Reading Aristotle with Thomas Aquinas
His Commentaries on Aristotle's Major Works
In order to be able to provide clarity and offer a nuanced response to this question a careful study of all the relevant texts is needed. This is precisely what the author sets out do to in this work.
Each chapter is devoted to one of the twelve commentaries Thomas wrote on major works of Aristotle including both his massive and influential commentaries on the Metaphysics, Physics and Nicomachean Ethics as well as lesser known commentaries. Elders places Thomas's commentary in its historical context, reviews the Greek, Arabic and Latin translation and reception of Aristotle's text as well as contemporary interpretations thereof and presents the reader with a thorough presentation and analysis of the content of the commentary, drawing attention to all the places where Thomas intervenes and makes special observations. In this way the reader can study Aristotle's treatises with Thomas as guide.
The conclusion reached is that Thomas's commentaries are a masterful and faithful presentation of Aristotle's thought and of that of Thomas himself. Thomas's Christian faith does not falsify Aristotle's text, but gives occasionally an outlook at what lies behind philosophical thought.
About the Authors
"If Thomism is not reducible to a mere 'baptized Aristotelianism,' the Aristotelian option of Saint Thomas is nevertheless resolute, and it deeply permeates his philosophy as well as his theology. With the magnificent 'summa' that the late Leo Elders, a distinguished scholar both of Aristotle and St Thomas, devotes to St Thomas's commentaries on the works of the Philosopher, we now have a systematic and clear study, based on flawless erudition, on a major but controversial aspect of Aquinas's literary production. In effect, this indispensable working instrument is also a committed book. Elders takes a position in the contemporary debate on the relevance and accuracy of Aquinas's reading of Aristotle and on the continuity between the philosophy of the Stagirite and that of Aquinas."—Serge-Thomas Bonino, OP, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome
"With this impressive achievement resulting from a lifetime's research on Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, Leo Elders provides a lucid, comprehensive account of Aquinas's commentaries on the Philosopher. Thus, he offers to beginners an agile introduction to twelve of Aristotle's works, under the guidance of St. Thomas, as much as he provides to specialists a concise and stimulating synthesis of Aquinas's philosophical thought. Old questions are raised from new perspectives, including why, during a remarkably busy period of his theological career, and in the absence of any institutional obligation to do so, Aquinas undertook such a broad project of philosophical exegesis. Through a recursive method of analysis, from one work to the next Elders sheds light on the complexity and richness of Aquinas's interpretation of Aristotle."—Marta Borgo, The University of Lucerne
"Leo Elders taught with a clarity, profundity, and breadth of knowledge which made him like a giant among scholars of Thomas Aquinas. We are fortunate indeed to have his posthumous book Reading Aristotle with Thomas Aquinas which examines Thomas's twelve commentaries on Aristotle. These commentaries have much to teach us today, and Elders has made it easier to learn what Aristotle and Thomas have to teach."—Christopher Kaczor, author of Thomas Aquinas on Faith, Hope, and Love: A Summa on the Summa on the Theological Virtues
"Was Thomas Aquinas an 'Aristotelian' and if so in what sense? This question remains debated, and is connected in great part with an evaluation of Aquinas' commentaries on Aristotle's works. In this wide-ranging study, one of the great recent figures of modern Thomistic philosophy weighs in with both keen analysis and erudition. Fr. Elders provides an insightful synoptic overview of Aquinas' reception of the Aristotelian corpus in ways that greatly advance an understanding and insight into Aquinas' own philosophy and the nature of Thomism."—Thomas Joseph White, OP, Rector Magnificus, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome
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