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A Shorter Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica Edited and Explained for Beginners
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A Shorter Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica Edited and Explained for Beginners

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  599 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
A shortened version of Kreeft's much larger Summa of the Summa, which in turn was a shortened version of the Summa Theologica. The reason for the double shortening is pretty obvious: the original runs some 4000 pages! (The Summa of the Summa was just over 500.) The Summa is certainly the greatest, most ambitious, most rational book of theology ever written. In it, there is ...more
Paperback, 162 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Ignatius Press (first published October 1st 1990)
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Andrew Price It is a curated collection of what he thinks are Aquinas' most essential points. It was recommended to me buy a friend who is Dominican, so I am…moreIt is a curated collection of what he thinks are Aquinas' most essential points. It was recommended to me buy a friend who is Dominican, so I am taking his word on it. So far the introduction has been enlightening and I am pleases with which parts of the Summa are included. (less)
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QUESTION 1. Of the Summa Theologica

ARTICLE 1. Whether One Should Read the Summa Theologica?

Objection 1. The Summa Theologica was written over 700 years ago (1265-1274). Thus, whatever philosophy is contained in this book is long outdated. Further, the state of scientific knowledge was much less advanced at that time then now, so it is impossible that there can be found any insight into the nature of things. Therefore, avoid this book.

Objection 2. St. Thomas Aquinas was a Christian philosopher an
Jacob Aitken
Kreeft did an okay job, given his aims. Usually when people give an abridgment or a summary of a major thinker, they cut out all of the necessary passages and/or highlight the abridger's pet doctrines. Kreeft does a good job in avoiding that (though he is not entirely flawless as I will try to demonstrate).

Kreeft's method is to devote 75% of the page to essential passages from St Thomas. Kreeft's footnotes provide a running commentary.

Pros: Kreeft does a good and brief summary of medieval though
Jim Janknegt
Aug 31, 2012 Jim Janknegt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Finally made it through this book I have owned for probably 20 years. Thomas is difficult for us moderns to understand. I read several books about Thomism that explained the terms and definitions which made it possible to get through this book. The best one being Aquinas: a Beginners Guide by Edward Feser. Still, it is satisfying to read Thomas's own words and understand them with the help of Kreeft's excellent footnotes.
Dec 07, 2011 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very important book. I found it extremely challenging to read. The Summa was written over 700 years ago, in Latin, so the English form reprinted here in Kreeft's book is a word for word translation of a bygone philosophical style of writing. The Summa is also written in a precise formula, broken down into Books, Questions, Articles, Objections, A Contrarian summary, A detailed answer, and refutations to each objection. There is no deviation from this format, but the philosophy constant ...more
Dean Akin
An arduous read. This book is a summery of Aquinas's Trilogy of Theology and is certainly not a light read. It's a suitable attempt to bring the academic work of Aquinas down to the laymen. It's full of questions that Aquinas attempts to answer. Some questions I found interesting like "Whether the Will of God is changeable" or "Whether God wills evils" and not so interesting questions like "Whether the soul is composed of matter and form" or "Whether the Will is a higher power than the intellect ...more
J. Alfred
May 25, 2012 J. Alfred rated it liked it
I appreciate St. Thomas both for his faith and for his smarts (I appreciate the same things about Peter Kreeft, the editor!). This is some excellent, if difficult, stuff to meditate over, especially the section on the summum bonum-- the greatest good (which turns out to be God). I freely admit, however, that even this little book is WAY over my head. If I remember correctly, however, Chesterton said that Luther himself wouldn't even make a dot in Aquinas' labrinthine intellect. So I don't mind b ...more
Rita Sherepa
Aug 03, 2010 Rita Sherepa rated it really liked it
I am struggling with my Philosophy of God and Man class. Don't know if it's because I've never studied philosophy or I'm expecting to understand way more than required for this level. So I'm reading this book to get more background on what we're studying. It really helps
A. M.
Apr 22, 2013 A. M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a portion of this book as a reference for a philosophy project, and I ended up reading the rest of the book too! A deeply insightful guide into St. Thomas Aquinas' masterpiece.
Oct 16, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't really comment on Kreeft's abridgment, as I'm the intended audience to his work for beginners. My only experience with Thomas in the past was hearing some stereotypical Protestant critiques, learning about the five ways in a medieval philosophy class, and reading Chesterton's biography of him.

