Aquinas

Aquinas

Aquinas

Aquinas

Excerpt

Aquinas was a university professor and teacher, and his works bear the impersonal and objective stamp which one naturally associates with writers of his profession. There was no obvious drama in his life, comparable to that for which Socrates is always remembered. Nor was he one of those strange, lonely figures like Nietzsche, whose personalities exercise a constant attraction for biographers and psychologists. The main facts of his life can therefore be narrated very briefly.

The exact date of Aquinas' birth is uncertain, though it probably took place early in 1225. He came of an originally Lombard family and was born at the castle of Roccasecca near the small town of Aquino which lies between Naples and Rome. At a very early age he was sent to the abbey of Monte Cassino for elementary schooling, and in 1239 he went as a student to the university of Naples, which had been founded by the Emperor Frederick of in 1224. While at Naples he entered the Dominican Order, and this action aroused opposition on the part of his family, who shut him up for a time under guard. On regaining his freedom he went north to pursue his studies under Albert the Great, also a Dominican, at Paris and Cologne. After returning from Cologne to Paris in 1252 he lectured according to custom first on the Scriptures, from 1252 to 1964, and then on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, from 1264, to 1256. In the medieval university the practice of explaining and commenting on a text occupied a prominent place, and the Libri quattuor sententiarum (Four Books of Opinions), a mainly theological work compiled by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century, continued to be used as a textbook until the end of the sixteenth century. The leading theologians and philosophers of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, including Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham, lectured and wrote commentaries on it.

In 1256 Aquinas became a regular professor of theology . . .

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