Monday, 2 January 2017

Quoran Questions on St Thomas and Other Medieval


I
What did Thomas Aquinas write?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Short answer : LOTS.

Longer answer : most famously, Summa Theologica, and Adoro Te Devote.

Nearly as well known, Summa contra Gentes.

Quite a few Quodlibetical questions and answers (he would have been a great quoran if alive now), quite a few comments on works by others who lived earlier, both about half the Books in the Bible and most works by Aristotle AND the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

The last parts of the Summa Theologica were collected after his death from appropriate portions of Sentence commentary, but with disposition borrowed from the parts of the Summa Theologica he did write.

He also wrote answers against particular errors, most notably Averroist ones. De Unitate Intellectus contra Averroes.

Jennifer Formichelli
His great work is the Summa Theologica, that is, the sum of all our knowledge of theology, of the word of God. He drew heavily on Aristotle's philosophy & essentially integrated his Ethics into Christisn thought, bridging the classical and Christian worlds of thought. He is the great thinker behind the poetry of Dante.

Ton Krekels
"Tommaso d'Aquino, OP (1225 – 7 March 1274), also known as Thomas Aquinas (/əˈkwaɪnəs/), was an Italian dominican friar and Catholic priest who was an immensely influential philosopher, theologian andjurist in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus" and "Doctor Com-munis". He is heralded as the most influential Western medieval legal scholar and theologist. The name "Aquinas" identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino (in the present-day Lazio region), an area where his family held land until 1137."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

II
Did Thomas Aquinas believe in God? If so, what were his beliefs?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
If St Thomas Aquinas believed in God?

Despite rumours to the contrary, YES.

Why are there rumours to the contrary?

Well, the Summa Theologica has a disposition where a question is asked and a wrong answer, sometimes two wrong answers is/are given before the right answer.

That means that one article (Q2, A3) stars with the question “does God exist?” and the next words are “it would seem that God does not exist”.

Impatient and dishonest readers have from this concluded or made others conclude that St Thomas Aquinas did not believe in God.

What were his beliefs?

Strictly theistic ones, denying pantheism, materialism, atheism, polytheism and so forth in his conclusions from Q2 to Q26.

See also his even more explicit refutation of Averroistic pantheism in “De Unitate Intellectus adversus Averroistas”.

Strictly Trinitarian ones, which he details in QQ27 - 43.

This Trinitarianism strictly Filioquist, as per Q37.

I am sorry, I can’t edit my answer, but the citations are incomplete.

All the ones I have given shall be completed by the additional information of this being in Part I or Prima Pars.

The other parts (Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae, Tertia) have other content on those question numbers!

Anthony Zarrella
Absolutely. Thomas Aquinas was probably the most prominent Christian theologian of all time (though I imagine some Protestants would give Augustine the edge), and is a Doctor of the Church in Catholicism.

His beliefs were those of fully-orthodox Catholicism. Giving a full explanation would take whole books (... like his Summa Theologica, for instance...), but look up the doctrines of the Catholic Church in the 1200s (doctrines, not mere informal beliefs), and that covers what St. Thomas's beliefs were.

Alison Bennett
Since he went to so much trouble to prove the existence of God, I think you can conclude that yes, he did.

Five Ways to Prove that God exists -- The Arguments

Pete Ashly
This raises some interesting questions, whether the god he spent all his energy on was the same god he died with.

What could St Thomas Aquinas have seen in his mystical experience?
https://www.quora.com/What-could-St-Thomas-Aquinas-have-seen-in-his-mystical-experience


Alison Bennett
Thank you for this! I was not aware of his end of life thoughts. Totally fascinating. I only studied Aquinas as part of a very broad Religious Studies class in college and never explored the end of his life. I think doubt, even serious doubt, doesn't necessarily mean he stopped believing. I mean, I am not a religious person at all, but I am always interested. Deeply religious and intellectual people are so much more interesting than people whose religious devotion is only taught and not explored. I am glad that you knew about this and shared your knowledge.

Pete Ashly
It's said during the dark night of the soul some move from belief in god to realization whatever that means

III
What was Thomas Aquinas's life like?

A curious childhood. He wanted to know “what is God?”

Obviously, the question “who is God” was already answered, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

A youth fighting a noble family trying to force him away from his vocation.

A life as a student where his talent searched obscurity, until someone else’s wrong answer made him impatient to correct it.

A life as a “monk” (technically friars aren’t monks) and priest in which he certainly wrote very much and seeing from what he wrote searched to be as just and decent as possible in hearing confessions. And did that with genius.

A death probably from metabolism troubles, while (as always after becoming Dominican) obeying to his death the orders of his superiors, and a last confession after which his father confessor revealed that his soul was as pure as that of a four year old boy.

And between that a hidden life in which he had extasies and visions, and hid them as best he could.

IV
How did Thomas Aquinas die?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
As a Catholic and receiving the sacraments.

As a friar and on his way, homeless, and finally, as a writer and speaker, called as an expert.

Chandler Simmons
"Called to attend the Second Council of Lyons, [Aquinas] apparently hit his head against a low-lying tree branch while on the journey, and sustained a serious injury. He was taken to the Cistercian abbey at Fossanova, where he was nursed by the monks, but died on March 7, 1274."

Edward Feser, Aquinas, p. 6

Hans-Georg Lundahl
I was wrong on metabolism troubles then.

V
What was Thomas Aquinas right about?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nearly everything.

It is more easy to enumerate what he was wrong about, and it seems at some moment at least he had some scruple against the Immaculate Conception, thinking the Blessed Virgin could not have been sanctified immediately at conception, but needed to wait exactly one instant (probably shorter than one second).

