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St. Thomas Aquinas on Politics and Ethics (Norton Critical Editions) 1st ed Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Incluced are obvious selections from Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica (Five Ways of God's Existence and Essay on Law), but also included are excerpts from "De Regimine Principum."
There are hidden treasures in the back, excerpts from backgound sources and essays that influenced and were influenced by Thomisitic thought.
This book is geared towards a poltical scientist and poltical philosopher. For the theologian or the philosopher, however, I would reccomed Penguin Classics "Selected Writings."
PS--Nice picture on the cover!
St Thomas can be forbidding to the beginner - his most famous work, the Summa, runs to several thousand pages and many volumes, which seem to be purely theological in nature - the Summa begins with God and also ends with God. To a certain degree it is true St Thomas was purely a theologian and pre-occupied with theological questions, many of which are not relevant to most people today. But this is only a half-truth, and this book admirably shows.
St Thomas never wrote a systematic treatise on politics, unlike other medieval thinkers such as William of Ockham. Yet treatment of political, ethical and legal questions occurs through much of his work. Most important are his theory of natural law (used mainly in the Summa), his remarks on virtue ethics (which are surprisingly detailed and comprehensive), and also an important treatise he wrote on rulers and their obligations. St Thomas also wrote systematically about the virtue of justice, and wrote commentaries on Aristotle's 'Ethics' and 'Politics' that contain important insights into his political views.
Aquinas's importance today lies not so much in his ideas but in their application, particularly in the moral and social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and also by scholars who follow his thought like John Finnis. Aquinas is also highly influential in philosophical circles with the revival of virtue ethics as an alternative to Kantian and Utilitarian rule-based ethics.
An understanding of Aquinas is therefore necessary for any student of ethics and political science, even if you don't share any of his views. This short introduction offers a valuable resource for students of Aquinas in this area.
St. Thomas Aquinas, who lived from 1225 to 1274, writes on a wide range of topics. The topics include how to know truth, true happiness and what is it, does God exist, the theological virtues, the cause of sin, the essence of the soul, much about politics, and more. The writings sometimes follow the pattern: question, answer, objections, and answers to objections. A few of Aquinas' ideas seem wrong today; thus, he has 'different' notions about politics, about usury and money, considers slavery "natural" and he says a woman is "an imperfect man." Aquinas admits to influence by the non-Christian Aristotle.
It's obvious Aquinas writes in an earlier age, but even so, I call it a five star book. Non- Christians might rate it less, but non-Christians will understand Christians better if they read it, and might even become Christian, so I presume to rate it at five stars for them as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The font set in this book is so tiny, it is too difficult to read. Hoping to find another copy in larger print.Published 17 months ago by K.T.