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Paperback Aquinas for Armchair Theologians Book

ISBN: 0664223044

ISBN13: 9780664223045

Aquinas for Armchair Theologians

(Part of the Armchair Theologians Series)

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Book Overview

Thomas Aquinas was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Christianity and in western civilization. Yet his theological views are complex and presume acquaintance with technical... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Aquinqs for Armchair TheologiansA masterfuul

A masterful, clearly understandable explanation of profound theological an phylosophical concepts of Thomas Aquinas's writtings. The introjected humor is delightful and refreshing. The author injected objectivity in presenting and interpreting the ideas of St. Thomas. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone who is interested in how this humble monk influenced the culture for centuries to the present time.

Excellent, very accessible introduction to Aquinas

This may not be the most in depth and detailed introduction to Thomas Aquinas, but it is easily one of the most accessible. If you are just looking for a quick introduction before jumping in deeper, this is the book to start with. It could easily be read in a day if you wished, yet it provides the essentials of who Aquinas was and what he's all about. Being raised Catholic, I had some idea that Thomas Aquinas was a giant in the eyes of the church, but I had no idea of his extensive influence on western thinking. This book shows the influence of Aquinas in our modern culture, not just within the Catholic church. Of course not all of Aquinas's thinking has survived into our modern culture. Some of his ideas are very much at odds with modern culture. This book is well balanced in describing Aquinas's greatness while at the same time recognizing that even great thinkers can have strange notions. If you are Catholic and looking for spiritual reading, you might be put off by the fact that this is not a book written to acknowledge Aquinas as a saint, but I would encourage you to put aside your misgivings. The book provides such an easy introduction to Aquinas, you are more likely to read more of Aquinas's writings, and to understand them better for having started with this book, than if you were to just jump into his works without this introduction. On the other hand, if you have no interest in Aquinas for religious reasons, but just want to know about him and his influence on western thinking,this is certainly a book you can feel comfortable with. There is no proselytizing here. The perspective is simply of Aquinas as a great man whose influence on western thought has been extensive. A particularly helpful feature is the last chapter in which some tips are given if you want to begin reading Aquinas's works directly. The format of the Summa in particular is very helpful to understand. There is also an excellent list at the end of the book with suggestions for further reading. All in all, this is a brief but excellent and very accessible introduction to Thomas Aquinas.

Accessible Aquinas

As a Protestant who went to a secular college and avoided philosophy courses like the plague, I knew that St. Thomas Aquinas was a Medieval monk who had a lot of Catholic high schools named after him, and that was about it. Then I read "Aristotle's Children" by Richard Rubenstein; Rodney Stark's trilogy on the influence of monotheism, "One True God," "For the Glory of God," and "The Victory of Reason;" and "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" by Thomas Woods. It seemed that this Aquinas fellow was worthy of further study. I read "Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes," which turned out to be a waste of an hour and a half. Then I found this book, which served as an excellent popular introduction to one of the greatest philosopher/theologians of any age. St. Thomas' writings have had a profound influence in shaping our modern world. Almost everything about our Western value system owes something to his thought. Renick's book explains how this can be in brief, clear, easy-to-understand English. You can read the book in a single sitting, but I would recommend spending some time thinking about each chapter before going to the next. The last chapter of the book gives advice on how to read Aquinas, which is very helpful, because (1) you'll want to read some of Aquinas' writings after you finish this book (I tried "Aquinas' Shorter Summa"), and (2) you'll find that Aquinas' writings aren't as easy to read as this book. The book's brevity and humor are both assets and liabilities. They make the book easily accessible and entertaining to read, but brevity must come at the cost of superficiality, and the humor is of the type that will quickly become dated. Readers of the future will doubtless be mystified by the references to Frazier's dog, Eddie.

Quite easy to understand!

Timothy M. Renick does a fairly admirable job at explaining Thomas Aquinas and his thought. He wrestled and explained the often confusing theological issues with surprising clarity. Now I must admit this book is very basic which serves its purpose admirably. The best thing about Renick is his analogies are so relevant and well thought out. There is no doubt he has a skill for engaging and making the reader think. Some of the comments were a little much, but overall if you would like to know more about Aquinas and don't feel particularly confident starting with the Summa, start right here. He will explain things so you have a roadmap and a small foundation so you can expand your studies of Thomas. Just from reading this book I can imagine Renick would be a pretty enjoyable teacher in the classroom. Thomas was no doubt extremely intelligent and it would be very valuable to study and learn about his thought and influence. This book could have even been expanded or made it to a two part series in order to cover more of Thomas. I found the chapters on abortion, politics, and free will to be extremely important and interesting.

An Excellent Introduction. Very clear.

Aquinas is one of those figures who I know that I should know something about, but his writings are (far too) long and complicated. This book provides an excellent and serious introduction to Aquinas's thought--and one that is also very funny. The book covers topics like Aquinas' views on God, abortion, sex, and war, and it shows how Aquinas shaped our current attitudes. I have similar introductions to Aquinas by Copleston and Chesterton; the Renick volume is by far the most accessible of the three and the one from which I learned the most. It should be required reading.
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