In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Thomas Aquinas

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Manuscripts
  • Opera Omnia
  • Other Editions
  • Journals and Series
  • Bibliographies
  • Lexicons, Indices, and Dictionaries
  • Major Commentaries on Aristotle
  • Shorter Commentaries on Aristotle
  • On the Gospels
  • On the Pauline Letters
  • On Job
  • Works of Theological Synthesis
  • Quodlibetal and Disputed Questions
  • Philosophical Opuscula
  • Short Apologetic Works
  • Works on the Mendicant Controversy
  • Spiritual Works
  • Logic
  • Human Nature
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Trinitarian Theology
  • Christology
  • Sacra Doctrina
  • Aquinas’s Sources
  • Analytic Thomism
  • Condemnations of 1277

Medieval Studies Thomas Aquinas
M.V. Dougherty
  • LAST REVIEWED: 25 February 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0139


Thomas Aquinas (b. 1224/5, d. 1274) is widely recognized as one of the greatest theologians of the medieval period, and his works have been influential in the disciplines of theology as well as philosophy. He is best known as the author of the Summa theologiae, a systematic presentation of theology that remained unfinished at his death. In the early 1240s Aquinas joined the Dominican Order in Naples. His studies brought him first to Paris, and then Cologne, where he studied under Albert the Great, and then back to Paris. He taught theology in Paris, Orvieto, Rome, Paris again, and Naples. Aquinas was a prolific author, whose literary corpus includes detailed commentaries on Scripture and on many of Aristotle’s works as well as works on a wide variety of theological topics. Aquinas was a synthesizer of traditions and was influenced by his readings of Aristotle, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Arabic commentators on Aristotle. He was canonized by John XXII in 1323 and designated as a Doctor of the Church by the Dominican, Pius V, in 1567. Since the 16th century he has been designated as the Angelic Doctor (Doctor angelicus).

General Overviews

Chenu 1964 and Chenu 2002 are influential works defending the view that Aquinas’s writings should be interpreted in light of the historical contexts in which they were composed. Kretzmann and Stump 1993 and Davies and Stump 2012 are each edited collections featuring essays by specialists who emphasize philosophical topics in discussing the wide scope of Aquinas’s writings. O’Meara 1997 emphasizes Aquinas’s theological orientation, in contrast to philosophical presentations such as Gilson 2002. Davies 1992 emphasizes Aquinas’s views in the Summa theologiae, and Stump 2003 provides a contemporary appreciation of the whole range of Aquinas’s philosophical views.

  • Chenu, M. -D. Toward Understanding Saint Thomas. Translated by A. -M. Landry and D. Hughes. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1964.

    This introduction to Aquinas emphasizes the historical conditions and particular contexts within which Aquinas composed his particular works. Translates (with authorized corrections and bibliographical additions) Introduction à l’étude de Saint Thomas d’Aquin (Montreal: Institut d’Études Médiévales Paris: J. Vrin, 1950).

  • Chenu, M.-D. Aquinas and His Role in Theology. Translated by Paul Philibert. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002.

    A short introduction to Aquinas that translates of St. Thomas d’Aquin et la théologie (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1959).

  • Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992.

    General introduction to Aquinas’s thought that emphasizes the doctrines of the Summa theologiae.

  • Davies, Brian, and Eleonore Stump. The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195326093.001.0001

    A large collection of thirty-eight essays that highlights philosophical themes in Aquinas’s works.

  • Gilson, Etienne. Thomism: The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Translated by Laurence K. Schook and Armand Maurer. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2002.

    Influential philosophical interpretation of Aquinas that emphasizes Aquinas’s account of being and the relationship of faith and reason. Translates the sixth edition and last edition of Le thomisme: Introduction à la philosophie de saint Thomas d’Aquin (Paris: J. Vrin, 1965).

  • Kretzmann, Norman, and Eleonore Stump, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521431956

    A collection of ten essays by specialists on the main philosophical themes of Aquinas’s writings.

  • O’Meara, Thomas Franklin. Thomas Aquinas: Theologian. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.

    Highlights the theological rather than philosophical features of Aquinas’s work. Focuses on the Summa theologiae.

  • Stump, Eleonore. Aquinas. London: Routledge, 2003.

    A massive study of Aquinas’s thought approached in light of the concerns and nomenclature of contemporary philosophers.

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