Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait Hardcover – 4 Jun 2013
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"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 -- Terry Eagleton "Denys Turner's exciting new reading of Thomas Aquinas emphasizes what he provocatively calls Thomas's materialism, his insistence that matter bears meaning. Thomas Aquinas is a book to be treasured by all who know and admire Thomas-and all who would like to know him."-Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago -- Bernard McGinn "While he insists this book is written for newcomers and not for old hands, let this one in the latter category testify that since Denys Turner distils years of studying Aquinas and writes so beautifully, we are all in his debt for this splendid book."-Fergus Kerr, University of Edinburgh -- Fergus Kerr "A brilliant introduction to Thomas Aquinas and his thought, beautifully written. Denys Turner distills Thomistic theology with consummate skill, and, in the process, crafts a portrait of St. Thomas, the man, which deserves to be recognized as a masterpiece. A rare achievement, this lucid, learned book is destined to become a classic."-Carlos Eire, Yale University -- Carlos Eire "A fine, idiosyncratic introduction to the saint and his mind ... full of grace notes ... [Turner] presents a thinker who is indispensable for believers and nonbelievers alike."-Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune "[A] superb study"-Terry Eagleton, London Review of Books -- Terry Eagleton London Review of Books "I would recommend Turner's book for anyone curious about the Mr. Spock of the Middle Ages ... Turner briefly but concretely fleshes him out in the full context of his age, with all of its paradoxes and contradictions."-John Farrell, Forbes (selected as "Book of the Year" for John Farrell's blog) -- John Farrell Forbes "Turner wields his pen with great finesse, achieving thin strokes that convey in fine detail interesting facets of the saint's life and thought."-Aquinas Guilbeau, Claremont Review of Books -- Aquinas Guilbeau Claremont Review of Books
About the Author
Denys Turner is Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology, Yale University.
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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.
Turner’s introduction to the life and thought of Aquinas has given me a totally different perspective on the Dominican preacher. Modern caricatures picture Aquinas as an academic who was more interested in philosophical precision than the life of faith. How very wrong these caricatures are. I do not know if I will ever return to the Summa Theologiae; but I am grateful to have been introduced to this great theologian who is also a saint. I have discovered that while Aquinas lies well beyond my intellectual capacity he is not beyond my sympathies. “The holiness of Thomas,” writes Turner, “is a theologian’s holiness, the holy teacher invisible otherwise than in the holy teaching itself.”