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Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas [Kindle Edition]

Denys Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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"'Denys Turner's wonderful new study, Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait, is a marvellous introduction to the thought of the most daring and most important thinker of the Christian Middle Ages: lucid, gripping and beautifully written, it ousts even G. K. Chesterton's famous study as the best single-volume introduction to St Thomas: ideal Summa reading!' (Eamon Duffy, The Tablet) 'With his familiar combination of deep faith and tough-minded analysis, Denys Turner introduces us to the thought of the greatest of Christian theologians, and does so in the lucid, expressive prose of a superb teacher.' (Terry Eagleton)"

Product Description

Leaving so few traces of himself behind, Thomas Aquinas seems to defy the efforts of the biographer. Highly visible as a public teacher, preacher, and theologian, he nevertheless has remained nearly invisible as man and saint. What can be discovered about Thomas Aquinas as a whole? In this short, compelling portrait, Denys Turner clears away the haze of time and brings Thomas vividly to life for contemporary readers—those unfamiliar with the saint as well as those well acquainted with his teachings.

Building on the best biographical scholarship available today and reading the works of Thomas with piercing acuity, Turner seeks the point at which the man, the mind, and the soul of Thomas Aquinas intersect. Reflecting upon Thomas, a man of Christian Trinitarian faith yet one whose thought is grounded firmly in the body’s interaction with the material world, a thinker at once confident in the powers of human reason and a man of prayer, Turner provides a more detailed human portrait than ever before of one of the most influential philosophers and theologians in all of Western thought.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0300188552
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (1 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,442 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary of Aquinas's teaching 21 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Denys Turner is obviously a very experienced scholar in this field and he writes an excellent summary of Aquinas'teaching both for the scholar and the general reader. He is very readable. It is not often that one can read a book on philosophy with such pleasure. The book has even been compared to G.K.Chesterton's book on Aquinas. I recommend it most strongly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aquinas the Materialist 15 Jun 2013
By GoneWest - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have two shelves of books by and on Aquinas, and when I bought this I expected to learn nothing new but to get a different insight into him. I was not disappointed on either score. Turner shocked me a bit when, early on, he deemed Aquinas a materialist. What he means by this is not the current philosophy of materialism born of logical positivism (the scientific method), which holds as foundational that the only reality is material reality, that there is no such dimension as the spiritual, or if there is, we cannot know about it. Aquinas' materialism is not that kind of materialism. Dr Turner explains that Aquinas' materialism is based on the reality of matter and that it is knowable, knowable because of abstraction which is per se nonmaterial in essence. He also maintains that Aquinas does not denigrate matter, as do the Platonists and such. Matter is good, matter has its own value. Humans are body and soul, matter and spirit, and the body has its value and meaning. Aquinas never maintains, as do many philosophers of bygone ages, and a lot of "spiritualities" of the present, that the body is wretched and of no count, that the soul is entrapped in the body like a bird in a cage, and yearns to be free. No, for Aquinas, and for Aristotle whose philosophy he uses and builds upon, the body is an essential part of what it is to be humans. We do not shed our bodies at death and "become angels." We are not angels entrapped in a body. More, while the nonmaterial soul (spirit) of a person survives death--defined as separation of body and soul, matter and spirit, material cause and formal cause--that surviving soul, spiritual and therefore incapable of decomposing, continues to exist as an immortal substance but is not a person. The reason? Aquinas says that a human person is matter, the body, "informed" by the soul, which defines man's nature as a rational animal. Upon death, the soul continues to exist, but not as a person. Only at the general resurrection when God reunites the souls of all those who ever lived with their bodies in some fashion known only to Him, is the person that we are reconstituted.

Dr Turner offers a fresh insight into the principles upon which Aquinas constructed his philosophy, a philosophy which he clearly states is handmaiden to revealed truth of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It is delightful to see a small but brilliant number of philosophers returning to Aquinas; as G.K. Chesterton said, Aquinas is the philosopher of common sense, appealing to the common man. For Aquinas, matter is reality, the spiritual world is reality and knowable through the material world around us as detected by the five senses and processed through the material brain by the immortal substance that is our soul, or in the words of Aquinas, what "forms" the matter of our bodies to be human.

The price is extremely reasonable. The field of Aquinas is populated with books, most of them of specialist nature and expensive to boot. This one is not. I highly recommend it and in the future I intend to re-read it, for this book is a mine of insights that one reading alone will not exhaust.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Aquinas 31 July 2013
By Alvaro S. - Published on
Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Thomas Aquinas many years ago, and I can say that this is the best book I have ever read about him in a long time, a masterful introduction to the man and his work. Turner, who teaches at Yale University, tells us what Thomas thought about some key philosophical and theological notions, such as God, the soul, the mystery of matter, the will, desire, etc. but more importantly, he explains why he thought precisely in that way. He catches the great medieval theologian in the very act of thinking. The last chapter (on Eucharist and Eschatology) should be read by any Christian believer. His insight into Thomas's vocation as a friar preacher and his "materialism" is brilliant. The book is a masterpiece. [I am writing a more extensive review for publication in a Spanish scholarly publication.]
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 13 Sep 2013
By Pedro M. G. Ferreira - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Denys Turner reveals himself in this book as a deep philosopher and theologian. I am pretty familiar with the thought of Thomas Aquinas, starting to study him some 50 years ago. This book shows many aspects of Thomas's thought which are not well understood by many scholars. Highly recommended!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite and creative 8 Jun 2013
By Thomas J Neal - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant take on Aquinas that evidences familiar ease with Aquinas' texts, context and thought-world, and retrieves his daring traditionalism that is too-little imitated by his intellectual devotees. Turner always has a way of bringing seemingly settled reads to new vistas!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Understanding of Thomas Aquinas' Thinking 2 Oct 2013
By Dismas Kalcic - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is different from anything I have ever seen on Thomas Aquinas. It is unique in that Denys Turner recreates the conflict of Thomas' ideas with his contemporaries. I found this to be extremely enlightening and wished it had been published during my study years.
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