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Not a Doubting Thomas!
on November 13, 2001
You have to hand it to Kreeft for taking some of the greatest ratiocination ever, and translating it into commonspeak. Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest minds ever to grace God's green earth, but too often--probably due to his religion--he has been marginalized. Generally, we just read his "Five Ways" that prove God's existence. However, this is much more to Thomism than this one philosophical derringer.
For those unaware, Thomas Aquinas was the Catholic scholar who produces two L*A*R*G*E, multi-volume books on Catholic theology: "Summa Contra Gentiles" and "Summa Theologica," the latter being a summation of Catholic theology. This book is a summation of "Summa Theologica," and serves as a handbook and thumbnail for both Catholic Theology and Philosophy and Christian philosophy in general.
Aquinas has a sharp mind and can both divide the word and divide a question in a way that few others can. I am not Catholic, but stand in deep admiration for Aquinas's work and mind, and more especially because he minded his work by working his mind.
Kreeft has selected the essential texts and questions that illuminate aspects of Thomistic philosophy/theology. He has the text with explanatory notes in footnotes, which is unusual since we are not reading a summery or rephrasing of Aquinas, but actually reading his words and ideas, unfiltered and undistorted.
His chapter divisions follow closely the divisions used in the whole "Summa Theologica," and focus primarily on the first part of part one, and the second part of part two of the "Summa Theologica," and doesn't deal with the latter books that deal with the church and the nature of sacraments. This summation, therefore, would not be offensive to any Christian.
The notes are gems, especially with his illustrations--Kreeft has united his analytical left-brain with his creative right brain, so there is no double-mindedness with what he is doing. His pictures save a thousand words!
The glossary is helpful for the Latin words and technical terms that have a specialized meaning in Thomism.
This book uses the "Fathers of English Dominican Province" translation, which bears the Nihil Obstant and Imprimatur, the Roman Catholic "Good housekeeping Seal of Approval" that lets us know the text has passed the censor. It is approved for Catholic consumption! As a non-Catholic, this because important because I do not want distorted doctrine misrepresenting their true beliefs.
The type and font are perfect, and I have not seen any typos. The cover is very engaging, with triumphal Thomas with the angels--the Angelic Doctor.