Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a Dominican priest and one of the leading theologians and philosophers of the Middle Ages. Born in Sicily, Aquinas became a Dominican at the age of 19 and later studied the University of Paris. His most famous work is the Summa Theologica.
Aquinas was a Scholastic philosopher, the school of thought that defended Christian dogma through dialectical reasoning, a dialogue of reasoning not unlike the work of Plato. His work was largely based on the writings of Aristotle, whom he referred to as “The Philosopher.”
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The Writings of Thomas Aquinas
In his writings, Aquinas held the following:
- Truth comes through reason and faith.
- Aquinas believed that man could deduce the existence of God through reason
- Certain aspects of knowledge could only come through the incarnation of Christ in the world
According to ST. Thomas Aquinas.org, Thomas Aquinas was highly influential on the course of European philosophy for the next several centuries. His theory of virtue ethics has been held up as an alternative to Kantian utilitarianism, and his work, including the Summa Theologica is requisite study for the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John XXII declared Thomas Aquinas a saint in 1323. In 1879, Pope Leo XIII said that Aquinas’ theology was one of the most definitive statements on Catholic doctrine in the Church’s history.