What’s All This, Then?

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:



3 Responses to “What’s All This, Then?”

  1. Which would you tackle first – the 1310-page Summa Contra Gentiles or the 3020-page Summa Theologiae? Do you know which is more difficult, or requires more philosophical background? Would you find one more interesting/useful to start with than the other?

  2. Will says:

    The SCG goes into more detail, which might be easier or might be harder. The ST goes into less detail but covers a lot more area. As to which is easier, I really couldn’t say; both require the same philosophical/theological background.

    I have to say, I’ve found that working through the CT, as I said I would do in this post, has been a fruitful way to begin to pick it up.

    You should probably also take a look at the blog “Just Thomism” (google it).

  3. Will do – thanks for the tips.