What Aquinas Did for the History of Culture


“Thomas Aquinas, at the school of Albert the Great, did something of fundamental importance for the history of philosophy and theology, I would say for the history of culture: he made a thorough study of Aristotle and his interpreters, obtaining for himself new Latin translations of the original Greek texts. Consequently he no longer relied solely on the Arab commentators but was able to read the original texts for himself. He commented on most of the Aristotelian opus, distinguishing between what was valid and was dubious or to be completely rejected, showing its consonance with the events of the Christian Revelation and drawing abundantly and perceptively from Aristotle’s thought in the explanation of the theological texts he was uniting. In short, Thomas Aquinas showed that a natural harmony exists between Christian faith and reason. And this was the great achievement of Thomas who, at that time of clashes between two cultures that time when it seemed that faith would have to give in to reason showed that they go hand in hand, that insofar as reason appeared incompatible with faith it was not reason, and so what appeared to be faith was not faith, since it was in opposition to true rationality; thus he created a new synthesis which formed the culture of the centuries to come.”

Pope Benedict XVI, excerpt from his General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, 2 June 2010.


Posted on January 28, 2018, in holiness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Omg what a deep thinker. We walk by faith not by sight.Xray may show one thing ( visual reason)Faith knows God is in control.Gods will be done. Liturgy Guy Did i miss the mark on this one?

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • Please think about it: “OMG” breaks the Second Commandment.

    • St. Thomas Aquinas (and thereafter the Church) teaches us that our faith cannot be contradicted by reason. We do walk by faith. But further, that faith is not in opposition to reason. Atheist (for example) fail when they contend that Christianity is unreasonable, unscientific, etc. Likewise, Christians fail if we view our faith as not being consistent with reason.

      If anyone sees a conflict between faith & reason, then their comprehension of Christianity is incomplete or incorrect.

  2. Aquinas did not bring me to faith when I attended a Jesuit university. Scripture itself provided the answers for me on how to connect to the Biblical God. Reason only left me doubting.

  3. Franklin P. Uroda

    When I first began reading St. Thomas’ commentaries on St. Paul, I was amazed that he made Paul’s ideas so clear to me. The same for both his Summas. He made the study-understandable-delightful, and his theses are laced with Sacred Scripture.

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