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The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas: A Breviary of Philosophy from the Works of St. Thomas Aquinas [Paperback]

By Josef Pieper (Arranged by) & Drostan MacLaren (Translator)
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Item description for The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas: A Breviary of Philosophy from the Works of St. Thomas Aquinas by Josef Pieper & Drostan MacLaren...

Arranged by Josef Pieper

Josef Pieper has attached no commentary to the texts brought together in this breviary of the philosophy of St. Thomas, preferring that the reader should encounter them, "on his own". His work has been one of selection, in which he has sought to assemble such passages as will provide an introduction to the form and design of the whole Thomistic system.

Yet he has so ordered his texts as to impress upon the reader a special feature of St. Thomas's thought, what he calls its double aspect: St. Thomas sees the whole scheme of reality ordered and penetrable by reason; yet the mystery of Being itself remains: "The effort of human thought has not been able to track down the essence of a single gnat."

Josef Pieper, one of the most highly regarded Thomistic philosophers of the twentieth century, wrote numerous philosophical works including Leisure: The Basis of Culture, Guide to Thomas Aquinas, Only the Lover Sings and many more.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   109
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.23" Width: 4.86" Height: 0.34"
Weight:   0.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898708915  
ISBN13  9780898708912  
UPC  008987089155  

Availability  0 units.

More About Josef Pieper & Drostan MacLaren

Josef Pieper Josef Pieper (1904-1997) was professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster/Germany; he was a member of several academies and received numerous awards and distinctions, among them the International Balzan Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of humanities.

Pieper is among the most widely read philosophers of the 20th century. The main focus of his thought is the overcoming of cultural forms of secular totalitarianism and of its philosophical foundations through a rehabilitation of the Christian concept of man that is related to experience and action. Plato and Thomas Aquinas in particular were the inspiring sources of a constructive criticism of contemporary culture.

Josef Pieper was born in 1904 and died in 1997.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas?

Pithy Wisdom  Aug 26, 2006
Professor of Philosophy Edward T. Oakes S.J. writes of this compendium of quotes of St. Thomas Aquinas:

[In response to someone telling him St. Thomas Aquinas was a great aphorist, a coiner of one line wise sayings] I rejoined that a medieval scribe who became the most famous practitioner of that notoriously hairsplitting method called Scholasticism--and who produced something like eight million words, in the pre-Gutenberg era to boot--could hardly be called an aphorist. But this faithful correspondent then pointed me to Josef Pieper's marvelous collection of Thomistic one-liners called The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas: A Breviary of Philosophy, which taught me otherwise. Until I had read this powerful (but also exhausting!) book, I had not realized how concise, pithy, indeed almost aphoristic, the medievals were forced to be.

Remarkably, Pieper resolutely refused to provide so much as a single line of commentary in his "breviary." All he furnished, arranged in vague topical categories, were the one-line conclusions to Thomas' positions, not the arguments for them. But even standing alone, they have a way of, well, standing on their own. I'll cite a few just to give you an idea:

* Everything eternal is necessary.
* Every creature participates in goodness in the same degree as it participates in being.
* In the universe, only the intellectual nature is sought on its own account, all others on account of it.
* Desire of the knowledge of truth is peculiar to human nature.
* Evil is not caused except by good.
* Everything evil is rooted in some good, and everything false in some truth.
* Evil produces no effect except in virtue of some good.
* However much evil is multiplied, it is never able completely to swallow good.
* Stronger than the evil in wickedness is the good in goodness.
* Good can be realized in purer form than evil. For there is some good in which no evil is mixed, but there is nothing so very evil that no good is mixed in it.

Pieper's collection deals only, as the title says, with Thomas' "human" wisdom, meaning his purely philosophical aphorisms, although it would be hard to think of such allegedly pure "philosophical" clarity coming to Thomas except in the light of his faith.

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