How did Aristotle influence Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas: The Aristotle of the Middle Ages

What does Thomas Aquinas mean for the philosophy of the Middle Ages?

With his interpretation of the writings of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas is considered the most important theologian and philosopher of the High Middle Ages. He is called "doctor angelicus" (angelic teacher). His influence on Christian thought can only be compared to that of Augustine.

Augustine had interpreted Christianity from the point of view of Platonism and thus determined Christian philosophy for centuries. The second great thinker of antiquity came into play in high scholasticism: Aristotle. It was Thomas Aquinas who accepted this challenge.

What influence did Aristotle have on medieval thinking?

Until the end of the 12th century, Aristotle was only known through a few writings on logic. One was now confronted with the metaphysical works of Aristotle through the Arab-Jewish philosophy, and a little later also through direct translation from the Greek. This meant a tremendous upheaval and fertilization of thinking. A comprehensive Aristotle reception began. The church felt unsettled and threatened by this new, more secular philosophy. There were several Aristotle prohibitions, but ultimately they could not prevent the upheaval.

How did a young count get into philosophy?

Due to fortunate circumstances, Thomas, who was born around 1225 in Roccasecca Castle near Aquino in the Neapolitan language and comes from a noble family, was introduced to Aristotle's philosophy very early on. Later, as a young Dominican, he studied in Cologne with Albertus Magnus, the founder of Christian Aristotelianism. Here Thomas developed into the most important Aristotle interpreter of the Middle Ages. He taught in Paris and Italy. In his enormous work he attempts a comprehensive synthesis between the faith of the gospel, tradition and Aristotelian philosophy. Platonic thoughts also flow into this. Thomas is initially attacked and attacked, his theses are condemned by the church.

What is fundamentally new about Thomas?

What is new is the consistent belief in independence and one's own worth in the world. For Neoplatonism, real being is only the being of the world of ideas. Our concrete world of experience, on the other hand, is rather a non-being, a transitory image, a reference to the hereafter. A certain contempt for the world is obvious. Correspondingly, knowledge can only come about by turning away from the sensible world. Return to yourself, was the motto of Augustine. But Thomas goes the opposite way and follows Aristotle. Go outside! From sensory knowledge we come to the truth. It is precisely theological reasons that lead Thomas on this path. If the world was created by God, then it must have value in itself and human reason must be able to reach God from creation.

How does the philosopher explain the relationship between body and soul?

Thomas defines a completely new relationship between body and soul. For Augustine the immortal soul had only an external connection to a mortal body. But Thomas overcomes this separation. He also believes in the immortality of the soul, but for him body and soul are not only in an external, but also in an internal connection, because the soul is the essential form of the body. Man is body and soul unity and wholeness.

Did Thomas Aquinas think "modern"?

Thomas attaches great importance to the individual's conscience. His thinking points to the modern age, because in ancient thought the general still had priority over the individual. In Thomas' philosophy, the individual has priority over the general.

What is Thomas' main work?

The main work of Thomas Aquinas is the unfinished "Sum of theology". "Sum" is understood to mean a medieval systematic representation, especially of theology and philosophy, in which rational arguments take up a great deal of space. In the Middle Ages there was an entire "sum literature", including the works of the first great "summist" Petrus Lombardus, who lived in the 12th century, or the "Summa theologiae" of Albertus Magnus, with whom Thomas Aquinas studied.

Did you know that …

Thomas Aquinas 1323 by Pope John XXII. was canonized?

the Aquinate - as he is also called - should have become abbot of a Benedictine monastery according to his parents' plan? Against his parents' wishes, however, he decided to join the Dominican mendicant order.