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Discovering Aquinas: An Introduction to His Life, Work, and Influence Paperback – February 20, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 1st edition (February 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802805140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802805140
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Clay Kallam on May 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
As, at best an agnostic, it was very interesting to read a book so completely grounded in the Catholic tradition, and so completely assured of the basic tenets of the Christian faith. That said, I picked up the book at the library because I wanted to learn more about Thomas Aquinas' philosophy, and "Discovering Aquinas" really didn't do that job.

In addition, Aidan Nichols' language is clearly influenced by a long acquaintance with Latin, and when an obscure word can be found, he'll use it. There is also an assumed knowledge of Catholic intellectual history that leads to many references that the more casual reader will not be able to track.

What does become clear, however, is the intellectually convoluted gyrations necessary to accomplish Aquinas' goal of reconciling faith (in this case orthodox Catholicism) and reason (Aristotle rather than Plato) can't help but create a host of elaborate justifications. To reference another medieval thinker, William of Ockham's "razor" (simple explanations are better than complex ones) cuts to the quick, as, for example, creating a logical structure that accounts for angels makes the epicycles of ancient astronomy seem crystal clear in comparison.

Nonetheless, reading Aquinas on the Trinity and theological cosmology is interesting, and Nichols, language aside, does a reasonably quick and cogent job of putting these medieval ideas in terms 21st century readers can understand.

Still, I wouldn't recommend this book to any but someone seriously interested in Catholicism and its philosophical underpinnings. For those readers, though, this brief work is an excellent introduction to one of the most influential thinkers of the past thousand years.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By No kidding on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended for background/preliminary reading for a course on Aquinas' thought. I have dipped into this book and the author clearly has great command of his subject; however, it is not a book for those who are not already aquainted with Aquinas. I think/hope that I will be able to get the most benefit from "Discovering Aquinas" after I've done the course. The writing is generally clear and elegant, there being just enough idiosyncratic turn of phrase to maintain interest and keep you on your guard, though it is also sometimes somewhat too allusive.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chazcheh on March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great introduction to Aquinas's work. For those like me looking to learn more about Thomas Aquinas but want a basis to start from this is a great book
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drew on June 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is terribly hard to understand, especially without a Catholic background and limited foreknowledge on the life of Thomas Aquinas. The writing is difficult to follow and I found myself having to read sentences three times to get the meaning.
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