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Aquinas for Armchair Theologians (Armchair Theologians)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  77 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Thomas Aquinas was one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Christianity and in western civilization. Yet his theological views are complex and presume acquaintance with technical philosophical language. Now Timothy Renick has produced an attractive and accessible account of Aquinas's life and thought that will make his views clear to nonspecialists. The topi ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Westminster John Knox Press (first published February 15th 2002)
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Justin Tapp
Jun 11, 2014 Justin Tapp rated it really liked it
Unlike the previous Armchair Theologians book I read (on Calvin), this book discussed very little of Aquinas' life and instead focused on his philosophical works and their impact on the Western world. Renick is a professor of religion at Georgia State and does a good enough job making the complex somewhat humorous, and using some simple analogies to explain difficult concepts. Renick looks mostly at the Summa Theologica, but also explores some of Aquinas' other works. This is not a comprehensive ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
A simple explanation of who Thomas Aquinas was and why he is still important today. As a Protestant, I had only a vague idea of who he was before I read this, and I did not realize what his contributions were. He was one of the three or four most influential thinkers not just of Christianity but of Western thought in general. He founded the principle of using reason to explore and defend Christian dogma, rather than accepting pronouncements by pure faith, which was crucial to defending it agains ...more
Jan 02, 2010 TJ rated it liked it
Shelves: ministry, textbooks
Very good intro into aquinas. Though a tad flip at times. Didn't need to smartass commets or references to current culture. But still a good introduction and insight into Aquinas.
Feb 23, 2013 Jimmy added it
This is the second book I read from the series of books “for Armchair Theologians.” I’m beginning to doubt these books are for armchair theologians. For this series, the editors picked a professor of religion at Georgia State University. In the beginning of the book the author reveal his interests for Aquinas through his professors in his graduate studies at Princeton University. The first chapter was a good and concise biography of Aquinas, and I learned that Aquinas was actually a name of the ...more
Don Weidinger
Dec 23, 2012 Don Weidinger rated it really liked it
Understand truth by thinking, via 1200's, prove truth thru reason, evil as a lack of good thus seek good, creation is only good, God makes only good and you can choose evil, evil is privation of good, metaphysics is after/beyond physical realm, trust in God/relationship with God, moral and natural law based on reason, what is end result of action, end result of sex is procreation--love/unity--pleasure(all 3), just war is just cause-authority-intent, double effect is 1 good/1 bad, do no harm, mor ...more
Sep 09, 2009 Coyle rated it really liked it
I'm tempted to give this book three stars instead of four solely because of the terrible writing style, but credit where credit is due. Renick has indeed done the unlikely by giving a brief, readable, and somewhat comphrensive survey of some of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. It is impressive to engage Aquinas in less that 200 pages without being trite or fluffy, and Renick does it well.
Having said that, the book can be an annoying read at times. No doubt Renick is an excellent lecturer, but many
May 21, 2015 Tammy rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
I really enjoyed learning about Thomas Aquinas and I find I agree with a lot of his theology. But, I found the author of this book, Timothy Renick, to be rather flippant. He tried too hard to attempt to be "funny," and he just wasn't.

Still, I really appreciated the summary of Aquina's thought.
Eric Nelson
Mar 14, 2015 Eric Nelson rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I, too, found this book to be an excellent summary of Aquinas and his teachings. I found Renick to be witty, yet informative, and exceedingly accessible. He indroduces complex ideas with clarity and simplicy that is hard to find.[return][return]Renick did a wonderful job helping the average person see the importance of Aquinas in our lives today. I did, however, find it interesting...almost see Renick attempt to apply Aquinas's teachings to modern issues and place the theologian on ...more
Caleb Gibson
Mar 09, 2015 Caleb Gibson rated it really liked it
I like this Armchair Theologians series! This is my first book to read. I got the Audiobook for free, so that was why I read this one first. They covered the history well!

5 star for book. I'm just not Catholic, so idk how I feel about Aquinas
Jun 17, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
this is an informal, somewhat lighthearted (maybe even, occasionally irreverent) introduction to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. In a few short chapters (9 i believe) you get a brief bio of Aquinas, why he matters and a gentle introduction to his thoughts on evil, sex, politics, just war and a few other subjects. The last chapter describes how the summa theologica is laid out and how to tackle reading it.

In all I am very satisfied with this first book of my summer reading program of becoming
Carson Banks
Oct 10, 2014 Carson Banks rated it it was amazing
This was such a joy to read.

Renick makes learning about Thomas Aquinas fun, concise, and yet very informative for people wanting to learn. :)
Adam Shields
Nov 03, 2011 Adam Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short review: This is a short, very readable introduction to Aquinas. It is not going to go deeply into depth, but it does give a good overview to Aquinas' major contribution (understanding of God, Natural Law, Just War theory, sexuality, politics, etc.). People seem to be split on whether you like it based on if you think it is a funny book. It is a bit corny, but respectful of the subject and very easy to listen to and still get the point. This is the second of the armchair series I have read. ...more
Kenny Parnell
Nov 04, 2014 Kenny Parnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good high level of Aquinas' life and thought along with some of the implications.
May 07, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
I love these "...for Armchair Theologians" books. This is my fourth or fifth. Very enjoyable. Personally, I find Thomas Aquinas unreadable, but I get a lot out of reading about him and his thinking. What a remarkable mind he had. My late grandfather and namesake Michael J. Cremin Jr. was a Thomist, and has a quote from Saint Aquinas on his gravestone: Do Good, Avoid Evil.

Excellent advice.
Kessia Reyne
Jul 02, 2010 Kessia Reyne rated it really liked it
Shelves: prsnl-intrst
A basic, straightforward overview of Aquinas and his contribution to modern thought. Written with a touch of humor, Renick seems to have a healthy suspicion of Aquinas. It was a little more simplistic than I was hoping for, but it served as a great introduction. I especially appreciated his guide at the end about the structure of and how to read Summa Theologica.
Jul 27, 2014 Joan rated it liked it
The voice of reason regarding religion just before the Renaissance
Aug 12, 2010 Tom rated it it was amazing
I did this on the audio approach – only three CDs. A very accessible discussion of Aquinas, his methods, his effects on western philosophy, and some of his thousands of points. It motivated me to look into the actual writing - besides its messages, it is an excellent example of logical thought and presentation.
May 15, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok
The book provides a general introduction to Aquinas, focusing more on his political and legal influence than on his theological insights. The book is greatly marred by the author's jokiness and entire absence of wit as he attempts to wink at the reader. Aquinas deserves better than such stupidity.
Pastor Jamie Strickler
May 10, 2012 Pastor Jamie Strickler rated it really liked it
Good introduction to the thought of St. Thomas. Most of Aquinas' writings are written like legal arguments and are not very fun to read. This book will give one an wntertaining overview of this great Christian mind.
Jul 30, 2007 Russell rated it liked it
The book is a surface read. It only delves into philosophy very lightly. The story of Aquinas resisting temptation as his canonizing miracle was funny. I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
Dec 27, 2011 Annette rated it it was amazing
Good introduction!
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