Term Paper

Submitted By kellsbells295
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St. Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas is a famous Christian philosopher. Although he died very young, he lived his life to the fullest teaching people and even writing many volumes of books outlining his thoughts. Through Aquinas’ history and philosophical studies we know about his own views of philosophy. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 in southern Italy. “Before St. Thomas Aquinas was born, a holy hermit shared a prediction with his mother, foretelling that her son would enter the Order of Friars Preachers, become a great learner and achieve unequaled sanctity”( McInerny). His family dreamed of him becoming a part of the church. However, they also wanted him to become politically influential and wealthy. At five years old Aquinas was sent to Abbey of Monte Cassino to train among Benedictine monks and stayed there until he was 13. During his primary school years he was very interested in Aristotle and began to explore philosophy. In 1039 He went to study at the University of Naples. “At Naples, Aquinas encountered two influences that were to be of incalculable effect on his life: Aristotelian thought and Dominican spirituality. At Naples he met not only the thought of Aristotle --who was to become "the Philosopher" for medieval--but also the "Peripatetic" tradition of philosophical speculation as it was qualified by Neoplatonic efforts to harmonize Plato and Aristotle as well as by Islamic commentaries” (Synan). He decided to join the Dominican of Monks during his time at Naples. “Meeting those friars led this knight's son, whose family had sent him to a long-established and powerful monastery, to choose the vocation of a beggar in the service of the gospel. Like his discovery of Aristotelian thought, his discovery of the Dominicans was an experience Thomas found exciting and liberating” (Synan). His family did not approve of his new views. They went and kidnapped their son and held him hostage for a year to try and change his views he had learned. It was during these long lonely days Aquinas began his writing career. Their efforts were not successful in changing his thoughts and feelings. After he was released, he returned to be a part of the Dominican. Later he earned his doctorate in theology and spent the next years indulging himself in travel, teaching, and writing. St. Thomas Aquinas's views rejected Averroes's theory of double truths that faith and reason were opposite of one another. “He asserted that "both kinds of knowledge ultimately come from God" and were therefore compatible. Not only were they compatible, according to Thomas's ideology, they could work in collaboration” (McInerny). “He achieved a great compromise between Christian teaching and philosophy by giving each its due and seeking to show that they could coexist peacefully” (Lawhead 180). Aquinas decided that human knowledge could be divided into two areas. The first area is truths given to us in revelation and known by faith. The second area is truths revealed in nature and known by reasoning from experience. “The two approaches to knowledge are complementary because theology starts from God and moves to knowledge of the world, whereas philosophy moves from empirical facts about nature and reasons to God” (Lawhead 181). From this he came to say that there are two kinds of philosophy. That which is supernatural and natural theology that seeks to prove God based on our experiences. In Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, he is giving an example of natural theology. His book is divided into three parts to explain this thought process. The first part is about the existence of God and all of the things God did while creating the earth. In this he states all the questions that might be an issue. The second part is about the purpose of man. He tries to contradict everything he thinks in order to see different sides and views. The last part of his book is dealing with Christ and his resurrection. Here he is going back over the questions and