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St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi: With Introductions by Ralph McInerny and Joseph Pearce [Paperback]

By G. K. Chesterton (Author)
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Item description for St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi: With Introductions by Ralph McInerny and Joseph Pearce by G. K. Chesterton...

Together in this single volume are two biographies that many consider to be Chesterton's best.

Publishers Description
Here, together in a single volume, are the two biographies that many critics consider to be Chesterton's best and the best short portraits ever written of these two great saints. St. Francis of Assisi was first published in 1923, shortly after Chesterton was received into the Catholic Church. It is a profoundly Catholic work, explaining and illuminating the life of St. Francis in a way no other biography has. The spiritual kinship the author felt with his subject enables the reader to delve into insights on the character of Francis that have eluded many.
St. Thomas Aquinas was written later in Chesterton's career. It also is enriched by the author's unique ability to see the world through the saint's eyes, a view that shows us Aquinas in a fresh way. Chesterton's pen brings the author of the Summa vividly to life.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   275
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.02" Width: 5.22" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2002
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898709458  
ISBN13  9780898709452  
UPC  008987094586  

Availability  0 units.

More About G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton G.K. Chesteron was born in 1874. He attended the Slade School of Art, where he appears to have suffered a nervous breakdown, before turning his hand to journalism. A prolific writer throughout his life, his best-known books include The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904), The Man Who Knew Too Much(1922), The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) and the Father Brown stories. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922 and died in 1938.

Michael D. Hurley is a Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St Catharine's College. He has written widely on English literature from the nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on poetry and poetics. His book on G. K. Chesterton was published in 2011.

G. K. Chesterton lived in London. G. K. Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936.

G. K. Chesterton has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Classic Wisdom Collection
  2. Paraclete Heritage Edition

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Chesterton, G. K.
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

Reviews - What do customers think about St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi: With Introductions by Ralph McInerny and Joseph Pearce?

Sketches of Two Seminal Saints in Classic Chesterton Style  Jul 1, 2007
Legendary Christian philosopher GK Chesterton wrote concise semi-biographies of St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas in 1923 and 1936 (the year of his death), respectively. Those years saw him convert to Catholicism, crystallizing a journey taking him from early appreciation of St. Francis in poetry and essays, to the depths of Oscar Wilde's nihilism to the freedom of orthodoxy expressed in that book and in his classic "Everlasting Man."

For their contrasting both saints' lives, drawn differently as silhouettes of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote (to name one of Chesterton's first, richest allegories in the Aquinas book), both books could with editing meld into the single volume Ignatius Press published. Both used Chesterton's mix of allegory, paradox and common sense eloquence making each of his books a re-discovery. Best of all, in Chesterton's words, both saints "reaffirmed the incarnation, by bringing God back to earth."

Chesterton writes each saint's biography inside out, seeing the major events of both lives through the prisms of their times. He shows both refuting their near-assigned destinies: born "on the hem of the imperial purple," Aquinas asks to be a begging friar and winds up arrested, imprisoned, and even tempted by his family. Born a successful merchant's son, young Francis Bernadone renounces his possessions (including his father Peter), takes poverty and dependence as a lover and walks into the woods in a hair-shirt, taking every existing thing as his family, every day as one without history, and finally writing his life philosophy in "Canticle of the Sun."

Loving the poor, having and wanting nothing, both depended on and thanked God for everything. Francis begged for the worst crumbs and traded down with beggars, using the remainder rebuild churches and lives. Aquinas appreciated his gift senses as windows into God's beauty and reality, refusing to separate earthly process from heaven's factual logic. His "Ens" philosophy, stemming from his need to draw Aristotle's influence back to Christ, filled volumes and stood as the easiest theory to understand and accept of how the world works. (Chesterton's image of the child at the window watching grass makes it simpler still.)

The same can be said of Chesterton's humorous to miraculous anecdotes attributed to St. Francis. These range from Francis' attempts to convert the Sultan of Damietta by throwing himself into fire, creating a snow angel substitute family to refute temptation, to receiving Stigmata (which Chesterton defends with stiletto-sharp apologia). Chesterton also shares part of Francis' relationship with St. Clare, from which formed one of three religious orders he'd inspire. After Francis' death, without his guidance, these would splinter into heresy before the Papacy wisely reigned its passions against what Chesterton referred to as "the staleness" of a new religion.

Benito Mussolini, who hijacked his country's proud religious and secular history to gain power, once said, "The history of saints is mainly the history of insane people." Chesterton's sketches of Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi counter by saying both these sane, logical saints, mistaken by their times for poison, were medicine because they were antidotes. They stood and yet stand against changing 20th-21st century fashions and facelessness. Few Chesterton writings bring his enduring linguistic and logical gifts to such high yet focused purpose and proof. These books, economically and ideologically joined, make essential reading for followers of Chesterton, Catholic apologetics, and Christian history.

A high altitude view of two great Saints.  May 11, 2007
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis make for quite a contrast--St. Thomas was one of the greatest brains of the Catholic Church, and St. Francis had one of the greatest hearts. Chesterton has a knack for putting ideas and people into the largest possible context with the least amount of details. These biographies, though short on specifics, put across the essence of each man's character and his impact on the world. Chesterton's writing style in both is more poetic than his essays and even some of his fiction.

"And for him [St. Thomas] the point is always that Man is not a balloon going up into the sky, nor a mole burrowing merely in the earth; but rather a thing like a tree, whose roots are fed from the earth, while its highest branches seem to rise almost to the stars."

"He [St. Francis] devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold. And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure."

Chesterton piles on insights like these on page after page. Chesterton paints a very personal picture--after reading these biographies, I felt as if I really knew who these men were, how they spoke, how they thought, how they might have talked to me.

One caution--these works may not be the best place to start. In my case, I didn't know much about St. Francis to begin with. Since Chesterton doesn't provide many historical details, some of his references (e.g., to his miracles and famous sayings), were hard to follow.
Classic Chesterton  Jun 9, 2006
I found this book by accident and haven't even finished it yet, but what a pleasure to read! Chesterton's logic and humor are delightful and the way he is always looking at the "big picture" of Christianity is wonderful. It's a good thing it has footnotes to explain some of the references to British politics. He writes as though to non-Catholics (which I am) who know very little about St. Francis (other than he preached to the animals) and next to nothing about St. Thomas Aquinas. If you like Chesterton and are remotly interested in these two saints who were in many ways opposites of each other, buy and read this book.

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