Talk:Thomas Aquinas

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Need to designate as "Saint" or "St." in title[edit]

This common honorific is used by all scholars. Eliminating it is ugly Protestant Know-Nothingism. I am well aware that wikipedia has a southern, Confederate-USA, white Protestant bias. That is the problem. Philosophers canonized by the Catholic Church need to have this shown in their page heading as would occur in a paper Encyclopedia. The omission is offensive and a bit frightening to American Catholics who are being subject to a Kulturkampf by the right wing in that country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:32, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Bizarre...and not a little disturbing that some sort of automated bot is removing "Saint".

Scholars are perhaps over-eager to include honorifics in identifying figures from now-fashionable countries. For example, calling Kong Qiu "Confucius" or "Kong Fu-Zi" encapsulates the honorific "Master" whereas Qiu was his actual given name (and Kong his patronym).

Wikipedia is a culture war waged by Southern USA whites on the world, that's clear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:36, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

All saints should have the title St. placed before their names in their articles the same way that anyone with an Order of the British Empire, or Order of Australia have their titles placed after their names. Just because some countries don't recognize these titles doesn't mean they aren't put on their names, so just because some religions dont recognize saints is no reason to not put St. on the names of people the Catholic church (or an other denomination) recognizes as saints.--Thea thea thea (talk) 04:15, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Talking about bias without signing your post makes the argument unconvincingClosedthursday (talk) 20:02, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

View on Heretics[edit]

I'm removing this newly added section from the article because (a) it does not add to an encyclopedic understanding of Aquinas, (b) it almost sounds inflammatory or POV, (c) Aquinas himself used "reason" consistently, which this section seems to condemn as sinful, and (d) the material is quoted from a sketchy (at best) online book summary. If this material should be incorporated into this article, let's discuss it here before changing the article. David aukerman talk 17:31, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Fare enough - I'll find a better source and try and re-word this. I was just shocked that I have heard claims about Aquinas and his view on heretics being thrown around and couldn't find anything mentioning in the Wikipedia article. Also, I believe that the point Sam Harris tries to make using Aquinas is completely in line with your conclusion. In other words, the theology of Aquinas rationally requires the persecution of heretics. Aquinas was being rational and his rational conclusions, at least in this matter, should be alarming.

"it does not add to an encyclopedic understanding of Aquinas" this I disagree with, for instance, Nietzsche's philosophy was often a target of criticism due to Hitler drawing certain "rational" conclusions from his arguments and these are often attributed to him, though I in Aquinas case he actually drew these conclusions himself, I am not imposing them upon him. I do believe that the conclusions of one's philosophy, no matter the time (there were those that didn't support the persecution of heretics during Aquinas time)are quite important.

Point well made though, I typed this in haste and need to clean it up. Look forward to finding a version we can agree on. (Unsigned comment)

Looking at the article as it stands now ( Nov-2009), I don't see any mention of Aquinas' view on how to treat heretics. In his writing he is very clear about what to do with heretics:
they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. (Source: Summa Theologica.)
It would be unfair to ignore this. It is relevant, interesting, accurate and clear.
Pma jones (talk) 18:06, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
If I wanted to promote Aquinas as a great theological teacher from whom we can all learn, then I would definitely prefer to call in the spin doctors and air-brush any disagreeable side of Aquinas out of his wikipedia article. However that's not the way wikipedia works. We need a 'warts and all' attitude. The evolution of the policy of Christians towards heretics is a very interesting topic. It is absolutely worth mentioning that Aquinas was rather faithful to the teachings of Jesus in his suggested treatment of heretics. Pnelnik (talk) 02:08, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
That quotation is taken grossly out of context. Please observe the next paragraph; this is only one opinion, not the one Aquinas personally holds. -- LightSpectra (talk) 04:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't agree. In the following paragraph he says that we should be mercyful and give the heretics two chances to recant, after that the heretics will be exterminated thereby from the world by death. Do you think there is some ambiguity there? It seems remarkable consistent and concurs with the original quote that you removed from the article.
For the record here is the following paragraph in full.
On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death. For Jerome commenting on Gal. 5:9, "A little leaven," says: "Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die. Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame."
Pma jones (talk) 17:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
That's a commentary on the then-contemporary practices of the Church, not about what should be done. -- LightSpectra (talk) 17:19, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Let's be clear. Aquinas says I answer that ... as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.
He then goes on to say On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy..., since they offer the heretics a couple of chances to repent and if they refuse they will be killed.
Thus Aquinas is taking a harder line than the church who were executing heretics at the time.
The quote needs to go back into the wikipedia article.
Pma jones (talk) 01:53, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps my point will be more clear if we look at a more strict translation: From New Advent, it reads: "With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death." (Emphasis added)

"On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer..." In other words, the sin of heresy is "worthy" of death in a spiritual sense, but the Church is merciful to them. The next article asks "Whether the Church should receive those who return from heresy?," and the answer is that the first time they repent, it should be done so; and the second time, it would appear that they are attempting to trick those of the Church, which is worthy of penalty. It would be entirely inconsistent if Aquinas demanded that heretics be executed, because the patron saint of the religious order he belonged to, St. Dominic, made it the mission of the Dominican Order to rescue those who have fallen into heresy. --- LightSpectra (talk) 02:48, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Which-ever translation we read, it is clear that Aquinas thinks heretics deserve to be executed. This is a very note-worthy point. Indeed it is a topic that has come up in numerous recently published books. It was also used as the motivation for the slaughter of Muslims during the crusades. It is too important to ignore in this article.
I'm not too concerned about which translation is used, but I think that the wikipedia article should mention Aquinas' position on heretics. LightSpectra I invite you to write a paragraph for the article mentioning Aquinas' suggested treatment of heretics.

