What do you think of Thomas Aquinas?

I think Aquinas was brilliant, methodical, insightful, prolific, influential, flexible in his thought, and rightly credited much of his own trajectory to Aristotle. In this sense, I think it is fruitful for anyone interested in philosophy or theology to study his work. Of all of his contributions, one theme that has always struck me as particularly important is his assertion that faith need not operate independently of reason, and vice versa; and, more specifically, that insight and understanding (about God, nature, virtues, etc.) can be arrived at via both avenues and without inherent contradiction. They are simply different forms or avenues of knowledge. This was and remains a fairly major departure from many theologians before and after Aquinas, and is (I suspect) why the rigor of his deliberations was so rewarding. That said, I suspect Aquinas himself, in his last year on this Earth, seems to have realized that this departure from fideism may not have beeb sound as he at first believed…But alas, we can’t really know that this is the case, because he didn’t write about this realization — he just stopped writing altogether. For more discussion of this last point, see T Collins Logan's answer to What could St Thomas Aquinas have seen in his mystical experience?.


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