Thomas Aquinas Essays

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That is what”settles the Manichees.” Faith is higher than reason; but reason is higher than anything else, and has supreme rights in its own domain.Therefore, he made a cosmos of common sense; terra vientium; a land of the living.His philosophy, like his theology, is that of common sense.A great gentleman could be decorously admitted into the now ancient routine of the Benedictines; like a squire’s younger son becoming a parson.But the world had just been shaken by a religious revolution, and strange feet were on all the highways.To understand his importance, we must pit him against the two or three alternative cosmic creeds: he is the whole Christian intellect speaking to Paganism or to Pessimism.He is arguing across the ages with Plato or with Buddha; and he has the best of the argument. Thomas confronts other creeds of good and evil, without at all denying evil, with a theory of two levels of good.We do not get the scale until we come to the few men in history who can be his rivals.Thus, to begin with, we may compare him with the common life of his time; and tell the story of his adventures among his contemporaries.In this alone he shed a light on history, apart from the light he shed on philosophy.He was born in high station, related to the Imperial house, the son of a great noble of Aquino, not far from Naples, and when he expressed a wish to be a monk, it is typical of the time that everything was made smooth for him – up to a point.

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