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St. Thomas Aquinas

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  1,974 ratings  ·  115 reviews
The classic portrait of Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest of Christian philosophers, by one of the greatest of modern religious writers.
Nook, 0 pages
Published October 6th 2010 by Janie Books (first published 1933)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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booklady
This is my second complete read of G.K.Chesterton’s classic treatment of the “Angelic Doctor” – as St. Thomas is sometimes referred to – and I do not plan on it being the last. In fact, I suspect subsequent reads to be even more fruitful than this one which was a significant improvement on my introduction to the work back in the 1990’s.

As St. Thomas is considered one of the greatest minds to have ever lived and his biographer, Chesterton, not a slacker himself when he puts pen to paper, the rea
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Joe Dantona
This isn't a biography; it is an adventure story!

Of course, Chesterton would have scoffed at calling this small book a biography in any case. But what it severely lacks in biographical data (which, of course, was not the author's aim) it makes up for in immense creative use of certain significant events in the great saint's life. Between dinner with St. Louis and his arguments against the Augustinians, to choosing the life of a poor Dominican monk instead of following the rich life of an abbot s
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Douglas Dalrymple
Chesterton has only a few things to say about Aquinas, really, but that’s the way it is with all his books: the ostensible subject is most of the time fondly neglected for the atmosphere surrounding it. And while from most writers behavior of this sort would be intolerable, from Chesterton, somehow, it’s better than tolerable; because almost no one else is this fun to read.

Chesterton’s Aquinas is no vague hypothesizer of miniature angels traipsing about in Nana’s sewing kit, but the champion of
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Monica
I am a huge Chesterton fan, and I've been wanting to read more about the men and women of faith who have come before us. This seemed the perfect book to fit the bill. I WISH, however, that I was far more well-read than I am, and that I had actually read St. Thomas Aquinas' work first. I own a copy of Summa Theologica, but it's rather daunting, and I have to admit that I've never taken the time to delve into it. Chesterton assumes you already know the work - this book, although it claims to be a ...more
David Saxon
I've now read Heresy, Orthodoxy, and Saint Thomas Aquinas, desperately trying to enjoy Chesterton. He is so oft-quoted and admired. His writing is witty, elegant, and powerful (rhetorically). Unfortunately, I find myself rarely agreeing with him. His Catholicism dominates his reasoning. This was especially true of Aquinas. Chesterton presents Aquinas' recovery of Aristotle as a rescue of the Incarnation and the goodness of God manifest in creation from the negativity and hyper-spirituality of Au ...more
Kirk Lowery
I must admit that I had high expectations of this book. G. K. Chesterton has a huge reputation as a writer. Since he was a devout Catholic, I expected an excellent book on Thomas. I was disappointed.



