Saints Thomas Aquinas is a renowned priest and philosopher who wrote his name in the annals of history. Words would fail us in our attempt to describe a man who had influenced centuries of academic and religious thought with his methodical approach to harmonizing faith and reason. Notwithstanding, this article would try to unravel some of the breathtaking contributions and achievements of Thomas Aquinas to the advancement of theology and philosophy.
St. Thomas Aquinas was born in circa 1225, Roccasecca, Italy. He was the youngest of eight children born to Landulph and Theodora who were both nobles. His father was the Count of Aquino while his mother was the Countess of Theate. At the early age of 5, Aquinas was sent to the Abbey of Monte Cassino to be trained among other Benedictine monks. During his training at Monte Cassino, Aquinas was described as a witty child who repeatedly asked his benefactors challenging questions regarding the genealogy of God. He remained at Monte Cassino monastery till he was 13 when Italy’s political turmoil forced him to return to Naples.
In Circa 1239, Thomas Aquinas enrolled in the University of Naples where he secretly signed up to the order of Dominican monks much to his family’s detest. This singular act caused his family to kidnap him because they felt betrayed by his decision to abandon the principles they subscribed to. Thomas remained in captivity for the next one year as his family attempted to dissuade him from his new-found belief. Despite all odds, Thomas held fast to his belief and returned to the Dominican order after his release in circa 1245.
From 1245 to 1252, St. Aquinas returned to Naples to continue his studies with the Dominican order in Paris. In 1250, he was ordained a Dominican priest and subsequently went on to lecture at the University of Paris. During his lecturing days at the University of Paris, Thomas wrote the Summa Theologica one of his most famous books till date. However, St. Thomas Aquinas died at the monastery of Fossa Nova on March 7, 1274.
As an ardent theologian, Thomas Aquinas believed in the existence of God and the reality of divine nature. According to him, humanity can come to the knowledge of God through rational demonstration. By rational demonstration, Thomas means a kind of reasoning that illuminates our mind about the irrefutable existence of God.
Thomas Aquinas is well known for his theological writings. Till date, there are only a few theologians whose work rivals that of Aquinas. Below is a brief summary of his contributions:
- Religion: Most works of Thomas Aquinas were aimed at bringing illumination to the Christian doctrine. This was not surprising giving his position as a priest. His book Summa Theologica is a testament to his belief in the reality of divine nature and the existence of God.
- Education: Thomas Aquinas work has contributed immensely to education, with almost all his books and other writings serving as a source of reference to theologians and others in search of divine truth.
Thomas Aquinas is arguably the most eminent philosophical theologian of the medieval times. His legacy would remain highly cherished among scholars who view him as a man of right standing and unrivaled wisdom.
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