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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'not an author adapted to superficial minds', 7 Feb 2010
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gille liath (US of K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
- So said Mr Casaubon in 'Middlemarch' about Aquinas. And it's true to the extent that these excerpts are about the most fundamental questions of metaphysics, and that they are written in a dense, aphoristic style that makes few concessions to the reader. On the other hand, what I found here is not the simple-minded apologist or scholastic logic chopper of legend; but a razor-sharp intellect dealing with problems in philosophy of religion which are still very much on peoples' minds today. Is it self-evident God exists? Or can we prove he exists? Or can we in fact know anything definite about him?

Not a religious work per se, then, but a very challenging analytical one. McDermott's modern translation tries to ensure that it isn't harder work than needs be, but if you buy this you'd better be sure you're ready to put in a real shift.

I have two criticisms of it as an anthology. Physically it is of very poor quality; I hope it isn't representative of the Oxford World Classics range nowadays. And it contains only brief selections from Aquinas' best-known work, Summa Theologicae, which I think will be contrary to most buyers' expectation. But considering McDermott had to try and represent the eight and a half million words of Aquinas' writings, he can perhaps be forgiven for that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars some useful editorial work, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
I bought this selection at the same time as the larger Aquinas Selected Writings (Penguin Classics) which has more theology. I reviewed the Penguin also. I have to say I prefer this Oxford selection because the editor has gone to much greater trouble than the Penguin editor in providing helpful editorial links between parts of the densely argued excerpts. The Oxford selection is based on groups of passages and texts which are thematically linked. This makes the task of connecting key ideas in the arguments a bit easier. The Penguin book is based on chronology and groups passages according to when Aquinas wrote them. The latter strategy seems a bit random to me. I think both books would benefit from more editorial commentary. Aquinas wrote a lot and these selections are drops in the ocean, so it would be helpful to have more background and fuller notes on key points developed by Aquinas from classical works such as Aristotle's.
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Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford World's Classics)
Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford World's Classics) by Thomas Aquinas (Paperback - 12 Jun 2008)
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