July 24, 2010

Catholic Theology 101: Thomism

(This is by no means an adequate representation of St. Thomas Aquinas' contribution to Catholic theology. His masterwork, the Summa, is something to which entire blogs are dedicated. This is only as an introduction to his methodology in keeping with the spirit of the current series.)

In the thirteenth century, when better translations of Aristotle’s works came to the attention of European scholars, new questions emerged. The dissemination of these works along with doctrinal disagreements threatened to divide the Church between traditionalists, those adhering rigidly to the letter of Church law at the expense of the spirit of the law, and modernists, those embracing a theology based on novelty, often at the expense of Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

St. Thomas Aquinas answered these questions and in the process prevented a rift between traditionalists and modernists. His theology, Thomism, is a synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy and Revelation. Like his predecessors, Aquinas’s theology is objective, deductive, and principled.

For all the centuries between Augustine and Aquinas, the accepted worldview stayed largely intact. Thought and theology remained grounded in objective principles and deductive arguments.

For more information on the life and work of Saint Thomas Aquinas go here.

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