Read from November 11 to 12, 2015
Description: his course is an introduction to Thomas Aquinas (1225—1274), his life, his work, the system of his thought—generally called Thomism—and some of his distinctive teachings. It deals also with some of the legacy of Thomism, particularly the neo-Thomism of the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the post-modern critique of neo-Thomism and Thomas’s original thought.
The course begins with a narrative of Thomas’s life and inevitably discusses his social, cultural, and institutional context—the latter of which defined him, as has been the case with few philosophers. He was very much the product of the scholastic university, as characterized by the ideals of the Dominican order and the needs of the medieval Church.
The course moves then to a consideration of his massive work and of the various genres in which he wrote. Reactions, positive and negative, to the immense impact made by Aquinas and his huge body of writings in different genres (an enormous output, for a man who was an active teacher and who died at age forty-nine) engage our attention next.
After that, we move to a survey of some of his most distinctive and influential teachings: on God and His Creation (i.e., the entire universe as known to Aquinas’s time); the human creature; ethics, virtues, and vices (including the ever-vexing question of Original Sin); human sexuality and its consequences; and law and the rightful relation of the natural state to the Christian Church. Finally, we discuss Thomas’s ideas about beauty and other aesthetic issues, as revealed in "didactic" religious poetry written by (or at least attributed to) him, including "Adoro te devote" and "Pange, lingua."
The antidote to this, should you need one, is BERTRAND RUSSELL ON ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
Lecture 1: Thomas's Early Life
Lecture 2: Thomas's Life 1248-1274
Lecture 3: The Four Summa
Lecture 4: Quaestiones disputatae de veritate
Lecture 5: Condemnation and Canonisation
Lecture 6: God
Lecture 7: Sin
Lecture 8: Sex Love Marriage and the Family (no rock and roll here)
Lecture 10:Church and State
Lecture 11: Law an Politics
Lecture 12: Theology and Poetry
Interesting in parts, however, in no way enjoyable, must have been green tea bereft when I picked this one up.