I am not Roman Catholic, but a memebr of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite any denominational differences I may have, I am awed by this book. Considering Aquinas had no computers, no electricity, and no spell-check, he managed to write a lengthy bok that would embarress most Ph.D's with an army of research assistants, expense accounts, and unlimited acess to LEXIS-NEXUS. Indeed, I belive much criticism of Aquinas comes from ignorance, or a deep-seated admiration and jealousy.
This is a standard work of Roman Catholic dogman and philosophical brainwork. It is a sumation of Catholic theology, systematized and organized. Aquinas covers several thousand questions relating to Catholic theology and philosophy, provides sharp questions and sound answers to objections. One of the questions gives a thumb-print of his mind: "Could [God] made the past not to have been?" (ST I-I.25.4) And Gov. Jesse Ventura said that religious people are weak-minded! By the way, Aquinas says no, since that would imply a contradiction, which is outsie of God's power.
This book and translation also has the "nihil obstant" and "imprimature," whic is latin for "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval." This translation has passed the Catholic censoring board and can be considered authoriative.
The only drawback is it's bulk--and therefore it is a rather awkward book to use. The internal organization helps to overcome this deficit, but a six volume with a thorough index would help. Peter Kreeft has a streamiled version of this book called "A Summa of the Summa," and an even slimmer volume called "A Shorter Summa," which is a summa of "A Summa of the Summa." These smaller books should hep you navigat the large book.
The cover is conservative and suits the majesty of the interior contents, and the print and paper are excellent and durable. The prose is readable, which a laudable since there is a temptation to latinize the English. This keeps the translation faithful, but makes the book unreadable, and the good Brothers avided this pitfall majestically.
As I said, I am not Catholic, but admiration for Aquinas's endeavor *is* universal. I recommend this book for any hard-core scholar or library aquisitionarian, but for person use, I would recommend Kreeft's excerpts, or Penguin's "Selected Writings" for the undergrad, or ambition high-schooler.