Item description for Aquinas 101: A Basic Introduction to the Thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Francis Selman...
Overview A brief, engaging, and readable summary of the influential thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the Catholic Church's greatest minds. In this clear, thoughtful, and immensely readable book, Francis Selman offers summaries of some of the most complex topics in the writing of St. Thomas Aquinas. Selman deftly draws on the work of contemporary scholars while situating Aquinas in relation to the thinkers and schools of thought he was both confronting and drawing upon. The result provides an overview that places the thought of Aquinas both in his time and in our own.
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Studio: Christian Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.46" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.59" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Oct 22, 2007
Publisher Christian Classics
ISBN 0870612433 ISBN13 9780870612435
Reviews - What do customers think about Aquinas 101: A Basic Introduction to the Thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas?
Read this book if you never read Aquinas before Dec 28, 2007
If you, like me, had very little to no Thomistic Philosophy in high school or college, and would love to know more, this book is for you. What a pleasure for me it has been to read Aquinas 101 in preparation for this review. The book brings forth a surprisingly readable and sometimes funny Saint Thomas!
To begin, I quote from the publisher's site, Ave Maria Press:
A brief, engaging, and readable summary of the influential thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the Catholic Church's greatest minds. In this clear, thoughtful and immensely readable book, Francis Selman offers summaries on some of the most complex topics in the writing of St. Thomas Aquinas. Selman deftly draws on the work of contemporary scholars while situating Aquinas in relation to the thinkers and schools of thought he was both confronting and drawing upon. The result provides an overview that places the thought of Aquinas both in his time and in our own.
The author succeeds indeed in both bringing the thought and philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas to students (or the interested reader) and in making it contemporary by referring to recent writings on St. Thomas.
The Prologue is a very nice biography of the saint's life, leaving the reader with admiration for him and interest for his thought. The language is light, down-to-earth, using quotidian anecdotes to shed clarity. Saint Thomas Aquinas comes through the book as a friendly, practical counselor. For instance, on page 114 we read:
For sorrow, St. Thomas Aquinas recommends four remedies: weeping, the company of friends, pleasure, and warm baths.
The paragraph that follows goes into the reasons St. Thomas believes these four remedies will help anyone in sorrow. So true, and so practical! Of course, the book also goes into more meaty philosophy, but it refrains from being too dense for the lay reader.
I also like the fact that Saint Thomas is referred to as Saint Thomas throughout the book.
In the homeschool, this book would make a very good choice for a High School introductory course on the philosophy of Saint Thomas.
A Worthy Introduction Nov 29, 2007
St. Thomas Aquinas composed more than sixty works in less than fifty years of life. Few of us have the time or inclination to read even a portion of these but some, like this reader, nevertheless nurse a desire to be exposed to the Angelic Doctor's thought. Francis Selman's AQUINAS 101 presents a worthy, accessible introduction to key subjects.
As Selman notes in his Preface, "The books falls into three parts of nearly equal length: chapters one to five on God and creation, six to eight on human nature and action, and nine to twelve on the economy of salvation." Then a final chapter, "Charity and Friendship," melds the enduring themes of the book: "unity and love." I found the first third of the book most engrossing, the second part somewhat tedious, and the last section again piquing my intellectual curiosity.
Yet even in the fascinating discussion about God and creation, certain postulates are simply stated without support and can demand leaps of logic or circular logic. For example, on page 20 Selman notes, "By the light of reason, St. Thomas says, we can know that God exists as the cause of the world, because effects resemble their cause and bear a likeness to their cause." I've no doubt this is an accurate summation of Aquinas' theology, but it leaves the reader (at least it did me) concerned that important connective arguments must be left for the source materials. Later, the following conclusion appears: "Anyone who thinks that the world is due to necessity must also think it is eternal." Aquinas, who lived in the midst of the thirteenth century, believed this, but we twenty-first century readers could use further grounding as to why it should be a valid premise.
Those reservations aside, Selman does a commendable job of surveying some of Aquinas' most influential and vital writings. An introduction is just that, and AQUINAS 101 not only provides a far-reaching overview but also nudges the reader to dig a little deeper into selections of the saint's; this reader suggests the ever durable INTRODUCTION TO ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, edited by Anton C. Pegis.
On an aesthetic level, AQUINAS 101 is a quality paperbound volume. The cover painting of the saint gazing heavenward with a longing, searching expression is beautifully, spiritually alluring. The prologue (outlining Aquinas' life), glossary, notes, and index are all indispensable. And the type is clear and comfortable to view.
Readers with a budding or general interest in St. Thomas' philosophy and theology should find AQUINAS 101 a valuable resource.
An outstanding introduction Nov 1, 2007
Very few theologians can be as daunting as St. Thomas Aquinas. As one who has studied his work for years, I have often longed for a brief text that clearly expounded the thought of St. Thomas and in this volume I have found it. Written for the general audience and presuming no great knowledge of either theology or philosophy, this book is a real gem. It could even be used as a source book for a small group discussion or as an introduction to the larger works of this Saint, whose writings have guided Christian thought for over seven centuries.
pinpoint accuracy Aug 10, 2007
With such a mind boggling, almost infinite amount of information produced by Aquinas, one is overwhelmed with where to start. In this book, Selman takes thirteen of Aquinas' most popular topics of discussion and with pinpoint accuracy explains them-along with Aquinas' reasoning- in a format that is easy to read...but not watered down. Seman keeps his own opinions out of the writings, keeping Aquinas' thought constantly in the foreground. Selman also does an excellent job explaining the circumstances surrounding the writings taking into account the social, political and religious undertones of the era. While Gilson, McInery and Pieper are still the best exhaustive writers on Aquinas this one gets quickly to the heart, and stays there. By far the best book I have read on Aquinas' thought in a long time.