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The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews

The well-known Italian semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco discloses for the first time to English-speaking readers the unsuspected richness, breadth, complexity, and originality of the aesthetic theories advanced by the influential medieval thinker Thomas Aquinas, heretofore known principally as a scholastic theologian. Inheriting his basic ideas and conceptions of art a

Unknown Binding, 287 pages
Published January 1st 1988 by Harvard University Press (first published 1956)
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Umberto Eco's reading of Aquinas is sympathetic, far from the extremes of uncritical Thomist fanpersonship (which is how he characterizes vast swathes of the existing literature at the time of writing in 1956; even the neo-Thomists he chooses to cite receive significant pushback) or offhand kneejerk dismissal of all things medieval, or in fact everything written about aesthetics before 1954. He teases fascinating ideas out of superficially unprepossessing material: Aquinas's ideas about beauty a ...more
I really did enjoy this. It is just marvellous, full, but clear. Eco's depth and grasp of medieval theology and philosophy is truly astounding.
Jan 21, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
An exceptional book that provides a great incite into both Aquinas' understanding of the concept of beauty as a transcendental name of God, but it is also a thorough examination of the psychological framework in which desire operates relative to truth and goodness.
May 19, 2013 Warren rated it really liked it
As is to be expected, Umberto Eco is strong on aesthetic analysis and weak on theological reflection. It is worth a read if you enjoy medieval aesthetics. Obtuse otherwise.
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Umberto Eco was an Italian writer of fiction, essays, academic texts, and children's books, and certainly one of the finest authors of the twentieth century. A professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, Eco’s brilliant fiction is known for its playful use of language and symbols, its astonishing array of allusions and references, and clever use of puzzles and narrative inventions. His pe ...more
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