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The Single Foremost Work of Catholic Theology in History
on 8 March 1999
St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica is the premier work of Catholic theology, studied at all major Catholic universities and seminaries, as well as by theologians and philosophers of religion of all denominations. Of St. Thomas' many works, this 5-volume masterpiece presents a systematic and organic treatment of several thousand important theological questions, ranging from God, the Trinity, and the nature of Christ, to the nature and psychology of the human person and the nature and mission of the Church. St. Thomas considers creation in its natural light, as well as under the operations of grace, including discussions of morality, redemption, the sacraments, and the operation of divine providence. The scope of topics is enormous, and these few hardly do justice to the contents.
The format of this work is arranged into individual articles for easy reading of St. Thomas' answers to individual questions, but there is a continuity to the way questions are raised and answered that makes the work a unified whole -- not simply a theological manual or encyclopedia, but also a profound read from cover to cover. A leading biographer of Thomas (O'Meara) has called the Summa "a cathedral of thought," which is perhaps the best description for such a short space here.
This translation has been prepared by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. This information is not evident in the on-line description, but it should be, since it is very important that the translation of the Latin is accurate and in conformity with modern usage. (I found out by searching the ISBN at the Library of Congress website). There are many translations of the Summa available, but not all are good. The English Dominican Father's translation is one of the best editions available, and widely recommended in scholarly circles.
While the Summa Theologica is available at libraries and on the internet, it is very convenient to own your own copy of such a large work. This edition is sturdily bound with decent margins for notes, with each of the 5 volumes of a portable size and weight. (The earlier two-volume editions are large and unwieldy.)
I heartily recommend this work and this particular edition of the Summa in English.