Pma jones (talk) 06:52, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Heretics deserve death, in the same way that all sinners deserve death by virtue of their crimes against God. However, Christianity is a religion of mercy and forgiveness; hence why Aquinas speaks of offering second chances. He only advocates handing heretics over to "secular tribunals" (fairly vague answer) when they attempt to enter and re-enter the Church several times, which moreso constitutes fraud than anything else. Aquinas would've been removed from the Dominican Order had he took the position on heretics you think he's taking, since the Ordo Praedicatorum was founded for the purposing of converting heretics. -- LightSpectra (talk) 14:18, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
It is amazing how two people (you and I) can read the same short piece and get completely different meaning from it. So perhaps it would be best not to interpret his writing, but rather just take quotes from it. Let the readers of wikipedia make up their own mind.
Your sentence all sinners deserve death by virtue of their crimes against God is remarkable strident. Bearing in mind that people all over the world have made remarkably different claims as to what God (or the gods) want from us. We know that none of them have proof that they do indeed know what God wants or thinks. So if we are really honest we must admit that all we know are what people claim God wants. We can't state with certainty what he wants and thus your sentence has to be read all people who go against teachings claimed by some to be the word of supernatural being deserve death. If people really believed that, then the world would be a very scary place. Can you imagine if people really believed that those who don't accept their God's teachings deserve to die? No one faith has a majority on the planet and so for all religious people, a majority of people belong to a different faith. So if people took that statement seriously, that would mean that the vast majority of the population of the earth thinks a majority of the people on the earth (those of other faiths) deserve to die. It is the kind of statement that could be used to motivate suicide bombers. It is not the kind of statement that could be used as the starting point morality. It would be the end of morality.
But I've been digressing. Aquinas was a remarkable man and clearly (to me) a great thinker. But let's not pretend that people's ideas on what is acceptable morally were the same then as they are now. The wikipedia article needs to be balanced. And if Aquinas wrote some things that we now would not agree with, that is not a reason to exclude them from the biography.
It looks to me as if you and I won't be able to reach an agreement, so perhaps it would be best for some other wiki editor to step in and write the paragraph on Aquinas' teaching on the treatment of heretics.
Pma jones (talk) 15:31, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
If you would like to have a formal debate about this, I'd be happy to, because I certainly believe that you misunderstand fundamental Christian doctrines by this point. But the point I must emphasize again is that because the specific wording of Aquinas is ambiguous (seeing as how we reach different conclusions from observing it), that we must therefore turn to his character: and he was a member of an order whose mission was to convert (and thus not kill) heretics. If he was advocating the position you believe he is, then Aquinas would not have been fit to be a Dominican; yet he was hailed as one of the greatest members of his order. -- LightSpectra (talk) 15:41, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
From what I've read of the method of conversion, it seems to have been a two step process, the heathen are told:
1: Convert or else you'll spend all eternity in hell. If that doesn't work move on to the next step
2: Convert or we'll kill you
It is quite a persuasive argument and so the Dominicans spread the word of God.
However, I'm not suggesting that my summary of the conversion process needs to be included in the article. But we do need to say something about what Aquinas taught. He is clear and consistent.
My proposal is that I re-insert the quote about heretics:
they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death.
Let's both of us leave out our personal interpretation of that statement, but if you can find a good citation for how that line could be read, then by all means include it. Alternatively if you think there is another line from Aquinas' own work that balances it, then let's include that line too.
Pma jones (talk) 07:09, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Well there's your problem, you're confusing Catholics with a Fascist Party.
The Catholic Church backed Franco in the Spanish civil war and the Vatican decreed his fight to be a just war, so I do indeed think that the line has been blurred. Pma jones (talk) 03:05, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Or fundamentalists, I guess. Your personally poor experiences with Christians are what's making you read into that statement incorrectly. For one, the Albigensian heretics was both a religious and a political one simultaneously; they were essentially in open revolt against France and Spain in the 12th/13th centuries, and murdering delegates to sort out the experience. Hence the Albigensian Crusade was called in order to quell it, since military force is necessary to subdue what was essentially a violent secession. St. Dominic went to southern France in an attempt to peacefully convert the Albigensians to orthodox Catholicism, which records indicate was rather effective (though it's ambiguous, admittedly); hence why Pope Innocent III approved the the founding of the Ordo Praedicatorum. Now, when Thomas Aquinas joined the order, it was not yet 50 years old; he was only in the generation of the order that came directly after Dominic himself.
And regarding the quote, I don't believe that's sufficient; you're essentially suggesting that we remove its entire context in order to avoid bias. If you're very insistent on the quote being inserted, I would be happy to give an explanation of it with cited references, but simply giving it alone is very misleading, and hence why I removed it to begin with. -- LightSpectra (talk) 12:14, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm happy to let you write the paragraph now if you wish. It would seem much more civilised to sort this matter out on this discussion page rather than to hack eachothers edits on the main page. Pma jones (talk) 17:02, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
LightSpectra or indeed anyone else, let me know how you would like to add or amend the section on treatment of heretics. I propose it should have the following text, (which is largely the same as it was before it was removed):
Aquinas was rather intolerant of heresy. Regarding heretics he wrote:they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. [1]. That said, Aquinas also discusses the church policy of showing some mercy, giving the heretics a couple of chances to convert or repent and only executing them if they refuse.
This article and indeed wikipedia in general, is all the better because people come from very different view points and contribute. It can end up with a balance that it almost impossible to achieve by a single author no matter how sincere, impartial and knowledgeable.
Pma jones (talk) 04:28, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Interesting how I explained the meaning of that passage to you, and why your interpretation was impossible, and you seemed to agree with me; and then you reinserted the exact same blurb after the debate was settled. Do we have to go through this again? -- LightSpectra (talk) 02:09, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Clearly two people can read the same paragraphs and come up with completely different conclusions. That can be said of the Aquinas' teachings and indeed of the discussion above. If we were writing a wikipedia article about a major figure in the Chinese Communist Party, then current members of that party would probably not be in a very good position to contribute in a balanced way. Similarly I think that if Christians are to contribute to the Aquinas article, their personal bias may detract from the impartiality of their contribution. It may be best to leave it to non-party members. Pma jones (talk) 02:59, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
What an absurd theory, considering that I could just as easily say "non-Christians shouldn't write articles on Christianity because of a conflict of interest." I have already explained multiple times why your interpretation is impossible and the quotation is misleading due to a lack of context, so please respond to the argument and defend your belief. -- LightSpectra (talk) 04:17, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
We've been over this before and you and I simply disagree. I maintain that the quote is not in the slightest bit out of context. In Summa Theologica, in the paragraph following the quote that I took, Aquinas discusses showing some mercy and giving the heretics a chance to repent before they are executed.
If someone seriously believes that he may be rewarded in heaven for spreading the word of Christ, then they there is no conflict of interest at all. Their interest is entirely on one side and it would probably be best if they didn't edit anything on a Christian related topic. I would suggest having the same policy on articles related to Scientology, David Koresh etc.
Pma jones (talk) 07:39, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Simply saying "I disagree" doesn't mean much if you cannot demonstrate your belief. I've already told you multiple times why your interpretation is impossible, and you have done nothing to refute that but plug your ears and shout "not listening!" In regards to your theory: again, it's absurd. I'm not spreading the word of Christ in this article, I'm explaining (which you have done nothing to rebut) why one individual person's opinion differs from what you think it is. Now, why does Wikipedia allow anybody to edit any articles, regardless of bias or motive? Because then nobody would be allowed to edit anything because everybody has an opinion on everything. Again, I could just as easily say that because you aren't a Christian, that you have a personal interest in emphasizing alleged negatives or faults within Christianity, just as I may have a personal interest to do the opposite. The reason your theory isn't Wikipedia policy is because it's demonstratively ridiculous.

And while you speak of this, you haven't done a single thing to explain why your interpretation is possible, given the multiple times I've told you why it is not. You can't simply say "I disagree" and expect your opinion to be universally valid and worthy of mention in Wikipedia articles. I could do the same thing against people with medical degrees and ceaselessly edit Wikipedia articles on obscure diseases, right? "No, I don't think you are right, I simply disagree, I think just herbs and spices can treat lupis." Stupid, right? This isn't any different. Now, either prove me wrong or cease this terribly ignorant edit war. -- LightSpectra (talk) 18:39, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
For what it is worth, I can summarise what was written above:
My original suggestion was not to interpret the quote, just to present it. My opinion on whether killing heretics is a good thing is irrelevant.
If we read the whole quote, we can see that Aquinas starts by saying I say, clearly indicating that he is giving his opinion.
In the following paragraph he goes on to discuss the Church's teaching which gives heretics a chance to repent before they are killed. So the quote is entirely consistent with the context and indeed Church teaching at the time.
There simply is no contradiction between wishing to convert the heathen and thinking that sometimes heretics should be killed. The motivation for both is a lack of tolerance of other beliefs.
Let's assume the ridiculous now: suppose that when Aquinas says heretics should be severed from the world by death, he really means that we should respect people of other faiths, (i.e. let's ignore commandment about false gods). Even if that were the case, ( which I do not believe), then I think the quote should still be included in the wikipedia article because it inspired the killing of many. Leaders of the inquisition drew heavily on his work. Aquinas' words were used as a justification for slaughter.
So, my suggestion is that neither of us interpret his work, we just present what he said.
If somewhere else Aquinas where to mention that people should never be harmed for their sincerely held beliefs (though I am not aware of him ever saying such a thing), then I still think the original kill the heretics quote should be included in a paragraph on Aquinas' teaching on how to deal with heretics because it would show some of his aparent inconsistencies.
On the other hand, if Aquinas did genuinely and consistently believe that people should never be harmed for their beliefs, then we would need to answer the interesting question why on earth would he would write that heretics deserved to die. That would be a worthy addition to the article.
When trying to understand someone's moral compass a really good test is to find out how they treat people who disagree with them, whether such people deserve death, eternal damnation or indeed should be happily tolerated. In Aquinas' teachings on heretics we learn a lot about him, in the same way we learn about Jesus or Stalin when we read what they do to people who don't accept their dogma.
Can you imagine if the wikipedia article on Ron L Hubbard were maintained by Scientologist editors? It would be a fawning, air-brushed, useless piece of nonsense. Fortunately wikipedia offers us balanced articles. Though I am concerned that too many of the contributors to the Aquinas article are his Christian fans.
I have no objection to quoting other lines from his writings on the treatment of heretics.
Also if you would like to included what notable people have written about Aquinas' teaching on treatment of heretics, please do so. But both of us need to exclude personal interpretations.
Above you wrote:
If you're very insistent on the quote being inserted, I would be happy to give an explanation of it with cited references
And I'm happy to take you up on that offer. So it seems we are both happy.
Pma jones (talk) 03:05, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

