In this concise new volume by the acclaimed author of the biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Jean-Pierre Torrell brings his expertise to bear on Aquinas's Summa Theologiae. Readers will turn to this book again and again for a brief and popular introduction to Aquinas's masterpiece--its content; its historical, literary, and doctrinal settings; and its lasting significance. Torrell begins with an expert account of Aquinas's life and then turns his attention to the overall structures and specific content of the Summa. He considers the literary and doctrinal context of the Summa, situating the work within the overall literary corpus of the Angelic Doctor and examining Aquinas's Christian, Greek, Jewish, and Arab sources. The second half of the book surveys the history of the Summa's influence from Aquinas's death in 1274 through the twentieth century. Torrell traces the fate of Aquinas's Summa from its slow start, through the eventual emergence of Thomism, and finally to its widespread acceptance. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed the ultimate triumph of Aquinas's work with the encyclical Aeternis patris and, in the wake of Vatican II there has been renewed interest in its content and method. This book is a masterpiece of concision and completeness. It will be of considerable interest to readers seeking to understand and appreciate the content, method, and impact of the Summa and the man who wrote it.
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