The Life and Works of Thomas Aquinas (Thomas of Aquinas)June 26, 2021
Thomas Aquinas (pronounced Tomas Aquinas) is a very important thinker who has deeply influenced the entire history of philosophy after him. Of course, it would be wrong to compare the magnitude of his influence with that of Aristotle, whose ideas he greatly benefited from. Still, Thomas Aquinas has a well-deserved reputation as the philosopher who best interpreted Aristotle.
The name Thomas Aquinas is a name used by the main philosophy historians generally accepted in the West. Apart from Thomas Aquinas, the names Thomas Aquino, only Thomas and Tommasso of Aquinum are also used to describe himself. Here, as we mentioned at the beginning, we prefer a name commonly used by medieval philosophy experts, whom we consider reliable. The name Aquinas comes from Aquinum, where he was born. Thomas Aquinas was born in 1224 or 1225. In some sources, the year 1226 is also mentioned as the date of birth.
Aquinas’ father was the ruler of the region of Roccasecca and Montesangiovanni. His mother, Theodora (d. 1255), came from the Caracciolo dynasty of Naples. His paternal grandmother, Francesca de Suabia, was Barbarossa’s sister. As can be understood from here, Thomas Aquinas is not only an important philosophically groundbreaking identity; but he also draws attention as an important political personality of his period. However, he chose a life away from politics, repeating what many philosophers had done in the past.
Septem artes liberales or seven free arts consists of two main parts. The first of these consists of Trivium (triad) grammar, rhetoric and dialectic (logic); the second Quadrivium includes arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Which of these branches the universities established at that time tended to, became an important quality that also determined their understanding of education.
Until the age of 19, Thomas Aquinas received an education at a school in Naples, focusing specifically on the seven free arts (septem artes liberales). His lecturers were predominantly Aristotelian. It should be emphasized here that the philosophy of Aristotle is in fact in serious contradiction with the official teaching of the Church. According to Aristotle, the universe was an eternal structure. According to him, there was no need for the “demiurgos”, one of the important figures of the Platonic understanding of the universe. In this regard, “Primum mobile” was sufficient. Therefore, Aristotle was prevented from taking part in the Western Middle Ages, especially with his works named Physics and Metaphysics. The best example of this is that Aristotle’s philosophy was banned at the University of Paris for a very long time. Thomas Aquinas took lessons from very important philosophers in the Dominican order he entered in 1244. In Paris, especially Albertus Magnus
We can say that the lessons he gave left a deep impact on him.
The ban on the teaching of Aristotle’s works in European universities was introduced in 1210, and it was enforced more strictly with the Papal orders in 1215 and 1228.
In 1248, he went with his teacher to the city of Cologne in what is now Germany. During his four years there, he did important work and returned to Paris on the recommendation of Albertus Magnus. He gave lectures on Petrus Lombardus’ Sententiae in Paris. Thomas Aquinas remained in Paris until the early 1260s. He returned to Naples that year. He gave lectures in different cities in Italy until 1268 and returned to Paris in the same year. He was appointed head of a school founded in Naples in 1272. He stopped writing in December 1273. Witnesses state that the following words are his own: “I will not write any more, that’s enough. When I look back, I see that all this has been a big bullshit. Truth is too pure and unique to endure all this nonsense in order for it to be expressed. I will never disturb the truth again.”
Sententiae is an important work that examines the theological issues and the thoughts of the Church Fathers in a very wide area, written by Petrus Lombardus with a systematic and logical method. Working on this work has become a tradition and even a necessity for those who want to become magisters, that is, educators at universities.
He was invited to a meeting in Lyon by the Pope of the time, Gregorius X. He set out in March 1274; but on the way, he passed away on March 7, in the vicinity of Campania.
All the works of Thomas Aquinas are available in the Piana edition published in 1570. The Parma edition (1852-1873), reprinted in New York in 1948, together with the Paris edition published in 1871-1880, are notable collective publications. The most important publication work in the twentieth century was carried out by the Marietti publishing house in Turin. English and French translations of almost all his works