given to Jesus Christ, to religion and churches, to faith and love and a God. Extracts are taken from the records of Aquinas's classroom disputations ( Quaestiones Disputatae ) and two brilliant conspectuses of his teaching: the Summa Contra Gentes attempting a reasoned dialogue with non-Christian (mainly Arabic) scholars, and the Summa Theologiae addressed to his Christian students.


* 'These books let you encounter thinkers eyeball to eyeball by analysing passages from their work
Terry Eagleton, New Statesman

* 'These deceptively slim volumes really are a course in How to Read , not How to Pretend to Have Read''
John Banville, Irish Times

* 'Each author offers a smart take on how to approach reading his subject's works by providing historical and biographical detail, critical debate and sample excerpts of text
Sarah Sennott, Newsweek

About the Author

Timothy McDermott is a retired professor of computer science. He is the editor and translator of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae: a concise translation, and of Aquinas's Selected Philosophical Writings in the World's Classics series

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Book Info

Publication date

5th February 2007


Timothy McDermott

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Granta Books


128 pages


Western philosophy: Medieval & Renaissance, c 500 to c 1600



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