This is an incredibly silly debate. It seems ridiculous that one can simply remove a piece of an article under the guise that it was ambiguous and inflammatory. The views of Aquinas on heresy, based on his writings in Summa Theologica, are very clear. It is grossly incorrect, LightSpectra, that the writings quoted here were simply "the opinion of the church" - Aquinas expressly writes "I answer that..." when beginning his argument in response to objections that heretics should be tolerated. I'm glad to see that this quote has finally made its way back into the article, as the reason prohibiting its use was absurd. (talk) 03:58, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

You apparently didn't understand my argument since that's not what I said at all. To repeat my point, your belief that Aquinas simply wanted to execute heretics nonchalantly is obviously impossible given that he belonged to an order whose specific intent was to convert heretics. I've explained multiple times the meaning of this passage, but Pma's only apparent argument is that Christians cannot edit articles about Christianity because of a conflict of interest. Why the same conflict of interest doesn't apply regarding non-Christians editing articles about Christianity, he didn't say. Because that whole nonsensical debate was a distraction from the fact that he hasn't replied to any of my arguments as of yet. Once more, the passage shouldn't be taken so grossly out of context; either it should be presented with an annotation giving its proper meaning, or removed altogether. Since neither's been done yet, I'll do the annotation. -- LightSpectra (talk) 04:17, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Speaking of what people didn't say at all - I never said anything about any belief of Aquinas "simply wanting to execute heretics nonchalantly." I simply saw an individual who was attempting to scrub an article. I'll give you this: you are remarkably good with your spin. You managed to take his view of putting heretics to death and paint it as a very peaceful and normal thing. (talk) 05:11, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, typically the beliefs of people become more rational when you're reading what they actually believed as opposed to a strawman designed to discredit them. -- LightSpectra (talk) 15:41, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Why was the quote of Summa Theologica bowlderized such that Aquinas' prescription of the death penalty no longer appears? It reads quite plainly in Summa Theologica that heretics are "to be exterminated from the world by death". That was Aquinas' view, and it belongs in the section of the article concerning heretics, embarrasing though it may be to Catholics, Anglicans, or other apologists of Aquinas. Surely the fact of Aquinas' malice is more relevant to the article than rumors that he could levitate or experienced visions of Jesus' mother. I'm adding the missing text. (talk) 03:48, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Aquinas and Existentialism[edit]

I am thinking about adding a section on Aquinas and existential philosophy. Etienne Gilson calls this the only "real" existential philosophy. It came from Aquinas' interpretation of the the name of God as "I Am". St. Augustine had used the name "I Am" to decribe the essence of God by describing what God was not. This is called "negative" or "essential" theology. Augustine asked the question: "I Am" what? Aquinas saw the name "I Am" differently. "I Am" indicates the revealed nature or essence of God is "to exist". This area of study is called "existential theology" and led to the first "existential" philosophy. My question: Should this topic be added in the Aquinas section, in the exitential philosophy section, or on a completely new topic page? Any thoughts are welcome. Of course, the existential philosophy of Aquinas has nothing to do with 20th century existentialism. A E Francis 04:09, 6 June 2007 (UTC)A E Francis

I would suggest creating a new page for your material on Aquinas and existential philosophy, simply because it is quite lengthy and nearly doubles the length of the article on Aquinas. David aukerman talk 15:35, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Dave, I have decided to put a paragraph or two in the Thomas Aquinas site, and not go into a lengthy discussion. Also, a mention of existential theology. At a later time, it may be worthwhile to create a linked separate page on all the intricacies of Aquinas an "existentialism." Maybe you want to do this? A E Francis 21:46, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I see... perhaps, if necessary, although I'm not much of a philosopher or a specialist in existential philosophy. :) Please see my comments in the following section... David aukerman talk 01:55, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I tried to add a little section on Thomas' endorsement of the inquisition twice. It was either cut down or completely omitted. I wonder if David Aukerman is the censor prohibitorum librorum here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, August 24, 2007 (UTC)

You should be more careful with your accusations. I neither commented on nor modified your inquisition additions - check the article history. David aukerman talk 16:33, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that this section should be there. But you have to begin with the five "proofs" of God's existance, which sparked off the School of thought.
Sorry for coming in so late.
MacOfJesus (talk) 11:25, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Aquinas and the Sacraments[edit]

I propose splitting this section off into its own page (e.g., Thomas Aquinas and the Sacraments). The length and depth of this section seem to dominate the overall article on Aquinas. As such, we might do well to create a separate article for this topic. Comments? David aukerman talk 01:55, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't have any problem with separating it; it all depends what you want this page to look like. It seemed to me that there should be a fairly "in-depth" look at waht Aquinas actually said about the sacraments. If you think it is too long for this entry, that is fine. It is going to be longer, because I have to put some more in from Summa Theologia... what do you want to do with the others I have added... death penalty, usuary, and forced baptism? A E Francis 02:02, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with having a lot of information on the Aquinas page. He was a complicated person. Too spread it out in several different places just makes research on the subject difficult. What I was thinking when I wrote about the sacraments is all the people I meet (both Catholic and non-Catholic) who say the sacraments and the Church in general are not based on the Bible. If anything, even a superficial reading of Aquinas should dispel this. But I wanted people who show up on this site to have the opportunity to at least be exposed to some of Aquinas' actual thinking. Summa Contra Gentiles is 1500 pages long. I wrote a "short" synopsis of this in 2000-2002. It is 300 pages long! Summa Thoelogia is even longer. I think an effort to try to reduce Aquinas to a superficial page, such as "he was born, he thought this, he went there, he died here." is a sort of disservice to the man and the Church in general. That is just the way I feel about it. I also intend to put a section on the difference between Platonism and Neo-Platonism with Aristotle's "natural" philosophy, which Aquinas explored. But I am flexible! A E Francis 02:23, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
David, I have been thinking about this... how hard is it too edit these to another page? The reason I am asking is I intend to keep writing... maybe it will be worth it to see what it looks like, then do some re-arranging, or develop some different pages... I am open to suggestions. A E Francis 03:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC) Another thing that prompted me to write this is the Islamic sites... I superficially read some of these, and they aren't at all "shy" about writing long tracts about their religion... so why should we? Maybe we could rearrange some of this under a heading like "The writings of Aquinas" or the "selected philosophies" ... something like that ... as I said, I am flexible. A E Francis 04:29, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry about the delay... I started writing here but then got sidetracked for a while. :) Anyway, to answer your questions, it's not hard at all to move information from one page to another. And I think it probably ought to be done, since the main Aquinas page is getting pretty long, according to Wikipedia:Article_size. (They make some good points and suggestions in that article.) Having more information about Aquinas certainly isn't bad; it just needs to be readable, and it needs to be encyclopedic (i.e., not totally exhaustive). All this to say that I think some rearranging is in order; much of the new content you have added can be placed in new articles that can be linked from the main page. One sure-fire page is Aquinas and the Sacraments. Another possible new page could be Aquinas's Viewpoints (or something like that) to cover the usury, capital punishment, and forced baptism sections. I don't know if that's totally appropriate, though; my main concern is that the main Aquinas article remain as a thorough summary of his life and thought. (By the way, take a quick look at Death_penalty#Christianity; there's a nice one-sentence summary of Aquinas's position on the death penalty there.) To be thorough and verbose (like the Islam pages you mentioned) is good; to be encyclopedic (and less verbose) is better in tune with what Wikipedia is about. David aukerman talk 14:33, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Another thought I just had - last summer I worked to get this article up to Good Article status, and I'd like it to continue to meet the standards for GA articles. With lots of extra information in the article, I wonder if it's starting to become less of a GA article. David aukerman talk 14:43, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't really have any problem with moving the bulk of this to other sections; all I want is to present the most effective message; It depends on what the philosophy of this encyclopedia and this page is. Look at Encyclopaedia Britannica before 1960. The articles were fairly "exhaustive". In recent years the encyclopedias have become less informative, with less information. To me, that isn't really scholarship. Is this being written for the average high school student, or something more? To me, if you want to keep the main Aquinas page fairly straight-forward, and not too complicated, that is fine with me. I just think this info should be in Wiki somewhere. If nothing else, for the people who want to see it (and there are some). Anyway, I am going to keep writing, and if we decide to move it... then we will move it. A E Francis 01:21, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