First, the author does not give a coherent narrative of Thomas' life. He makes many references to events and people of the 13th century (a good thing), but he expects the reader to already know about them. You will get a great deal more out of this book if you have already read an encyclopedia articl
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Jonathan B
I started reading "Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide" by Edward Feser around the same time as this. Though I haven't finished Feser's book yet (I'm a little more than halfway through), I like his book much better than Chesterton's. It seems like Chesterton spends too much time talking about stuff that isn't very important to Aquinas or his philosophy or his theology. Had he spent less time going after Luther (just one of his many "rabbit trails"), he could have spent more time explaining the philosoph ...more
Tom
This is a perfect book for someone like me: a lapsed but still interested Catholic who could never keep Aquinas and Augustine straight. Chesterton packs more theology and philsophy into this slim volume, and makes it much more accessible, than any massive tome on same subject. I don't think I've ever read any thing that combines brevity and challenging ideas like this book. It's confirms my belief that all such books should be written by intelligent laymen instead of academic specialists. And he ...more
Jon Stout
G. K. Chesterton’s biography of Thomas Aquinas is so defensive and sarcastic in tone that it does not seem realistic. Chesterton’s arguments repeatedly take the form that St. Thomas was neither this extreme (Platonic, mystic, Buddhist, Hegelian) nor that extreme (Aristotelian. Manichean, Muslim, pragmatic), where the extremes range all over the board, including many never known by St. Thomas. The saint always occupies the middle ground of common sense and the essence of Christianity, according t ...more
Bobbi Martens
Chesterton may not make the life of Aquinas crystal and simple like we might expect a biographer to do, but he does illuminate much about the character and the philosophy of the man and make it very graspable. At the end of this book, I am not floundering for a light switch or buried under heaps of heavy intellectual thoughts. Chesterton has made me think clearly and in a new way in more than one place, and has made me smile in dozens; and he done so while teaching me about one of the greatest m ...more
Nefficus
Reminds me of the line in the movie "National Treasure" where the girl says to Nick Cage..."people don't talk like that any more." That is the case for Chesterton...authors don't write this way any more. Admittedly there were moments that I struggled with historical references that were unfamiliar, but that is a failure of the reader and not the author. A brilliant sketch of a brilliant saint. It seems impossible that one can do justice to a man as large as Aquinas in 110 pages, but GKC pulls it ...more
Noah
This is certainly not a biography but more of a love letter to a revival of Thomism against modernism. Chesterton's biting sarcasm can grow tiresome, but one clearly picks up on his affection for Aquinas. The latter sections of he book are helpful for grasping the basics of Aquinas's ontology. Good introductory reading for Aquinas before digging into a monster like the Summa.
Brian
Chesterton at his most anti-pomo. The last two or three chapters alone worth the price of admission. Devastating, absolutely devastating. They are also the chapters that do the bulk of explaining Thomistic philosophy; beyond that most of it is autobiography, but for that reason, might even be good for the high school student.

That said, Chesterton gives some amazingly good descriptions of Luther the Augustinian monk; that's my guy. Of course, he's wrong, quite wrong, that Luther was against the u
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Taylor Marshall
This is, hands down, the best biography of Thomas Aquinas ever written. I recommend that all students of Saint Thomas Aquinas read this bio by Chesterton!
Erik Graff
Feb 11, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chesterton fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
This is more of a personal appreciation of the theologian than an objective biography or an exposition of his philosophical or theological thought.
Paul
Gilbert Keith Chesterton—semi-officially known as “the oft-quoted G. K. Chesterton”—would have us believe this little volume is a sketch or an outline of Thomas Aquinas’ life and thought. It’s difficult for me, however, to classify this book as anything even roughly resembling a biography. Chesterton clearly places Aquinas in thirteenth-century Italy and France; otherwise, however, he mentions only one specific date or year in the entire book (and not until page 141!). There’s no real chronology ...more
Benjamin
This was one of those books that sat on my shelf for two years before I finally picked it up. Once I actually started it, I could not put it down. This is a fantastic introduction to the philosophy of St. Thomas. If you never got around to taking a medieval philosophy class in undergrad, or if (like me) everything you know about St. Thomas' philosophy comes from reading Dante, here is your chance to catch up. Chesterton was writing for his era, but based on all of the science v. religion talk we ...more
Bryan
Jul 10, 2010 Bryan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thinkers, theologians
G.K. Chesterton + St. Thomas Aquinas = perfect combination

For people interested in philosophy, religion, the nature of man, and how to grow closer to God, I'd highly recommend this book. Chesterton does a great job of creating a portrait of the man who reconciled Aristotle with Christianity. Most memorable to me was his description of the ending of Aquinas' life, his humility, his recognition of how small and dependent we all are before God, and the honesty of Aquinas' heart as he prepared to fa
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Keith
I've read two books recently with a Roman Catholic "bent." GK is known as a Christian apologist (among his many talents). This biography of Thomas Aquinas was written with entertaining and valuable insights. However, by the time you reach the end of the book you find yourself immersed in a polemic argument about the philosophical opinions of Aquinas and their value/weaknesses. That portion is not for the weak of heart (i.e. at least a little interested in philosophy). If you can make to the end, ...more
Ben De Bono
Chesterton is great. Aquinas is great. Chesterton writing about Aquinas is really, really great.

