Tuesdays with St. Thomas: Books about St. Thomas

Jeff Vehige has posted a list of the books about St. Thomas that he has found most helpful. Interestingly, I’d only heard of one of them, Chesterton’s St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox. I won’t steal his thunder; go take a look.

6 Responses to “Tuesdays with St. Thomas: Books about St. Thomas”

  1. Niggardly Phil says:

    Pieper I’ve heard good things about, I only have his Leisure As the Basis of Culture.

    Chenu and Grabmann are old school Thomists from the Aeterni Patris days. I think Grabmann did a lot of the manual analysis. Chenu was a Dominican, involved in Vatican II.

    Stay away from Farrell – he tends to fall in with the Joseph Marechal line of thinking (Joseph de Finance, Karl Rahner, etc etc), a bizarre Frankenstein’s monster cobbled together of Kant and Thomas that just won’t die. Thomists the world over should gather with pitchforks and fire and put Transcendental Thomism out of its misery.

  2. Jeff Vehige says:

    Farrell’s a transcendental Thomist? Maybe in his more speculative works, but My Way of Life seems pretty true to the standard interpretation of St. Thomas that you’d find in Maritain, and Gilson.

    Grabmann was a historical theologian, and he was one of the first to focus on understanding Thomas within the milieu of the 13th century. J.-P. Torrell’s work is in the same genre — seeking a historical understanding of St. Thomas.

    I’d recommend anything by Josef Pieper. Anything.

  3. Niggardly Phil says:

    I haven’t read My Way of Life, so I can’t speak to that, but his work on Metaphysics is on its way there.

    Well, I may be persnickety, niggardly even, but I’m not a huge fan of some the writings of either Maritain or Gilson, those Toronto Thomists. They did much in popularizing reading Thomas, and that’s a great thing, but for profundity and precision they may be lacking.

    What about the treasure that is Laval? Charles DeKoninck, Ralph MacInerny, Grenier, &c. Also, Gredt osb is great, and that whole Freiburg school had some great things going on.

    But before any of those, why not just read St Thomas? or perhaps one of his commentators?

  4. Jeff Vehige says:

    I find reading St. Thomas without the help of a teacher leads to a very shallow reading of St. Thomas. Perhaps it has to do with the way the ST is organized. Not having a solid grasp of the scholastic queastio or dialectical argument, one can easily look for the “answer” to the “question” without seeking to understand St. Thomas’s argument or how his argument fits within the large scope of his thought.

  5. Niggardly Phil says:

    Fair enough. There is a lot presupposed to reading the works of St Thomas. The difficulty has to do with what the object of the Summa, and the nature of sacred doctrine.

    The problem I usually see is lack of logic as an instrumental science. That’s a foundation necessary to read his works profitably. But one who has a good grasp on logic can read the Summa with much profit, and learn quite a bit of the Metaphysics along the way.

    Logic logic logic, its just not taught in the way it needs to be. It’s like trying to master chess without learning tactics.

  6. Niggardly Phil says:

    by the way, here is McInerny’s intro:
    http://www.nd.edu/~rmcinern/da_summa.pdf

    and an index of some other stuff:
    http://www.nd.edu/~rmcinern/