This site was vandalized on June 19, 2007;; it came from;; this should be reported, and as far as I am concerned, should be blocked from any further access to Wiki. Thanks for fixing it, Dave. A E Francis 18:59, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

No problem. I've been watching this page for over a year now, and it's been subject to vandalism pretty consistently during that time. So ... don't be surprised if it happens again. :) And if you see an edit that's not kosher, go ahead and undo it! David aukerman talk 14:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

spelling errors[edit]

Chris, thanks for cleaing up the typos.... I found a few more... there are probably a lot! Every bit helps! A E Francis 00:25, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

March 7[edit]

Chris... you bracketed the date March 7, but when I go there, there is no mention of Aquinas' death... A E Francis 00:27, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't necessarily have to. That happens with a lot of date references... usually those are there so people can find out what else happened on that date. David aukerman talk 14:36, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Dave, Chris, it is easy to add it; what do you think? A E Francis 01:35, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Go for it. David aukerman talk 13:40, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Done ....A E Francis 21:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


My neighbor told me that anyone who is on AOL cannot edit in Wiki without getting special permission;; All AOL users are automatically blocked;; This apparently was because of the troubles with vandals.A E Francis 01:34, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Size of article[edit]

They recommend an article larger than 32 KB should be broken up. I don't know how large this is... as I wrote, I intend to keep writing. Actually, I haven't written anything which downgrade this page, but that is a matter of opinion and taste. I spent some years as an editor to a medical legal journal, so I know how these arguments go! Anyway, if we decide to break some sections off, I don't have any problem with it. A E Francis 01:28, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Aquinas and the death penalty[edit]

I went to that site you mentioned. This is a good and concise statement. But I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a longer look at it elsewhere. The idea you mentioned about Aquinas' thought on various subjects is a good potential source of this. I am flexible. There are a lot of subjects which could end up in a section like that. (The difference between Plato and Aristotle and the soul; Aquinas and natural moral law; etc.) If you are wanting to keep this paqe fairly simple and straightforward, this may be better on a separate page. A E Francis 01:33, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Ready to Move[edit]

Dave, I'm ready to move, but I can't figure out how to split these out... all I do is move the whole article, which, of course, I don't want to do... you are correct... it is too long... please tell me how to move this in parts... I looked under splits, but couldn't find how to do it... also cut and paste.. A E Francis 02:54, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

You can do it via cut-and-paste pretty easily. Just edit the Thomas Aquinas article, cut the desired material to your clipboard, and then enter your new page name in the Wikipedia search box on the left side of the screen. Click Go, and if the page is available, you'll see a page that has a red link "create this page." Click that link, and then paste the material in the new page. You'll want to check out Wikipedia:Guide_to_layout#Lead_section to see how to construct an opening paragraph for the new article. (Just a note ... since Thought of Thomas Aquinas now redirects to Thomas Aquinas, you might need to choose a different name for the new article(s). I don't know how to override an automatic redirect.) Hope this helps... David aukerman talk 23:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

The reason "Thought of Thomas Aquinas" redirects back to "Thomas Aquinas" is because I moved my sections to that title, but then I found I had moved the entire page (I had a moment of panic, thinking I had wiped it out)... but then I hit undo... and everything came back to "normal", but the trace is left... I tried cutting and pasting, but I can't seem to find my clipboard.... I will work on it... it can't be that hard... they recommend nothing over 32 K... and this is now 91 k... so it is proper to break it up.... A E Francis 23:59, 21 June 2007 (UTC) Dave, I have started separate pages. I finally decided the easiest way to do this is to type them again on the new pages. As soon as I get them up, I am going to edit them out of this page. Should be a few days. So be patient. A E Francis 20:39, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

James Joyce[edit]

Perhaps Joyce should be under the 'influenced' section? After all, the last chapter of 'A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man' is essentially comprised of Aquinas quotes.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:16, 22 June 2007

Well, this was a good call[edit]

But the person who added Joyce also added that it was "remarkable"that Aquinas influenced him, a completely unnecessary bit of editorializing, I think. GeneCallahan (talk) 20:17, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


Ok, slow down! If you're going to chop chunks out of this article, you've got to leave summaries behind. Otherwise no-one reading this article will know there's more to read about this guy's thoughts. exolon 22:41, 22 June 2007 (UTC) I am willing to leave whatever links you think are appropriate. here is the situation: I happened on this site a few weeks ago, and started adding to it. I was unaware of the limits of 32 KB.... it quickly grew to 95 KB, which as Dave has pointed out, is too long.... now I have started new pages, and since I wasn't typing fast enough, have gotten notices that these new pages were too short, or were redundant and would be deleted. I would have liked to cut and paste, but it isn't at all clearhow to do this... so that is where we are... I am typing as fast as I can... A E Francis 23:00, 22 June 2007 (UTC) I have addded links at the bottom of the page.A E Francis 23:01, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

There's no need to rush. 32k is a guideline, not a hard limit. It exists as there are a few archaic browsers that can't display more than 32k. Sorry about tagging your new article - didn't realise you were splitting this article up. Cutting and pasting is simple - just click the edit this page link at the top, highlight the text you want and right click to copy (or use Ctrl-C on the keyboard, then paste (Ctrl-V) into the editing window of your new page.exolon 23:04, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


The story of Aquinas and clutching the Ave Maria as an infant is undoubtedly a fable and should not be presented as truth, especially since there is no reference for it. I've removed it. Afabbro 20:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

~ A fable? Undoubtably a fable?? please explain where you got this info. If you don't have proof, then don't remove the article. It's historical. Are you calling other historical facts fables?

Aquinas and alchemy[edit]

I'm curious as to if there are any known sources we can cite for Aquinas being an "alchemist" and if this is worthy for inclusion in the main article on him. If you peruse the what links here page you'll note there a handful of alchemy related articles that link here. It seems the Aquinas article has no mention of it, and I was wondering if that was because it was judged not notable enough for the article, or if the references to him on alchemy writeups are frivolous. --BHC 09:46, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't know of any such sources; Aquinas's connection to alchemy is news to me. As far as I know, the topic hasn't been discussed here with respect to this particular article. My opinion is that any reference to alchemy in the Aquinas article should be rather brief, just a sentence or two at most. What do you think? David aukerman talk 23:48, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
In the Summa, St. Thomas says "If however real gold were to be produced by alchemy, it would not be unlawful to sell it for the genuine article, for nothing prevents art from employing certain natural causes for the production of natural and true effects, as Augustine says..." (II-II, Q77, A2, ad1). This, his only use of the word in the Summa, doesn't seem worth mentioning. If there is some other work in which he comments more extensively on it, then maybe. The.helping.people.tick 03:31, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

I have never seen any indication that Aquinas was involved in alchemy. Perhps a cursory knowledge was required by the universities of the day. But I have found no evidence that he did any research in the subject. This is in contrast to the Oxford Franciscan Roger Bacon (an atagonist of Aquinas) who was very active in alchemy, including rudimentary gunpowder. Bacon's wiki article does not mention much about this. Tony Francis A E Francis 13:32, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

He was so little involved in it that it wouldn't really be worth mentioning it in this article; he cannot be called an alchemist. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Alchemy says:

Many clerics were alchemists. To Albertus Magnus, a prominent Dominican and Bishop of Ratisbon, is attributed the work "De Alchimia", though this is of doubtful authenticity. Several treatises on alchemy are attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas [I cannot name one...]. He investigated theologically the question of whether gold produced by alchemy could be sold as real gold, and decided that it could, if it really possess the properties of gold (Summa Theologiæ II-II.77.2).

