Aquinas: Summa theologica, pars prima

Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologica was originally written as a teaching document, a guide for beginning theology students. At more than 3,500 pages, it may seem an intimidating introduction to Christian theology; however, the influence the Summa exceeds its volume. Aquinas’s work influenced every subject in the liberal arts, especially astronomy, logic, and rhetoric. Aquinas’s methodical disputations, rhetorical style, and logic are as much an education as his insights on the balance of faith and reason within Christian doctrine.

The Summa has three parts; pars prima, displayed here, includes Aquinas’s examination of the existence of God, the nature of God and of Man, and the creation of the universe.

—Patrick Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor, English

Daniel Thompson, chair of religious studies, explains Thomas Aquinas’s motivations for writing the Summa, its content, and its organization in three parts. Interview is an online supplement to the University of Dayton exhibit Imprints and Impressions: Milestones in Human Progress—Highlights from the Rose Rare Book Collection, held Sept. 29 through Nov. 9, 2014.