I don’t think the Church has pronounced him wrong on any other thing.

Gwydion Madawc Williams
He split the Natural and the Supernatural. This allowed people to think about science without worrying about God.

Mostly still believing in God, until the 18th century, but with God effectively "kicked upstairs", honoured but denied a serious role.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
He didn’t split them.

He didn’t allow people to think about science without worrying about God.

VI
Did Dante Alighieri ever meet Thomas Aquinas?

wasn't Dante inspired by the Summa Theologica?

Olivier Garamfalvi
It is unlikely, as Dante Alighieri would have been approximately nine years old when Thomas Aquinas died in 1274.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Dante very certainly knew lots of the content of Summa, whether from that book or because it was general culture (to which that book is our best access, perhaps not Dante’s), I don’t know.

That they met on Earth is improbable; Olivier Garamfalvi noted Dante was nine years old when St Thomas died, and Dante was from Florence and I don’t think St Thomas went there.

That they met in Heaven I hope.

VII
How did Dante Alighieri get his start as an author? How popular was he in his own time?

[Note how I misread the name first ...]

Hans-Georg Lundahl
As he was a friar and writing on order of his superiors, it was NOT a question of finding an editor.

He was probably fairly popular, since he was also a speaker. Recently TAN Books published a series of Catechetical sermons he held, which are preserved in the Latin of his secretary, while he held them in French or Italian, depending on where he held them, which I don’t know.

They are sermons on the Creed, the Commandments, the Pater and the Ave. He made some other sermons too of same type, not included in that catechism (that would include one on the seven sacraments, I presume).

Sorry, misread Thomas Aquinas for Dante Allighieri.

Now, Dante was writing love poetry in Vita Nuova - always tends to be popular and his was good - and he was also a political partisan. Meaning he had support from fellow … actually not Ghibellines, at first, but one of two divisions of Guelfs.

ALSO he was a noble and a cavalry man.

VIII
What cities have the most medieval (1000 - 1500 AD) monuments that still survive?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
I will not give specific cities.

I will give a principle.

  • It must have existed in Middle Ages.
  • It must not have been completely destroyed in later part or after them.
  • It must not have been rebuilt extensively by people ashamed of Middle Ages.


Malmö is out, because it’s from Renaissance. In Middle Ages it was just barely a fishing village.

Cologne is out, it was most of it destroyed in 1945.

Stockholm, excepting the part known as Gamla Stan is out, because of extensive rebuilding in more modern styles. Though most churches are medieval.

That said, most churches from Middle Ages were destroyed at Reformation in countries like Sweden, Denmark or England.

Malmö has a castle built from stones of torn down Churches and was Denmark back then. Sigtuna, which was already Swedish and has not ever been anything else, had 20 Churches of which only the Dominican St Mary’s Church survived, while others were torn down. I suppose the same thing happened in England.

Rome has probably more from Renaissance and Baroque than from Middle Ages.

Anonymous
Cairo has to have one of the largest concentration of Medieval buildings. This site lists a few of them.

15 Top Tourist Attractions in Cairo & Easy Day Trips | PlanetWare

I've visited and the contrast with Downtown (built in the 1800’s and modelled on Paris) is amazing. Cairo is not a pretty city (it's too crowded and dirty) but the amount of history is awe-inspiring.

Goran Forssell
in France and Italy there is plenty of them. Some in Great Britain and in Spain.

San Gimignano Italy

Toledo Spain

Carcassonne France

Castle Combe GB

Visby Sweden

[Visby - obviously!]

John Bartram
My local city - Canterbury city walls (medieval atop Roman):

England has many such historic sites, including cities.

London, of course - Tower of London viewed from the River Thames.:

Last year, I had a lovely holiday here:

View from the tower of St Mary's church, Rye, East Sussex, southern England. The white-painted building is the Methodist church. The Ypres Tower in the centre-left marks the cliff-edge which defines the citadel. Below the cliff, roofs of buildings beside the River Tillingham can be seen, with yacht masts beyond. The river joins the River Rother and winds across Romney Marshes to the English Channel:

Ypres frontage: The main street:

We lost quite a bit of our architectural heritage in WW2 due to the infamous Baedeker Blitz, but much remains.

IX
Few achievements in the medieval period are so astounding which we could not crack. Did they have entirely a different set of knowledge which is lost?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
In glass windows, miniature paintings and versification - and some genres of music - I agree the results are astounding.

For glass paintings and miniature, there may be colour pigments we have lost the art of making.

Versification, we can learn again anytime, thanks to the results serving as examples.

Alberto Yagos
I suppose the question goes for “lost” secrets like Damascus steel which we now produce manyfolds better.

With some medieval technologies we are only surprised with the results they reached with the poor resources and knowledge they had.

And the usual explanation is exaggeration and exceptional raw materials (like in the case of Damascis steel or Roman concrete).

Hans-Georg Lundahl
“with the poor resources and knowledge they had.”

Oh?

Alberto Yagos
Yes, compared with now.

I know there was science, I know they made a lot of discoveries. But compared to what we have learned in the last 100 years is poor.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
I am not so sure what we have now isn’t rather marginal to the ordinary uses of things for human life.

Edit : have now and didn’t have then, that is.

X
Are there any films set during the migration period or early medieval period from the perspective of the Germanic tribes?

There are so many films about the Roman Empire but I've never really seen anything from the perspective of the Germans. Even Charlemagne, who is a well known historical figure, seems to be absent from any major film.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
How about Die Nibelungen?

Die Nibelungen (1966/1967 film) - Wikipedia

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