Geremia (talk) 05:56, 4 July 2011 (UTC)


Dave, have you considered putting a lock on this article? I notice some of the more controversial articles have these which makes frivilous and vandalizing changes more difficult. Someone is continually adding some kind of reference to the misconcpetion that Aquinas was an advocate of "executing heretics". While that is true in a sense, in Summa Theologia he advocates it only after a person has been given a trial and has ignored at least two written warnings to cease the activity. So it was not as Draconian as one might preclude. The way it has been added is in a manner to discredit Aquinas as a legitimate Doctor of the Church. Tony FrancisA E Francis 13:39, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi Tony, sorry for the delay - no, I don't think a lock is necessary on this article. There are frequent cases of simple vandalism, but it's not unmanageable. I figure lots of articles have this kind of thing going on. The lock, I think, is for really extreme cases or really hot topics. David aukerman talk 13:42, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Tony, you misused "preclude". Unfree (talk) 05:30, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
A E Francis, you're saying that it is not draconian to execute heretics as long as you give them a trial.
Suppose Stalin had trials for people whom he accused of refusing to accept his dogma, after which he sent them to the gulag, then what adjective would you use to describe him?
Pnelnik (talk) 18:22, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Of course that's not very Draconian, AE Francis: The law was well-known, and they were given several chances to stop breaking it. And people were not executed for "refusing to accept" Church teachings, they were executed for actively spreading heresies. GeneCallahan (talk) 20:22, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Is it really necessary to advertise books? (Ave Maria Press). Some links don't add any information to Thomas Aquinas, I presume it's just advertising, so they should be wiped out. --Meldor 22:02, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

January 28, 1225?[edit]

In the right-sided caption, someone put in "January 28, 1225" as Thomas' date of birth, but it's odd that January 28 is also his feast day. Can anyone explain why? --Angeldeb82 (talk) 16:42, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Birth date discrepancy[edit]

OK, what the heck’s going on here?

  • In the lead, it’s "c.1225"
  • In the infobox it’s "c.28 January 1225"
  • In the first sentence of the Biography, it’s "1224".

So which is it to be? Let’s at least be consistent. -- JackofOz (talk) 06:37, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

If the DOB is 1225, and he's 19 when he wants to be a Dominican (1244), he can't be imprisoned by his family "for two years," and then released in 1244! (talk) 20:16, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

"five ways" in latin[edit]

I don't know, but "quinquae viae" looks a bit incorrect for me because quinque is invariable, it's just quinque —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd be interested in what the use of the word 'proofs' in this page without inverted commas means in terms of neutrality, given that the existence of a god is a disputed matter. Are we to make any reference to this issue (even if just an introductory disclaimer)? Are there guidelines for this? Your thoughts appreciated! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:04, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Please study Thomism. These things cannot be studied properly by reading an Encyclopedia. You will think differently once you study the five evidences.

MacOfJesus (talk) 18:56, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Year of birth and territory of Roccasecca (Copied from the reference desk)[edit]

(I'm copying a slightly edited version of this thread from the Humanities desk because most of the discussion is relevant to this article. See also the comments two threads above, by the way) ---Sluzzelin talk 19:47, 16 April 2008 (UTC))

I have been looking at Thomas Aquinas's birthtown of Roccasecca on modern maps of Italy and comparing its location to this map of the Kingdom of Sicily. To me, it almost looks like Roccasecca was not part of the green area marked as Kingdom of Sicily, but rather part of the yellow area marked as Papal States. WP's map shows the boundaries of 1154 and states that they would remain virtually unchanged for 700 years. The map may not be completely accurate. Either way, Roccasecca lies near the boundary, but on which side? Thank you in advance for maps or other references showing exactly to which territory Roccasecca belonged in 1225, the year Thomas Aquinas was born. ---Sluzzelin talk 17:54, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

The Italian page for the city has it more definitely placed in Lazio. But another problem is that in 1225, the Kingdom of Sicily was supposed to be a papal fief; it wasn't, because it was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor (as Frederick II was both king of Sicily and emperor), who was constantly at odds, or in outright war, with the Pope, so the boundaries were not very stable. In fact in 1225 Frederick well on his way to being excommunicated. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:11, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The Catholic Encyclopedia names the place "The Kingdom of Naples" [1]. The same page also states that the birthdate is not certain; it may have been 1225 or 1227. ៛ Bielle (talk) 19:54, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The abbot of Monte Cassino had settled a junior line of the counts of Aquino there in the tenth century. Though under contention, Roccasecca was part of the lands of the abbey of Monte Cassino. It didn't become effectively a papal fief until it was purchased in the sixteenth century. In between, it was the current allegiance of the conti d'Aquino that really mattered. I've added some translation from Italian Wikipedia to offer a history sub-section. --Wetman (talk) 07:38, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks everyone! That leaves me with two questions regarding the article on Thomas Aquinas:
  • The current text says that Aquinas was born "at his father Count Landulph's castle of Roccasecca in the Kingdom of Sicily, in the present-day Regione Lazio." What should replace the Kingdom of Sicily? I can't think of an adequate way of putting it, please help.
  • Bielle makes a good point. The article's lead sentence says Aquinas was born "c. 1225", the biography section's first sentence says he was "born in 1224", the box on the left says "Birth c. 28 January 1225". He is a member of Category:1225 births, and his birth is also featured in the articles on 1225 and January 28. The TA article also says "The Roman Catholic Church today celebrates his feast on January 28, the date of publication of the Summa." Would it be right to remove all references to Jan 28 as his DOB? And would it be best to set all year-of-birth references to "c. 1225", or can something be said for 1227 or another year? Bielle's reference states: "From Tolomeo of Lucca . . . we learn that at the time of the saint's death there was a doubt about his exact age (Prümmer, op. cit., 45). The end of 1225 is usually assigned as the time of his birth. Father Prümmer, on the authority of Calo, thinks 1227 is the more probable date (op. cit., 28). All agree that he died in 1274." If there is doubt, should both years be mentioned? Should TA still remain a member of the 1225 article and category?
---Sluzzelin talk 11:58, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
As for the birthdate, January 25 was (probably) still 1224 at the time, since the new year (probably) didn't start until March or Easter or some other date, but we retroactively say it was 1225. (But if the date is disputed between 1225 and 1227 then this explanation doesn't work!) I would say that if Roccasecca was part of the territory of Monte Cassino, then it is more likely in the Papal States than in Sicily, even if Monte Cassino was effectively independent. Or perhaps we can just say it was in "Italy" and link to Italy in the Middle Ages. Adam Bishop (talk) 07:35, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
I see no evidence for a 28 January birth. Feast days are mostly chosen to coincide with a saint's date of death (although in Thomas's case it was chosen to coincide with a significant event in his life, the publication of the Summa). It seems someone has got the wrong end of the stick and extrapolated 28 January into a birth date. It should be removed. That leaves the uncertainty of when he was born. Seems the best we know is "between 1224 and 1227". Why not leave it as simple, and accurate, as that? I don't believe we can pin it down even to a single year, based on the varying sources. But maybe one source is more reliable than another; I wouldn't know about that. My main concern, and interest, is in having his vital data shown consistently - even if consistently wrong (better that than the mishmash we have at the moment). -- JackofOz (talk) 00:04, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Changed all years of birth to "c. 1225" and removed all dates of birth. Didn't remove Category:1225 births yet. Also still unsure whether and how the referenced speculation on 1227 should be included. The territory of Roccasecca remains unchanged because I lack references, but it probably should be changed to Papal States and/or Monte Cassino as explained by Wetman and Adam above. ---Sluzzelin talk 00:16, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (section 1.1[1]: "Thomas [Aquinas] was born in 1225 at Roccasecca...midway between Rome and Naples." This agrees with the Lazio identification for Aquinas's birthplace; I'm changing the article accordingly. Claudius972 (talk) 02:56, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Name used when referring to Thomas Aquinas[edit]

In most parts of the article "Aquinas" is used to refer to "Thomas Aquinas". Sometimes "Thomas" is used as a short form for "Thomas Aquinas". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in its article Saint Thomas Aquinas refers to him in general as "Thomas" although three times "Aquinas" is used. I thought that you usually refer to him as "Thomas" because "Aquinas" (Aquino) is simply the place where he was born. Are both abbreviations of his name right or is "Aquinas" wrong and if so why? Can somebody shed some light on this question? --Baikonur (talk) 15:10, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I'd also like to hear some opinions on this. While reading the article for the first time just now the constant use of Aquinas (rather than Thomas) seemed rather jarring. Jlandahl (talk) 06:43, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

This is a solecism. If no one objects I will change all of the references to "Thomas" soon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:46, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

For this same reason, I changed the Defaultsort key to Thomas as well, since Aquinas is not a last name. This way, he is placed alphabetically with Teresa of Avila and Therese of Liseaux rather than with Augustine of Hippo and Anselm of Canterbury. Aristophanes68 (talk) 18:47, 26 March 2011 (UTC)


This page is boring i wrote a 10 paragraph report on him and posted it twice and u guys keep deleting it wat the heck

Kikk —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kikk1010 (talkcontribs) 13:16, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Featured article[edit]

Which improvments are needed to promote this article to FA.--Vojvodaeist 14:37, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

His name[edit]

The second sentence of this article is, "He is frequently referred to as Thomas because "Aquinas" refers to his residence rather than his surname." I find that quite puzzling. What is it purporting to explain? That people refer to him frequently? That he was not only named "Thomas", but also "referred to" as "Thomas"? What's the difference? Does it mean that calling him "Thomas Aquinas" is a misnomer? I just don't understand the sentence at all. Unfree (talk) 05:16, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

It means that calling him "Aquinas" is a misnomer. --Baikonur (talk) 03:08, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

His name was Tommaso d'Aquino, or Thomas from Aquino. In his own time he would have been called Tommaso and a bit later, San Tommaso or St Thomas. But in modern English writing he is often referred to as Aquinas - similar to the way Leonardo is now referred to as da Vinci, even though the da Vinci part indicates where he came from (people would have called him "Leonardo" not "Signor da Vinci"). Gerry246 (talk) 10:33, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Christian Democracy??[edit]

The section entitled Modern Influence had been given a "Christian democracy" sidebar. Since this section has no discussion of Christian democracy, I've deleted it. Aquinas of course wrote about law and the state from a philosophical point of view, but it is the Christian Democracy movement which has (possibly) adopted his teachings, not he who adopted theirs. If we must include the Christian Democracy sidebar, then to be fair we must include all other modern movements which take heavily or seriously from Aquinas' teachings. If - for the sake of argument - we were to include (for purpose of fairness) all of these modern political currents and philosophies which have taken a lead from this masterful man, then we would have several more pages added to this Wikipedia entry, all of them merely sidebars of political movements. In short then, we must seriously consider the possibility that sole Christian Democracy sidebar would be a politically motivated effort for that movement to appropriate Aquinas solely for themselves - which would be quite a narrow thing, considering the broad scope of this man's teachings.

Peter of Ireland[edit]

It would be nice to see some information on Peter of Ireland, one of Aquinas' teachers during his early visit to Naples[2] and author of a commentary on the De Interpretatione. Wareh (talk) 02:21, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Aquinas' body, burned?[edit]

Hi folks. Im new to this article discussion although I constantly come back to the article for reference. I was just wondering, I read in a book not really related to Thomas' philosophy that made the claim that his body was exhumed and burned, or maybe it was burned before it was buried I can't remember. The author claimed that it was done in a honorific way since it was thought that the flesh of holy men gave of a healing odor or something like that. Anyway I never heard this anywhere and the author really didn't source it reliably. Anybody heard of this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:17, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

According to my knowledge (gained from the lecture of this guy) his head was cut off and the rest of his body boiled. It was done in this way because his fellow monks intended to preserve the skull and the flesh as relics. Such practice in fact was not unique in middle ages (although the official Church strongly opposed it) and was aimed at protecting a body against decomposition. It was very rarely applied in the situations when the deceased was an especially highly esteemed person. Imho this information isn't worth mentioning in the article though... Mroq (talk) 18:47, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Decline of thomism in the 1970s[edit]

The article should maybe try to explain the causes that led to thomism's decline in the 1970s, at least in the form of neothomism. One of the reasons is the Church's active dialogue with other religions, many of which had been frankly opposed to the aristotelian origins of thomism. Another reason is the general intellectual turmoil that the West experienced in the years that followed the 1968 cultural revolution. Many former thomists either adopted entirely secular philosophies such as structuralism and phenomenology or embraced new intellectual currents within the Church itself, such as anonymous Christianity, ecclesiology of communion and liberation theology. ADM (talk) 11:42, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I think this would be more appropriate for the Thomism article than here.

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Thomas Aquinas/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

GA onhold.svg This article has been reviewed as part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force in an effort to ensure all listed Good articles continue to meet the Good article criteria. In reviewing the article, I have found there are some issues that may need to be addressed, listed below. I will check back in seven days. If these issues are addressed, the article will remain listed as a Good article. Otherwise, it may be delisted (such a decision may be challenged through WP:GAR). If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. Feel free to drop a message on my talk page if you have any questions, and many thanks for all the hard work that has gone into this article thus far.

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    The prose is stubby at times. The sections "Sacraments" and "Various topics" need to contain summaries of the corresponding main articles.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    There are too few inline citations, particularly in the later part. Some direct quotes stand without citations, as well as several complex points that need references (e.g. the section "Revelation").
    Better sources could have been used. The extensive use of Hampden, from 1848, should be replaced by more recent scholarship.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    See comment above about summaries of sub-articles.
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Lampman (talk) 16:50, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Since no significant improvements have been made to the article over the last week, I will now delist it. Lampman (talk) 12:32, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Some suggestions[edit]

Can someone expend section Biographies. There are just one sentence. Also I suggest some shorter captions in section about his life. --Vojvodaeist 11:23, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


I think that previous image in infobox is more renowned.--Vojvodae please be free to write :) 21:08, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

morbid obesity[edit]

The article makes absolutely no mention of the fact that Thomas Aquinas was incredibly fat even by the standards set by modern Americans. I feel that this information reflects on his philosophy and his theology and should definitely be included in any biographical entry on the man. (talk) 02:48, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Claims of Levitation[edit]

For a long time it has been claimed that Aquinas could levitate. That should be mentioned in this article. Not because it is an uncontested fact that he did so, but rather that the claim has been repeatedly made. Clearly we would need mention who made the claims, who believed the claims, what was the official Vatican line on the claims, all with the relevant citations.
Pnelnik (talk) 23:14, 3 September 2009 (UTC)


The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War -- and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge -- get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment. Lore Sjöberg, from "The Wikipedia FAQK" Autodidactyl (talk) 20:47, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth, my philosophy is that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence and thus I conclude that it is very improbable that Aquinas did indeed levitate. Such myths sometimes build up around religious figures. However, the claims of levitation should be mentioned in Wikipedia, not because some great scolar believed them and said that they are well-attested, but rather because the claims are part of Aquinas' legacy. Being aware of the claims would help people understand the impact Aquinas has had. In the same way, claims of the miricals of Jesus are mentioned in wikipedia. Wikipedia articles cannot state that such events really took place, but it does need to report that such claims have been made. Pnelnik (talk) 06:29, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

And for the record here are some of the places which mention claims of Aquinas' levitation:

Hitchens is not a fan of religion, but he certainly is knowledgeable and so is a relevant source. He and Chesterton provide sources in the 21st and 20th century. There are plenty more particularly in earlier centuries. Pnelnik (talk) 16:21, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

"Levitation". Yes, but did he? Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 20:49, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

what did he try to do?[edit]

Well Thomas Aquinas triedto bridge the gap between reason and faith.I learnt that in scal studies in 7th grade.So he had a bridge then on one side it says reason and on the other it says faith. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Miracle of the Herrings[edit]

I was a bit surprised there was no mention of the Miracle of the Herrings; apparently it was the reason he was made a saint - as described on QI, he liked herrings but they weren't available where he was living, he was given some pilchards and he said they tasted of herrings - this was interpreted as a miracle and meant he could be canonized. I don't know enough about the story to add it to the story, but it is, apparently recognised as one of the weakest miracles so it seems interesting and worth mentioning in the article. -apepper (talk) 18:10, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

The Five proofs of God's existence[edit]

In the article page at the heading "Nature of God", a reference is made to five definitions of the nature of God.

However, there is only a brief references to The five proofs of God's Existence. These should be outlined as they gave rise to other Epistemological understandings, and influenced later thinkers, such as Kant.

My I offer my opinion: The importance of these "proofs" cannot be over estimated. A number of Schools of thought sprang up as a direct result.

MacOfJesus (talk) 23:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)


Was Thomas of italian or german origin? Because there is written that he was related to german emperrors. Thanks.-- (talk) 14:47, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

I found this ref on the web: "Aquinas's uncle was Frederick II, a maverick leader of the Holy Roman Empire. Thommaso was named for his grandfather, who had been the Empire's military commander..." Suggests that he might have been "German." Nationalities were a bit slippery back then. Nation-states hadn't quite evolved that much. Seems to me that there is more Italian in his ancestry than German, but definitely related to HRE. Student7 (talk) 15:52, 8 May 2010 (UTC)


An editor has substantially improved the section on Thomas' ideas on evolution. The new language does raise questions. I assume that "spontaneous generation" did not arise with Thomas. Is that correct? Should that be pointed out? Incredibly, I found an elementary US textbook from 1860 or so that was still teaching spontaneous generation, though the theory was dead by then! Should the persistence of the theory be mentioned? His ideas on mutations were partially correct - nature does create/allow mutations. Most of these die. That was correct. He did not understand that this led to evolution. Can/should we put a "fine point" on this? Student7 (talk) 15:59, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

missin details[edit]

this man was also a leader in modern antisemitism of the middle ages and the pusher into several disputation between jews and catholics that almost always ended in mass sluaghter of jews and the wiping out of entire comunities in france and spain. weird that non of this is mentioned on wikipedia —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Find a reliable source and add it. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 21:11, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
"leader in modern antisemitism of the middle ages" cannot be correct since the middle ages weren't in any way what we call 'modern'. He might (if correctly sourced) have been the founder of a certain kind of antisemitism that still survives in modern times, maybe, perhaps. If correctly sourced. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 20:55, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

What is claritas?[edit]

The Influences section contains this sentence: "It is remarkable that Thomas's aesthetic theories, especially the concept of claritas, deeply influenced the literary practice of modernist writer James Joyce, who used to extol Thomas as being second only to Aristotle among Western philosophers." And yet no definition of claritas is given anywhere in the article. Will someone please fill this in? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Claritas is a Latin word for "clearness, brightness, splendor."


One of the traditional facts (in the sense of being something "everbody knows", whether true or not) about Aquinas is his reputedly immense obesity, and the anecdote about the monks in his refectory having to cut a huge slice out of the table for him to be able to sit at it is probably second only to Pope Joan in the canon of well-loved but probably untrue stories about Catholic antiquity. I'm only surprised that this article mentions neither, not even to dismiss them.

Why is that? Nuttyskin (talk) 16:26, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

He drank beer everyday.. believe me. (talk) 07:35, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Butler's Lives of the Saints's entry on Aqunias says: "He was so perfectly mortified, and dead to his senses, that he eat without reflecting either on the kind or quality of his food, so that after meals he often knew not what he had been eating." Geremia (talk) 05:18, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

He is thought to have walked 9,000 miles (14,000 km) around Europe, not a mean feat. Of course, it could be that he was too heavy for a donkey! Still....Student7 (talk) 01:56, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


Why is it not mentioned that he was from a Lombardic family which still were the nobility in Southern Italy at this time? -- Zz (talk) 16:09, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

If you have a RS, please do add it. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 17:53, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Quoting Pseudo-Dionysius[edit]

In Pseudo-Dionysius_the_Areopagite#Teachings, it says that Thomas quoted him 1700 times, despite being revealed by Peter Abelard some years earlier. You would have thought that a) Thomas might have been aware of that and therefore been a bit more careful and b) that this might have introduced some problems in Thomas's writings that might have been commented on by modern authors. I have the feeling that Abelard's credentials may have been overstated.

It's amazing how few answers we get to questions about one of the best known theologians/personalities of the Middle Ages. Student7 (talk) 02:02, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Translation of titles[edit]

Is there a generally accepted english translation of Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis? I mean, not just any translation, but one applied to Thomas with currency in English. (talk) 01:08, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I would assume "Doctor of the Church." Probably the primary systematic theologian of the RC Church. Student7 (talk) 16:34, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Philosophy and Theology[edit]

I moved a number of topics from Philosophy to Theology, but I'm not sure where "Just War" should be. (talk) 01:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I think it is correct where you have it under "Theology." Goes along with "pro-life" which is against war (among other things!  :), basically. Student7 (talk) 16:37, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Criticism of Aquinas' philosophy[edit]

Dear Community. I have a question: Can Aquinas have section "criticism" or is he except from critique? I created a short section where I summerized Bertrand Russell view on Aquinas with references with a hope that other editors will contribute other critical opinions. However, user keeps deleting it by saying that Russell misunderstood Aquinas. Since articles about other philosophers have pages containing critique, then I believe, Aquinas should not be exempted. Moreover, such a section is mandatory to have an unbiased coverage. Denysbondar (talk) 01:46, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Not sure that Russell is the greatest critic. Aquinas was attempting, in his Summa Theologica, to integrate the "newly" discovered Aristotelian thought with Western religious thinking, which critics generally have given critical acclaim.
Russell, on the other hand, has a more selfish pov, to replace Thomas with his Principia Mathematica. While this was prodigious, it (eventually) did not have the same impact that Thomas' work did. Mathematics/Logic did not replace religion, per se, nor did Russell's book "prop up" either of these fields any more than other contemporary applications, or questions by Hilbert.
While we are on the topic, "Principia" is nearly unreadable, and in fact, mostly unread today, consisting, as it does, of pages of symbolic logic. While Thomas is hard to read, since we use a different form of proof nowdays, it is often used in references. Student7 (talk) 18:47, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Any criticisms of Aquinas' philosophy should be kept on a separate page. Including Russel's criticisms on Aquinas' own page greatly undermines the neutrality of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
Impressive use of irony. Cheers Andrew (talk) 02:02, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Regarding section “Final days and ‘Straw’(1272–1274)”[edit]

There seems to be a slight inaccuracy in the parenthetical insertion regarding the Eastern Orthodox and the Second Council of Lyon. In fact, the Schism resulted from a number of doctrinal and disciplinary issues, of which the chief seems to have been a dispute over whether the bread for the Eucharist should be leavened or not. It is true that the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularios, was excommunicated by the papal legate, Cardinal Umbert of Silva Candida, neither the Eastern Orthodox Church nor the Catholic Church has ever been excommunicated as a body. (Cardinal Umbert's authority to excommunicate, moreover, is in doubt because the pope who sent him, Leo IX, died before the cardinal issued the bull. Subsequent popes did not confirm the excommunications, nor did they apply to subsequent patriarchs.) See Wikipedia article East-West Schism.

AthanasiusOfAlex (talk) 10:47, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Summa Theologica vs Exact Exposition Of The Orthodox Faith[edit]

Saint John of Damascus did not make a first attempt at a Summa Theologica as is quoted on numerous Roman Catholic websites, he wrote the Exact Exposition of The Orthodox Faith in 600 or so AD. Meaning he did not attempt, he DID write the only summa theologica that the rest of Christianity recognise. There was no reason for Thomas Aquinas to perform the plagiarism his works and fill them with papal influences dogma and corruption. Thomas of Aquinas in Orthodoxy is seen as the person who attempted to plagarise, revise and republish the works of a great man and Saint; John of Damascus. This contention should be noted, since the premise of the article is with a POV entirely biased to a Roman Catholic perspective. This does not in anyway affect his impact on Western society, regarding the other things he wrote or revised. Afterall; what is Western philosophy and theology other than a rewrite and revision of the Eastern writers of antiquity through to the medieval era.

Thomas Aquinas fills a purpose only for the Roman Catholic church and the mindset of those that follow such theology and philosophy. This part is accepted, but how he came to develop these ideas should be noted.

I am considering raising the point that "Thomas Aquinas is an important person to Roman Catholics" to minimize but imply the contention that his works do not essentially apply or are considered of any value beyond that realm of thought. Your ideas will be appreciated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ephestion (talkcontribs) 14:31, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Two or three infoboxes?[edit]

I can entirely understanding including two separate infoboxes for different purposes; Template:Infobox person for simple biographical information and list of people he 'influenced', and Template:Infobox saint for his attributes etc. But why do we have two of the former? Could an editor not decide on a suitable image (I favour the second image), so chose to use two boxes? I propose moving the second inbobox to the lead and incorporating the 'Notable work(s)' parameter into it. -- Hazhk Talk to me 23:54, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't see this as especially controversial, so I've gone ahead and made the changes. I've explained reasoning here. -- Hazhk Talk to me 02:51, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Some inconsistencies?[edit]

In his work 'Quaestiones disputatae: de veritate' ("Discussions' Subjects: on the truth"), Disputationes were a method for discussing about phylosophy or theology subjects in the academic environment of the university of its days, somethig like an special arrangement of a lecture or a teaching method ('Sobre la verdad. Cuestiones disputadas sobre la verdad', Julian Velarde Editor, Biblioteca Nueva, Madrid, 2003, ISBN: 84-9742-100-0), In Article 2,of ('Q D'), 'On if truth is mainly in intellect than in things', saint Thomas Aquinas cites Ibn-Sina's, Metaphysics, book 6:'The true and the false are but in the mind', and also a quota by Augustin: 'The true of any thing is the property of its being that has being stablished to it'.

This seems pointing that Aquinas equaled 'true', as something close to the concepts of 'essence' or 'substance', it would be good somebody adding info abouth the ethnic background of Thomas Aquinas, hence about his language backgroung, as some words, ideas or concepts may have very different meanings or evocations in different cultures, and translations can't transpose accurately all the correlates in a word, an example of this would the discourse by Edith Stein on 'Ens', 'Entity', that can be finally described as an individuality, something that can be distinguished from other existing things, even when millions exactly the same may exist, the many pages about this from E Stein can be explained as Edith having an Hebrew language background, or Hebrew 'collective unconscious', the deep meaning of words in European languages being alien to her, as she boarded that train when it had thousands of years of running.

The attribution to saint Thomas Aquinas of a work on: 'Treaty on the Philosopher's Stone and on the Art of Alchemy', would be in conflict with the rejection of Alchemy by the member of the 'Preacher's Order' and Head Inquisitor in the kingdom of Aragon in the XIV Century, Nicolau Eimeric, that considered heretic and akin to witchcraft any use that could be made of gold obtained by 'Alchemy transmutations', Eimeric attacked posthumously the work of Raimon Llull and his followers, Llull approached also Alchemy, and king Philip II of Spain had an Alchemy lab close to his private rooms, with the aim of obtaining gold to finance his political campaigns, however, in comments about the summary of the 'Manual for Inquisitors', by N Eimeric, summary made by J Marchena, the fact that while R Llull supported the 'Immaculate Conception' of Mary the Virgin, 'Immaculate Conception' that in these days was not a Catholic Doctrine Dogma as it is today, is pointed that neither T Aquinas nor N Eimeric endorsed the 'Immaculate Conception', and even T Aquinas seems having wrote actively against this 'Faith's Dogma'.

It would be interesting, if this discussion is considered a right place for this, knowing more about the connection of T Aquinas with Alchemy, that was condemned as heretical because it involved also an 'Spiritual Transmutaion', close tho the proposals of Gnostics and Hermetics, and also how to match the T Aquina's active denial of Immaculate Conception with his reported direct visions of Mary. --Jgrosay (talk) 15:32, 28 August 2013 (UTC)


The "psychology" section of the article has been tagged as needing additional references since September 2011. While this seems to still be true, I have further tagged it as the style seems to me innappropriate for a wiki article. While the first two paragraphs seem borderline to me, the bulk of the text is written in the form of a statement of religious fact rather than as a neutral account of Thomas's theories and ideas. It seems to me to require significant attention, from an expert, hence the second additional tag. LookingGlass (talk) 10:06, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposal of laws and definitions thereof[edit]

Currently writing a report on Aquinas, and was reading through the citations.. Aquinas defines "human law" as such: just as, in the speculative reason, from naturally known indemonstrable principles, we draw the conclusions of the various sciences, the knowledge of which is not imparted to us by nature, but acquired by the efforts of reason, so too it is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general and indemonstrable principles, that the human reason needs to proceed to the more particular determination of certain matters. These particular determinations, devised by human reason, are called human laws, provided the other essential conditions of law be observed

aka it is (or should be) the result of applied reason on the part of humans. Natural law is defined roughly as: [...] it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law [...] It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law.

aka it is roughly an approximation of the god-willed eternal law. The wiki article however says that the natural law is the result of reason, as well as being a bit vague in some other areas. I'm a new wiki-er, is it acceptable for me to edit, or am I perhaps (understandably) wrong about my interpretation of his work? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

First you'd need to set up an account and sign in. That way also people can address you. Secondly, in respect of your question, the prime objection to doing what you propose is that it would seem to fall under the category of Original Research see:Wikipedia:No original research and as such it would be a big no no. I suggest reading up on OR and generally familiarising yourself with Wiki editorial rules. Within these then, the third party, verifiable, substantive information you come across may well benefit the article. Hope that helps. LookingGlass (talk) 09:47, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

List of Works[edit]

This article is purportedly about a scholar. It would seem pretty basic to include a section listing his works. But yet we find no such section in this article, an oversight that cries out for rectification. Please also include, under the Summa Theologica, a list of the names treatises within it. JKeck (talk) 22:31, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Oops. Just found this: Works by Thomas Aquinas. JKeck (talk) 22:34, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle[edit]

Fellow editors,

I've added a few things to the introduction regarding Aristotle's influence on Thomas Aquinas, which I felt were not dealt with sufficiently. As can be seen from his writings, "the Philosopher" played a huge role on Thomas' views on issues as creation, what constitutes things (material cause, final cause, etc), eudaimonia, the importance of reason, etcetera. Thomas brought into the Church a huge amount of Greek philosophical concepts, most of which are inherently Aristotelian. Thus, I feel it would be inadequate to mention him so briefly in the introduction.

Furthermore, Thomas is also renowned for his eucharistic hymns, so I mentioned that. Do you think it would be inappropriate to add "poet" to his occupation box as well?

Kind regards,

--&レア (talk) 17:59, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Reason & Faith[edit]

I just read a very authoritative and rather short book on Medieval thought that wrapped up TA in a couple of dozen pages.

It made clear at the outset, that in the big picture, TA's significance is that he separated reason and faith. This is mentioned here, but is nearly lost in the details. (talk) 15:01, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, Aquinas was a semirationalist, unlike Augustine, who was a rationalist. Augustine argued that reason alone is needed to prove the existence of God. Aquinas argued you need reason and faith. I guess this is the basis for the Church doctrine that faith informs reason--no faith, no reason. Luther, in turn, was an antirationalist. To Luther, reason was the enemy of faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

God's Being[edit]

♥ God is unknown to us in this present life and, crucially, philosophy understands its own ignorance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by San Pedroo (talkcontribs) 20:42, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Treatment of heretics[edit]

In the section Treatment of heretics it says "Simple theft, forgery, fraud, and other such crimes were also capital offenses"

This is not true. Simple theft usually resulted in nothing more than imprisonment or simply being banished from the city. The latter no doubt qualify as harsh punishment for people with very limited means. Rulers had to keep at least an appearance of being just. This was essentially the same sense of justice as that of the citizens. It was not uncommon for citizens to bring food to the prisoners, who in deed suffered harsh conditions. The Middle Age was nothing like The Lord of the Ring, which is not just fiction, but unrelated to the Middle Age. It's the Middle Earth! It was usually only the Church that swayed so much power that it could exercise unreasonable punishment, like burning people at the stake. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:04, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^