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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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  22 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, 165 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Ignatius Press (first published 1485)
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Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know how to rate this book exactly. Should I rate Peter Kreeft or Thomas Aquinas? At the beginning of this book, Kreeft states that the Summa was meant to be a reference book, like a dictionary or encyclopedia. After reading "A Shorter Summa", and trying very hard at times not to fall asleep, I have to agree 100%. It certainly doesn't read like anything we are used to in modern philosophy texts. The language can be very terse and abstruse, and the debate format can become tiresome after ...more
J. Alfred
May 22, 2012 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
Feb 22, 2010 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 ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quite helpful as an introduction to the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Sometimes I thought that Kreeft's notes had a little too much cheerleading for Thomas, but he also helped me to understand the patterns that characterized Thomas' thought as well as some of the technical vocabulary. ...more
Dec 18, 2006 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
Jun 29, 2012 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! ;)
Nov 05, 2011 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.
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This summary of St. Aquinas' treatise is a rigorously logical but rewarding gem. ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
NOT the Cliff's Notes Version

While I enjoyed Kreeft's introduction this is not an overview of the Summa or even a Reader's Digest version. It's a shorter version of Kreeft's Summa of the Summa which I'm currently enjoying immensely. Essentially it's a selection of excerpts for a specific course, as designed by Kreeft at Boston College, and if this is ALL you are interested in then rate it 5* - it is worth buying and your professor will fill in anything extra you might need.

The book contains 25 o
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, theology
Summa Theologica is a work that I've begun reading before, and I've read chunks of it, but it is big and systematic and structured - so it does not make that easy to get through. So, Peter Kreeft makes it easier by extracting the most important part into a shorter version, this being the shortest version. In addition, he adds a bunch of informative and necessary footnotes to guide the reader. Not all are needed tho but appreciated still.

These excerpts of the Summa are really the heart of the wor
Noah Calcagno
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Aquinas deserves every iota of his reputation. He is one of the best philosophers and theologians of all time, and reading a paragraph of his work can be more helpful and encouraging than an entire volume of someone else’s.

A truly brilliant mind that certainly left its mark on Christianity and Western thought.

Peter Kreeft, the editor, also did an excellent job of selecting passages that highlight some of Aquinas’ most central thoughts.
Curby Graham
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a shortened version of Kreeft's earlier work A Summa of the Summa. Which is of course a condensed version of Aquinas' Summa. So from 3000 pages to 500 pages down to 160 pages. Kreeft takes only what he considers absolutely essential from Aquinas and adds a fair amount of notes and commentary. It is a very good way to introduce someone to Aquinas and makes a good companion to GK Chesterton's biography of the Doctor. ...more
Joseph Laughlin
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Of course, Aquinas’s Summa is a 10 star book, who has the authority to say otherwise? But as far as this summary goes, either your interested in getting to know the Summa, or you’re not. If your case is the former, start at this book - if the latter, find something else that may interest you more and maybe come back to this later.
Matthew Richey
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good introduction if you lack the time, courage, stamina, or inclination to tackle the Summa or the Summar of the Summa. Kreeft's commentary is helpful in grasping the historical and philosophical backdrop of Aquinas' arguments. I enjoyed it enough to think about reading the 500 page version this summer (although we'll see, the summer reading list is long!). ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I have to confess that most of this book was a bit of a slog with a few bright moments such as Aquinas using words like “Appleness”. I was also a bit haunted by my college philosophy class in which we debated the existence of our desks and chairs. However I did enjoy the discussion of man’s happiness and on what that did NOT depend. And Kreeft’s footnotes were very helpful overall.
Nicholas Ferrucci
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is not an ordinary read. I have been wanting to purchase the complete Summa but this books gives a good glimpse of what to expect. The longest discussion was on Summum Bonum. It just falls short on other topics. I just hoped more articles were included.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was confused sometimes but I'll still give it 5 stars :)

At least until the final exam :(
Luke Waters
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
It's good. Just pretty hard to follow. Not particularly magnetic. ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Ok, do I didn't actually read it all :) A holiday in NI got me out of that one :) ...more
Holly Johnsen
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I have NO clue what I’m reading whatsoever. I tried to get through this book, but I’m not digesting anything. I have a bachelors, but this is way above my reading level.
marisa inez
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
a good theology intro
Vikas Datta
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quite profound and most cogently explained..
Daniel Roberts
rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2018
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Jan 13, 2008
Joseph Wilbur
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May 17, 2020
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Jun 19, 2013
Designing Mind
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May 03, 2019
Rick Slotboom
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Jun 03, 2019
Paul R
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Aug 19, 2019
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Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist, professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College, and author of over 45 books including Fundamentals of the Faith , Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven , and Back to Virtue . Some consider him the best Catholic philosopher currently residing in the United States. His ideas draw heavily from religious and philosophical tradi ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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