'A teacher's questioning must use reason to explore the root of truths ... quoting naked authority will declare a thing certain but give no shred of understanding of how it is true, sending students away empty-headed' Thomas Aquinas
Aquinas was a thirteenth-century university teacher educating students in an ecclesiastical tradition, but because he thought authority without reason could not make sense of truth he taught his students how to question. Timothy McDermott examines some of Aquinas'squestions and asks whether they can make sense of the truths the twenty-first century takes for granted. He considers the role of regularity and chance in the natural world, mind and matter, freedom and moral obligation, law and society, suffering and evil, hope and hopelessness, and what place can rationally be given to Jesus Christ, to religion and churches, to faith and love and a God. Extracts are taken from the records of Aquinas's classroom disputations (Quaestiones Disputatae) and two brilliant conspectuses of his teaching: the Summa Contra Gentes, which attempted a reasoned dialogue with non-Christian (mainly Arabic) scholars, and the Summa Theologiae, which was addressed to his Christian students.
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 100 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 8 mm
* 'These books let you encounter thinkers eyeball to eyeball by analysing passages from their work' Terry Eagleton, New Statesman * 'These deceptively slim volumes really are a course in "How to Read", not "How to Pretend to Have Read''' John Banville, Irish Times * 'Each author offers a smart take on how to approach reading his subject's works by providing historical and biographical detail, critical debate and sample excerpts of text' Sarah Sennott, Newsweek