An introduction to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, showing the intellectual underpinnings of his theology and the contemporary relevance of his metaphysics.
Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback, PDF
Specifications: 229x153mm (9x6in), 214pp
Published: December 2016
Published: December 2016
If Saint Thomas Aquinas was a great theologian, it is in no small part because he was a great philosopher. And he was a great philosopher because he was a great metaphysician. In the twentieth century, metaphysics was not much in vogue, among either theologians or even philosophers; but now it is making a comeback, and once the contours of Thomas's metaphysical vision are glimpsed, it looks like anything but a museum piece. It only needs some dusting off. Many are studying Thomas now for the answers that he might be able to give to current questions, but he is perhaps even more interesting for the questions that he can raise regarding current answers: about the physical world, about human life and knowledge, and (needless to say) about God. This book is aimed at helping those who are not experts in medieval thought to begin to enter into Thomas's philosophical point of view. Along the way, it brings out some aspects of his thought that are not often emphasised in the current literature, and it offers a reading of his teaching on the divine nature that goes against the drift of some prominent recent interpretations.
Abbreviations, References, and Technical Terminology
1. Matrices: Philosophy in the Setting of Thomas's Life, Thought, and Works
2. Births: Nature, Natural Philosophy, and the Hylomorphic Analysis of Change
3. Souls: Form as a Principle of Life, Kinds of Soul, and Grades of Immateriality
4. Firsts: Logic, Truth, and the Science that Determines First Principles
5. Invisibles: Spirit as Subsistent Form, Angels in Philosophy, and Reason's Glimpse of God
6. Ends: Metaphysics in Moral Philosophy, the Question of the Last End, and Natural Law
Stephen L. Brock is Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He is the author of Action and Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (1998) and of numerous scholarly articles on Aquinas's thought.
Thomas Aquinas was a theologian who used philosophy to lead us step by step from familiar truths to unfamiliar wisdom, from what natural reason can know to the divine things it cannot. To follow his lead, we need to know something about the philosophy he finds useful, something about its object, principles, concepts, and limits. Stephen Brock's book is a splendid sketch of the metaphysics Thomas uses in the service of theology. It's the best we have. John Bowlin, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
Thomism offers a profound and realistic interpretation of the world, but it is difficult to understand the philosophy of Aquinas on one's own. Brock has given us a splendid overview of Aquinas' deepest principles: nature, matter, the soul, existence and essence, God and the sources of moral agency. His exposition is clear, comprehensive ... subtle and insightful ... The book is both magistral in scope and offers incisive and trenchant interpretations on controversial issues. This is one of the best overviews of Aquinas' philosophy available. Fr Thomas Joseph White, OP, Thomistic Institute, Washington, DC
With a masterful command of the material and with engaging and lucid prose, Brock's latest offering is a worthy contribution to the renaissance of Thomistic studies... Brock acts the part of Virgil to our Dante, leading us through the intricate layers of Aquinas's thought in a manner that consistently gets to the heart of each major area of inquiry he chooses to discuss. While the book itself is relatively short... it more than makes up for its brevity in quality, and leaves the reader desiring more. ... Brock achieves the laudable goal of providing the reader with a text that touches upon the most essential elements of Thomistic philosophy. It should find a home on every scholar's shelf. Joshua Madden, in Reading Religion, 24 September 2017
While the book could serve as an introduction to Aquinas ... the material would furthermore appeal to scholars with a sound foundation in other theological or philosophical traditions. Decan Lawell, in Theological Book Review, Vol 28 issue 1 pp.5-6