Archive for the ‘Ground Rules’ Category

What’s All This Then?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I can tell from the logs that new folks are coming through from a variety of other places, including Google, so it seems to me that I should explain once again just what’s going on here.

What I’m doing, at present, is working my way chapter by chapter through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, also known as the “Shorter Summa”. I’m not reading ahead, generally speaking; when I sit down to write each blog post I’m coming to the chapter fresh and quite literally working through it, trying to follow the argument as St. Thomas develops it line by line.

So what you’re getting in each post are my reflections as I work through the text, as I try to relate what I’m reading to what’s gone before and to what I understand from other sources, and my questions about the bits I don’t understand.

In other words, do not take my words as any kind of authoritative pronouncement, even if I sound quite certain about them. This blog is simply my way of learning about St. Thomas’ philosophy and theology, and of inviting others to share in the process.

On Not Knowing What I Am Talking About

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

In case it isn’t clear to anyone, I’m not writing this blog to share my vast fund of knowledge; I’m writing it to learn. On the other hand, it gets tiresome qualifying every other sentence with “as I understand it” or “so far as I can tell” or “it seems to me that”. Consequently, I probably sound considerably more certain than I actually am.

Thus, if you read something that strikes you as clearly wrong, please call me on it.

A Note on the Text

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

For those following at home, be aware that I’m not quoting selectively from the Compendium Theologiae; the chapters really are that short, and I’m quoting them in their entirety.

What’s All This, Then?

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

I figure things out by talking and writing about them. Recently I’ve embarked on an investigation of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, and frankly there’s a lot to figure out. In this blog I’m going to post my thoughts, as well as excerpts from the works in question, and we’ll see how it goes. Fair disclosure: I am not a philosopher, nor a theologian; with luck and the grace of God, I hope to uncover a little of the essence of what Thomas has to say, but I expect the accidents to be major. Please feel to chip if there’s aught in which you can remedy my ignorance!

I’ve looked into Peter Kreeft’s Summa of the Summa, a one-volume abridgement with copious footnotes of the Summa Theologiae; I’ve gotten something out of it, but I really don’t have quite enough background. Consequently, the work I’m going to focus on first is his Compendium of Theology, which has also been published as the Light of Faith, and more recently as Aquinas’ Shorter Summa. (The complete text is also available on-line.) It’s written to be simpler and more straightforward, and from my cursory browsing also contains a few more examples. My hope is that through wresting with it, I’ll gain some of the background I need to begin to contemplate the possibility of maybe starting to tackle the real Summas.

If you’d like a printed copy, you can get it at Amazon: