Talk:Summa Theologica

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Two serious solecisms[edit]

First, while we can call the article whatever previous WPers have decided, we cannot tell people that "Summa Theologica" means "summary of theology"; that is false, and so I have rewritten the intro to state that.

But... "Summa Theologica" means what it means. It is false to ascribe a meaning that defies the true latin translation. Every article in WP has context and is written as such. "Summa Theologica" is the title of Thomas D'Aquino's work. "Summa Theologica" means "summary of theology". WP has an article "A Short History of Nearly Everything" in reference to Bryson's book and that small book is certainly not nearly a History of everything. That is absurd! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:10, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Second, "Aquinas" is not a last name like Smith or Jones, so we cannot refer to Thomas Aquinas as "Aquinas" throughout the whole article. The normal scholarly form is "St. Thomas"; if WP has a policy against referring to people as saints we can call him "Thomas", or to be formal refer to "Thomas Aquinas" throughout, but "Aquinas" by itself is simply incorrect. (A similar issue arises with Leonardo da Vinci; "da Vinci" isn't his last name, so the short form is "Leonardo.") If there are no objections I will replace "Aquinas" with "St. Thomas" where it occurs in he article.

Anonymous questions[edit]

I'm pretty sure Thomas cited Pseudo-Dionysus, not actual Dionysius the Areopagite as linked to in the summary, can someone explain/change it?

I have just a few questions? How does reason play apart in Aquinas' philosophy?

Where do rational creatures and their ability to reason relate to faith

This page is for discussion of the Wikipedia article, not of Thomas's philosophy and theology in general. A quick Web search would probably reveal someone willing to answer your questions.

Question: Though I'm not Orthodox Christian, out of fairness, I have to ask, shouldn't the statement about christian doctrine or tradition being held solely by the Catholic Church (before the Reformation) be amended to include the Orthodox Church? Even the Catholic Church recognizes the validity of the Orthodox Church. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

My deletions[edit]

I don't see how you could call the Summa an authoritative summary of Catholic church dogma. Dogma indicates propositions from texts taken as authorative for the purpose for which the propositions are intended. In the case of theology this is mainly Sacred Scripture. The Summa presupposes the dogma given by Sacred Scriptures and as iron sharpening iron, from working with the propositions which appear to clash, finds more refined conclusions about whatever its subject matter is.

Two other things come to mind here: The Summa is an authoritative summary of doctrine, but far from being the final authority, so why mention it specifically? And "an authoritative summary of dogma" smacks of a rehearsal of arguments from authority, which is the exactly opposite to the spirit of the Summa's lucid deliberation of the ideas involved.

The person who wrote the "summary of notable points" offered that the Summa teaches that homosexuality is worse than rape. Actually the Summa only compares the lusts underlying the first condition and the second act. This claim about the Summa is about on the same level of sophistry as claiming that an ethician teaches that stealing your neighbor's lawnmower out of spite is "worse" than killing him non-negligently on a deer hunt, just because the ethician claims it is intentions that makes the act criminal. In fact, to me it renders the whole "summary of notable points" list presented in the article suspect. 04:43, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I am adding a new page for the "notable points" to be moved to until they can be examined. Summa Theologica/notable points? 20:17, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The thing is that St. Thomas does say it, and not only it, but also that masturbation is worse than rape. We should not be too quick to read "unnatural vice" as homosexuality, just because we have become accustomed to precisely that association. "Unnatural vice" is everything that denaturalizes the sex act, hence masturbation, contraception, sodomy within a lawful heterosexual marriage, homosexuality, bestiality and so on. (But then Immanuel Kant said that masturbation was worse than suicide.) Now St. Thomas does say that the unnatural vice is worse than rape or adultery or sexual sacrilege (that is, sex in spite of a vow of sexual abstinence). Now we can very well imagine him to add "that is in so far as the aspect of chastity proper is concerned, but of course rape also includes an element of violence" - if he would speak in more modern moral jargon, he would add: "i. e. a fifth commandment matter, not precisely a sixth commandment matter" - "and is on that account generally worse than at least the more basic forms of the unnatural vice, sed we were treating their offense against the virtue of chastity". If we could imagine him to give a totally off-character remark, there could be the addition: "After all, though one may be graver than the other, when all is said and done these things are mortal sins anyway." - But he did not actually say that.
On the other hand, the assertion that intentional theft (and "out of spite", not out of one's own necessity) is worse than accidental killing without even negligence to be blamed for (as I take the example above) is of course very tenable, and I am (actually) rather astonished that anyone in our civilization still marked by Christian enlightenment (that is, still having a guilt-culture instead of a, pagan, shame-culture) could possibly think otherwise.--2001:A61:20CB:2401:2834:F70D:8991:648E (talk) 09:49, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Notable points[edit]

I reverted the notable points and put a few citations showing the sources of the points. If you have further disputes I could put in citations for the rest of the points. The points chosen are simply some of the most distinctive points that a third party would find interesting about whats talked about in the summa. The counter argument that Thomas was only speaking about the underlying lust and not the action itself is that the word lust is used in a broader way here then normal english usage, and refers to the action as well. Obviously the word used in the enlgish translation -- lust -- can't just refer to the desire, for is there a distinct sexual desire for rape as opposed to for consenual sex? And besides, even the word "Rape" used in that article is different then normal english usage, as it also describes violence against the father in order to take away the daughter even for consensual sex. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:52, 12 June 2005 (UTC).

A question on exactly how notable some of these notable points are, as well as on their selection–while I'm certain that Aquinas belief that a marriage was invalid if made under a spell might be interesting, I wonder exactly how important some of these things are in comparison to, say, the Five Ways or the idea that all statements about God are either analogical or metaphorical. Does not the sheer number of trivial and poorly arranged factoids detract somewhat from the article's usefulness, or is there some other, better way besides deletion to clean up that particular section? AristonAstuanax 03:33, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Good question. I think you're right. Many of these "notable points" almost have a point-of-view ring to them (e.g., "homosexuality may be worse than rape" etc.)... Here's an idea for an alternative: Rather than having a subjective list of notable points, we could have a decently thorough, balanced outline of the Summa. Real notable points have to do with the whole, rather than with particulars. - David aukerman talk 12:13, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I have inserted "citation needed" after those of the notable points that are not cited, "verification needed" on those that sound dubious but I didn't have time to look up myself, and "specify" on those that I looked up and found ambiguous/equivocal. For example, the word "children" in "Children should become nuns or monks" and "parents cannot stop children from becoming religious" could be taken to mean young children, but it seems, at least from my reading of Question 189 of the Secunda Secundae, that this is not what St. Thomas means, and in fact the latter statement should probably be amended to read something like "parents cannot stop their grown children from becoming religious". To be honest I'm not sure what the former statement means at all and I think I'll go back in and move it to this page.

I also removed two statements that seemed to me not merely ambiguous, but actually formally contrary to what St. Thomas says:

"No deliberation is required to figure out if you should be [a religious]" -- in the respondeo of Article 10 of the aforementioned Question, he says plainly that deliberation is required in some circumstances.

The point about proving God's nature and existence ("can all be proved by human reason alone") finished with "by anyone and at any time" -- St. Thomas just doesn't make unqualified statements like this. And to the contrary of the statement, in the respondeo of the first article of the first question of the first part of the entire Summa, he says: "Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors." He develops this notion at greater length in the beginning of the Summa Contra Gentiles.

Sorry for the anonymous edits and posts. I will register ASAP with the name 'bslorence'. 01:44, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Currently the notable point, "All statements about God are either analogical or metaphorical", has as a reference a text which I don't think corresponds (ST, First Part, Question 4, Article 3). Should this notable point perhaps be reworded, deleted, or re-referenced? Mebden (talk) 09:38, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

I thought it might be best to add, Thomas Aquinas attempts to explain Christian doctrine by means of Aristolian philosophy using the Summa theological a wonderful synthesis of two worlds. Thomas modified many of Aristotle's philosophy. As a result of this medieval Aristotelianism and the Christian theology combined together into Scholasticism. This new way of thinking was taught until the seventeenth century.[1]ToothFairyJenny (talk) 23:18, 13 September 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ Margaret Osler's Reconfiguring the World


I suppose that this must have been discussed, but every authoritative source I can find uses Summa Theologiae, including:

  • Aquinas Summa Theologiae (3 vols, ed. Caramello)
  • Arrington [ed.] A Companion to the Philosophers
  • Dyson [ed.] Aquinas: Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Evans Philosophy & Theology in the Middle Ages
  • Goodin & Pettit [edd] Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • Kenny [ed.] Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays
  • King One Hundred Philosophers
  • Kretzmann & Stump [edd] The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas
  • McDermott [ed.] Summa Theologiae: A Concise Translation
  • Marenbon Later Medieval Philosophy (1150–1350)
  • Strauss & Cropsey [edd.] History of Political Philosophy

In fact I've failed to find a single reputable source that calls it Summa Theologica. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 10:36, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

My professor has told me that Theologiae is indeed more correct, but we have a text book which does use Theologica. It is called Medieval Philosophy, it is the 4th edition, and is by Baird and Kaufmann. So it is important to mention that some call it by this name. -Yoink23 21:32, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

User:Wau2 moved the article from "Summa Theologiae" to "Summa Theologica" because he thinks that the former title is incorrect and should refer only to a work by Albertus Magnus. Albertus Magnus does have a work of this title. But this is not his main work (contrary to what the present article Summa Theologiae states). And the title "Summa Theologiae" of Aquinas' work is by no means incorrect.

Whatever the title of this article, the parallel title should be mentioned in this article. And the article on Albertus' work should bear the title "Summa Theologiae (Albertus Magnus)". Andres 17:28, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I think here should be a redirect to Summa Theologiae. "Summa theologica" very often refers to Aquinas' work. Any disambiguation links should be in the beginning of that article.

Besides, Albertus' work never goes under the title "Summa Theologica", as far as I know. Andres 07:16, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

I mean, Summa Theologica should be a redirect to Summa Theologiae. Andres 11:43, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree. But User:Wau2 is apparently intent on having Aquinas' work at Summa Theologica and a disambiguation page at Summa Theologiae. Do we need some kind of outside advice here? David aukerman talk 11:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Summa Theologica is an older form that was widely used before about 1960. The Web versions cited in the article use that title (they're reproductions of a 1947 translation). Summa theologiae is considered more correct now (perhaps because it's what the majority of manuscripts say?). Grommel 22:50, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Catholic Church distinction between meat and nonmeat[edit]

There's an ongoing discussion right now on Talk:Beaver about the distinction that the Roman Catholic Church draws between meat and nonmeat for the purposes of the Ash Wednesday/Good Friday/Fridays during Lent prohibition. It seems that there is some authority (based on a passage in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae) that animals that are regarded as principally aquatic (including fish, and presumably including beavers) are treated as nonmeat for this purpose, and it seems that there is some authority (see citations in the Beaver article and additional references in Talk:Beaver) that the Church continues to adhere to this distinction. The notion that "the Church thinks that beavers are fish" seems too silly to some. Come check out the discussion at Talk:Beaver.Spikebrennan 14:52, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


Two horribly practical questions:

  • is there a definitive/good English translation?
  • it's long, isn't it? (17MB as a text file) Njál 14:35, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
A few authors have translated short passages, but there are really only two translations of the whole Summa. The first, titled Summa Theologica, was made by the "Fathers of the English Dominican Province" (actually only one, Fr. Laurence Shapcote) in the 1940s. The Web versions at newadvent and ccel are reprints of this. The second, titled Summa theologiæ, was made by a team of English Dominican scholars under Thomas Gilby, O.P., c. 1964-69. IMHO, both are good; the Gilby version is a little freer. Grommel 22:50, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Marked for Cleanup[edit]

I have studied a comparison of the current version to the version marked for cleanup from October 2005. I believe that it is far enough along to be taken off the cleanup list, and I will do so unless there are objections.
Pistolspete 23:05, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

No objections here. There's still a lot of work to be done on this article, but it does look better than it used to. David aukerman talk 00:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Factum Est Pistolspete 03:53, 30 November 2006 (UTC)


I'd like to add reference to the ST's defense of the doctrine that the damned soul goes immediately to Hell after death, but I don't know who Aquinas was arguing against. The Eastern Orthodox Church? Other Roman Catholics? Muslims? Anyone know? Jonathan Tweet 15:31, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

According to this scholar [1], as late as the 14th century Pope John XXII tended to relegate all judgment to judgment day (i.e., deny particular judgment). Jonathan Tweet 17:05, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Notable points section redux[edit]

The whole notable points section needs revision and credited sources. It has often been seen that people will erroneously take propositions made by Aquinas in his "objections" part of a question and quote it as Aquinas' own thought (e.g., "Women have no souls"). Each notable point should refer to a specific Summa Theologiae answer for a question. Otherwise, we have no way of verifying the claim.--Benz74 16:36, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. In fact, I wonder if the concept of a "notable points" section complies with Wikipedia:NPOV in the first place... who decides that a certain point is notable, anyway? Someone with a particular agenda, perhaps? Maybe the revision of this section should be very broad. David aukerman talk 18:13, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I have added citations for the rest of the "notable points", although some of them are questionable. For instance, the distinction between essence and existence is hinted at in the Summa but not really discussed fully. I didn't change the list, however, since I don't want to get into endless wrangling about revisions. Grommel 22:21, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

The above content[edit]

The above content should somehow be restored under Talk:Summa Theologiae.

Response (Balance?)[edit]

I've noticed a distinct lack of any mention of the various responses to the Summa Theologica, in the form of rational disputes, or some of the various attempts of debunking (which should be objective of their success). The article, as it is, is rather unbalanced. I understand that it is not about Theology but about a very notable book on that matter. Surely the modern oppositional reception of the Summa Theologica deserves a mention. Responses such as this should at least be acknowledged.
The article seems to accurately summarise the book, but it also gives impression that it is accepted to be correct by everyone. Which is not the case. --The Chairman (Shout me · Stalk me) 08:58, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


Aquinas titled this work "Summa Theologiae"; the name "Summa Theologica" came about later. I think the main title and usage should match the author's, with "Summa Theologica" as a redirect pointing to it. Tb (talk) 00:47, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Aquinas left this work incomplete, but no mention of that is made in the article AFAICT, and the article describes the contents as if Aquinas had finished the Pars Tertia; he got through three sacraments, and said nothing about eschatology. Tb (talk) 00:49, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Is it normal on Wikipedia to have retail links? This is the first link to goods on Amazon that I've encountered, and I find it rather off-putting. Would someone please inform whether this is a kosher Wikipedian practice? Morinus (talk) 14:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Important Point Needs to be Added[edit]

Aquinas did not finish the work. If memory serves, he died before the final section on the sacraments was finished. I don't have the details handy, but that would be a good addition. Overall, the article lacks a lot about the "metadata" of the work - its history, its use throughout history, the world at the time it was composed, Aquinas's assumptions about the readers, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:20, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

(not more mature version!!)[edit]

(X.Y.Z.T comment moved from top Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 13:29, 28 May 2010 (UTC))

The Summa Theologica is not a more mature version of the Summa Contra Gentiles. That line should be deleted. The Summa Contra Gentiles was written to aid in the dialogue with non-Christians about the existence of God. Hence no references to biblical revelation are contained within it. The Summa Theologica was written to be used in the formation of priests and religious and contains numerous biblical refernces as well as church fathers. The Summa Contra Gentiles never mentions the bible or church fathers, but instead refutes the arguements of Muslim philosophers who Aquinas thinks incorrectly interpret Aristotle.

Could someone delete that comment? If anyone reads both of these works they will understand that they are totally diferent in scope, format and intended audience. In addition, the Summa Contra Gentiles is much more advanced in terms of its use of aristotlian philosophy which is not as noticable in the Summa Theologica.

Also I am writing this from a school computer which is not allowing me to use the cut and paste keys. I know this is formated wrong please feel free to cut and paste this into a correct section of this talk page, sorry for the screw up. Mark —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:12, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Done. I commented it out, so that any editor that happenstance disagrees, can comment the statement back to life. (Take it easy, be happy!) Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 13:34, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I've re-added it and worked it around a bit - and I just noticed this is two years old. There needs to be more action on this talk page. At least as much as for Talk:Genesis creation narrative, which has an archive time of what, five days, and is constantly 400kB+ long! St John Chrysostom view/my bias 13:39, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Summary of key opinions rendered in the Summa (below the diagram)[edit]

Not only is this whole (very long) section apparently copied verbatim from the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (judging by the stilted prose), it seems to duplicate most (if not all) of the points above. I know Schaff-Herzog is public domain, but we're still supposed to paraphrase.--Wi2g (talk) 23:53, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Published in 1917?[edit]

The infobox currently lists the book as having been published in 1917. That is, at best, highly misleading. Unless someone can give a good reason for having that year there, it should be changed. Kevin Nelson (talk) 03:11, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Inadequate photograph[edit]

The photograph captioned "Summa theologica, 1596" shows the title page of an index to the work -- "two copious indices", in fact. If I can figure out how, I'm going to add a picture of an early edition of the work itself. Wgrommel (talk) 20:19, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 1 July 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Withdrawn by nominator. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 01:08, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

(non-admin closure)

Summa TheologicaSumma TheologiaeWP:COMMONNAME according to majority of sources from the past 26 years; compare Summa Theologica and Summa Theologiae on this Google NGram. Jujutsuan (Please notify with {{re}} talk | contribs) 08:34, 1 July 2016 (UTC) --Relisting. Anarchyte (work | talk) 13:07, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose per COMMONNAME and the N-gram chart. (This version is more useful.) While it's true that "Summa Theologiae" has been slightly more popular since the early '90s, the difference is small (~15% more "Theologiae" by my count). The number of mentions from 1930 to 1970 is significantly greater than in recent years, and, until 1980, "Theologica" strongly prevailed. Since there's no clear preference today and there was a clear preference in earlier times—when most of the mentions of the Summa are recorded—I think we ought to stick with that. (Courtesy ping to (Jujutsuan.) Rebbing 21:28, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.