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How to Read Aquinas [Paperback]

Timothy McDermott
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

5 Feb 2007 How to Read
Aquinas was a 13th century university teacher educating students in an ecclesiastical tradition, but because he thought authority without reason could not make sense of truth he taught questioning. Timothy McDermott examines some of Aquinas's questions and asks whether they can make sense of the truths the 21st century takes for granted. He considers the role of regularity and chance in the natural world, mind and matter, freedom and moral obligation, law and society, suffering and evil, hope and hopelessness, and what place can rationally be given to Jesus Christ, to religion and churches, to faith and love and a God. Extracts are taken from the records of Aquinas's classroom disputations ("Quaestiones Disputatae") and two brilliant conspectuses of his teaching: the Summa Contra Gentes attempting a reasoned dialogue with non-Christian (mainly Arabic) scholars, and the Summa Theologiae addressed to his Christian students.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862079145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862079144
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 967,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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* 'These books let you encounter thinkers eyeball to eyeball by analysing passages from their work' Terry Eagleton, New Statesman * 'These deceptively slim volumes really are a course in "How to Read", not "How to Pretend to Have Read''' John Banville, Irish Times * 'Each author offers a smart take on how to approach reading his subject's works by providing historical and biographical detail, critical debate and sample excerpts of text' Sarah Sennott, Newsweek

About the Author

Timothy McDermott is a retired professor of computer science. He is the editor and translator of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae: a concise translation, and of Aquinas's Selected Philosophical Writings in the World's Classics series

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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant synthesis 7 Feb 2013
By berluti
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
St Thomas Aquinas can be a daunting writer, but Timothy McDermott's book provides a wonderfully lucid account of the saint's thought, and why it remains interesting and relevant. This brief but profound overview covers a gamut of subjects including ontology, epistemology, free will, sin, Jesus Christ, and the Church. In line with the style of the series, Professor McDermott intersperses his elucidations with extracts from Aquinas's writings, at the same time nailing many common misconceptions about Christianity common both inside and outiside the Churches. If only the New Atheists, especially, had read a work like this before setting up all their straw men!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off-beat and brilliant 14 Dec 2011
By F Bauerschmidt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What is presented here is hardly standard Thomism, but rather surprising expositions of occasionally surprising texts (e.g. the Quodlibital questions or the Summa on whether animals choose or whether Christ is the head of the human race) that blow the dust off of Thomas and seek to present his thought is a fresh and non-technical way. McDermott's slim book masquerades as a handbook for beginners but should be of interest to any reader of Aquinas. He is particularly interesting on the question of how Aquinas's views might be thought of in light of contemporary scientific questions.
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