Czarny Pies
Feb 08, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one. Chesterton does not do justice to the issues he raises.
Recommended to Czarny by: I am a solid Chesterton fan but this book was a disappointment.
I am in agreement with everything that G.K. Chesterton asserts in this book which is why it is such a great disappointment to me. Chesterton says things that I agree with and then fails to present any arguments in defence of his assertions.

While Saint Thomas Aquinas has typically been regarded as very old (or very medieval) for the last two hundred years. G.K. Chesterton rightly points out that in his time, he was revolutionary and was involved in fighting very contemporary errors.

Chesterton arg
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Brandon Rodriguez
Just finished "The Dumb Ox" loved it, every perplexing statement was following with a pleasant paradox. This read (like all of GK's) require more studying than reading if you want to really learn something and they get better with age, or repetition. I will be returning to this in a few years. His approach to St, Thomas is unusual which makes the book so different than others, he talks about everything but the history of the saint and the theology he held, saying "it would be a much bigger book" ...more
Jennifer
Sometimes very hard to follow. This was my first Chesterton book. He's incredibly smart and from what I've read about him, a very versatile and deep author. However, as much good information as he put in this book, he got very rambly and off-topic, and it took him a while to bring the topic around to being relevant to St Thomas, making it hard (for me at least) to follow. You might need to do some homework before you read this book...
Emerson John Tiu Ng
....a different perspective biography of St. Thomas Aquinas...
Heath
I enjoyed the book. As a Protestant, I found it intriguing that Chesterton sets up the Reformation as a battle of Aquinas vs. Augustine (though he would actually call it a corrupt form of Augustinianism battling a corrupt form of Thomism). It would seem Chesterton's dislike of Martin Luther stems not so much from his separation from the Catholic church as from his large shadow eclipsing Aquinas in modern times.

Chesterton's portrait of Thomas's Christian Humanism is helpful, and worth heeding as
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Fr.Bill M
This is one of the most "accessible" treatments of the Great Catholic theologian ever written, and Chesterton's insights into his character and his impact on the development of Christianity and Western culture are invaluable. Read this before reading anything else about Aquinas.
Rick Davis
I like the fact that even when Chesterton gets his facts wrong (as he does often when dealing with Augustine or anything about the Reformation) his ideas are still right. This was also a great book for getting random insights into Dante, who relied heavily on St. Thomas.
Chuck
now i gotta actually read more about st. thomas aquainas. i feel much like the biography i read on st. vincent de paul.

i have some info on the person, and a basic background on their thought, but I really actually need to read what they wrote.

good thing he wrote so much
Theresa
I should say from the get-go that I'm not a Chesterton fan. Yes, his writing is clever and witty and at times affords a great insight into a topic. But I don't like apologetics and he always strikes me as someone with an axe to grind. He champions Catholicism, and I have no problem with someone standing up for his convictions. I'm saying this book is stylistically a period piece from the 1930's.

What I liked best was the context he so colorfully provides since I would assume there is not a lot of
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Thomas
G. K. Chesterton has a style all his own. He wanders through the life of St. Thomas, first by comparing and contrasting him to Francis of Assisi, then anecdotally exposing the reader to the life, personality, and theology of the Dumb Ox. Chesterton allows that Thomistic experts will be less than satisfied because of omissions in the life of the Saint and novices may be mystified by undocumented or unexplained allusions that dot the narrative. Not to mention, that his literary style is far deeper ...more
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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“St Thomas (Aqinas) loved books and lived on books... When asked for what he thanked God most, he answered simply, ‘I have understood every page I ever read’.” 14 likes
“[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha.” 9 likes
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