But what can I say? If Thomas thought all that he had written was straw at the end of his life, what on earth have I been reading up till now? This is marvelous stuff. Thomas's method is both ration
Apr 27, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
I have been putting off reading two saints' works, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross. The reputation of both precede them. I should not have been worried about Aquinas, except for maybe for the sheer volume.[return][return]This book, more edited than written by Kreeft, is a marvelous introduction and uses Aquinas's own words in anthology form from a more direct and literal translation than some others books. Kreeft included copious amounts of footnotes that are a great aid in understa ...more
Blake Reas
Jan 15, 2015 Blake Reas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kreeft is an excellent guide to Saint Thomas. In order to read Thomas his aristotelianism and the changes he introduced into it must be understood. Many of the caricatures of the 5 ways for God's existence stem from a complete misreading of the metaphysical system of Thomism. Kreeft remedies many of these misunderstandings.
Drier than I expected. This is probably because a lot of the intellectual issues that preoccupied Aquinas are no longer live issues (or at least aren't for me).

I probably need a combined Summa/Biography approach to make it more relevant.
Jan 17, 2016 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A summary of a summary sounds lazy, but it's still over 500 pages - hardly a condensed book.

Other than priests-in-training, almost nobody will read St. Thomas' original Summa Theologica at 3,500 pages. The reading isn't hard (it was intended for a "mass" audience in the 1200s), just voluminous. Peter Kreeft didn't attempt to actually summarize all of the original, but to excerpt and footnote the highlights.

Each excerpt is the full discussion of one of St. Thomas' questions about Catholic theolog
Aya Wahb
If you happen to read the Muslim philosopher "Ibn Sina, Al Farabi, Al Ghazali, and Ibn Rushd", you will understand a lot of the concepts that he talked about because he is so influenced by them.
Jun 29, 2012 booklady marked it as open-book
Have a new guide to St. Thomas which may help me to get into this... I've always wanted to read and learn about St. Thomas and this book was better than many I've tried but even so I had some difficulties.

I'm putting it on a new shelf, called "OPEN BOOK". I have a small number of books set aside that I'm not actively reading but when the time is right, there is a Blue Moon, or all the stars align with Mars, then I will pull one of them down and honor it with my gracious presence. Lucky book! ;)
Doris Raines
Great. Book
Oct 07, 2015 Valerie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, catholicism
Over my head.
Nov 13, 2012 Sher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 71 2012 Reading Challenge- Peter Kreft teaches a course on Aquinas, and has written a variety of books on religion. Summa means summary, and this book is a summary of Aquinas' summary. Aquinas' work is 3000 pages long; this book a bit over 500. A large part of the book deals with the nature of God. Excellent footnotes. Interesting the book like Sheer Joy is presented in question/answer format. Both Aquinas' position and the opponents positions are presented. Skimmed.
Dec 18, 2009 Nathaniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Kreetf's footnotes are we worth the cost of the book. He writes in the books introduction that part of the process of reading Aquinas is being a little confused at first and working though it. The only issue with this book is that it really only represents one part (first part of the second part) of the Thomist text.
i love these titles! we will have to see which one i end up reading, the summa summa, or the shorty summa. I know full well i will never have the stamina to read the super summa! and im curious to see what it says.. without having to read all 6 volumes.
Nov 05, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: studies
Went through the 12 lecture course by Peter Kreeft, and included study guide. Written by him. Dry at times, but well worth the effort. I appreciated Kreefts explanations and illustrations. It was fairly easy for us non-theologians to understand.
Sep 19, 2014 Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kreeft's selections and notes are very helpful, and this is an accessible way to get at Thomas's work. I did lament the lack of explicitly theological material, but Kreeft's a philosopher, so it's to be expected.
Nathan Hilkert
Sep 16, 2007 Nathan Hilkert is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important theologians of the West...the techincal Aristotelian terms are a challenge for me, but there's a pleasure in finally breaking through to an understanding of his writing.
May 04, 2013 Danny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great intro to Aquinas' great summa. Kreeft's comments are often helpful, and one quickly discerns that he has little patience for modern philosophy until the present day.
I can tell that it is going to take a LONG time to get through this booK! But I also think it will be well worth the effort. I'm growing very fond of St. Thomas.
G Walker
I read this and a large part of McDermott's translation when being mentored by a former Thomist... Kreeft makes Aquinas accessible, but I still don't care for him.
Christopher Bates
Very technical and one of the few offerings of kreeft I didn't enjoy, although it would make an excellent reference book
Brittany Petruzzi
The first bit is difficult, but once you realize how Thomas goes about his business, the whole thing becomes astonishingly clear.
Jan 02, 2009 Sarah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Per Rob's suggestion. Talking about this book made my mind feel exercised. I loved it! Hopefully I will love the book.
Apr 22, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find St Thomas's language quite dense at times but the sheer common sense of so much of what he writes is palpable.
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Thomas Aquinas (sometimes styled Thomas of Aquin or Aquino), was a Dominican friar and priest notable as a scholastic theologian and philosopher. He is honored as a saint and "Doctor of the Church" in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Aquinas lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between fai
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“St. Thomas is as practical and plain and reasonable in ethics as Aristotle, or Confucius, or your uncle.” 0 likes
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