Political Writings

By R. W. Dyson; Thomas Aquinas | Go to book overview

Introduction

St Thomas Aquinas

St Thomas was born in 12251 into a wealthy and influential south-Italian family. Landulph, his father, was Count of Aquino; Theodora, his mother, Countess of Teano; the family was related to the Emperors Henry VI and Frederick II, and to the Kings of Aragon, France and Castile. He began his education in 1230 as an oblate at the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, where his uncle, Landulph Sinibaldi, was Abbot. In 1238 he entered the Studium generale at Naples. In 1245, despite great opposition from his family, he became a member of the Dominican order and went to the University of Paris, where the German theologian Albertus Magnus introduced him to the study of Aristotle. In 1248 he followed Albertus to Cologne. Between 1252 and 1256, as part of his preparation for his licentia docendi, he compiled his Scripta super libros sententiarum, the treatise on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which had become a standard part of medieval university education. He received his licence to teach in 1256. The next eighteen years were spent teaching and studying at Paris, Naples, Orvieto, Viterbo and Rome. His Summa contra gentiles –amanualfor missionaries to the Moslems and Jews of Spain and north Africa - was completed at Orvieto in 1264. He began the Summa theologiae at Rome in 1266 and worked on it until forced by ill health to desist in 1273. During a finalstint at the University of Paris between 1269 and 1272 hewrotetwelve commentaries on the works of Aristotle, including the Ethics and Politics.

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1
St Thomas's earliest biographer, Peter Calo (1300)gives 1227 as his date of birth. See D. Prümmer, Fontes Vitae S. Thomae Aquinatis, notis historicis et criticis illustrati (Toulouse, 1911), pp. 28; 45. FrPrümmer accepts 1227, but 1225 seems more likely on the whole.

-xvii-

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Political Writings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • Introduction xvii
  • A Brief Chronology of St Thomas's Life xxxvii
  • Bibliography xxxviii
  • 1 - Government and Politics 1
  • 2 - Obedience 57
  • 3 - Law 76
  • 4 - Right, Justice and Judgment1 158
  • 5 - Property Relations 205
  • 6 - War, Sedition and Killing 239
  • 7 - Religion and Politics 267
  • Biographical Glossary 279
  • Index 297
  • Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought *
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