Thomas Aquinas

Philosopher, Religious Leader

1225 – 1274

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Who was Thomas Aquinas?

Thomas Aquinas, OP, also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus" and "Doctor Communis". "Aquinas" is from the county of Aquino, an area his family held land in until 1137. He was born in Roccasecca, Italy.

He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or opposition of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Unlike many currents in the Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle — whom he referred to as "the Philosopher" — and attempted to synthethise Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity. The works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa contra Gentiles. His commentaries on Sacred Scripture and on Aristotle are an important part of his body of work.

Famous Quotes:

  • Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will.
  • Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet more apt for contemplation.
  • Well-ordered self-love is right and natural.
  • Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
  • Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.
  • Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.
  • By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.
  • The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.
  • Beware of the person of one book.
  • Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.

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Jan 28, 1225
Also known as
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Angelic Doctor
  • Doctor Universalis
  • Common Doctor
  • Universal Doctor
  • Doctor Communis
  • Doctor Angelicus
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Thomas of Aquin
  • Thomas of Aquino
  • Catholicism
  • Italy
  • University of Naples Federico II
Mar 7, 1274
Fossanova Abbey

on July 23, 2013


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