Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas as a representative of medieval scholasticism

Table of contents:

Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas as a representative of medieval scholasticism
Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas as a representative of medieval scholasticism

On January 28, Catholics celebrate the Memorial Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, or, as we used to call him, Thomas Aquinas. His works, which united Christian doctrines with the philosophy of Aristotle, were recognized by the church as one of the most substantiated and proven. Their author was considered the most religious of the philosophers of that period. He was the patron of Roman Catholic colleges and schools, universities and academies, and of theologians and apologists themselves. Until now, such a custom has been preserved, according to which schoolchildren and students pray to the patron saint Thomas Aquinas before passing exams. By the way, the scientist was nicknamed the “Angelic Doctor” because of his “power of thought.”

scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas

Biography: birth and studies

Saint Thomas Aquinas was born in the last days of January 1225 in the Italian city of Aquinas in a family of aristocrats. From early childhood, the boy liked to communicate with the Franciscan monks, so his parents sent him to a monastery school to receive a primary education, butlater they were very sorry about it, because the young man really liked the monastic life and did not like the way of life of the Italian aristocrats at all. Then he went to study at the University of Naples, and from there he was going to Cologne, to enter the faculty of theology of the local university.

what is scholasticism

Difficulties on the way of becoming

Thomas' brothers also did not like that their brother would become a monk, and they began to hold him hostage in their father's palace so that he could not become a servant of the Lord. After two years of seclusion, he managed to escape to Cologne, then his dream was to study at the famous Sorbonne at the theological faculty. When he was 19 years old, he took the vow of the Dominican order and became one of them. After that, he went to Paris to fulfill his old dream. In the student environment of the French capital, the young Italian felt very constrained and was always silent, for which his fellow students called him "Italian bull". Nevertheless, he shared his views with some of them, and already during this period it was obvious that Thomas Aquinas was speaking as a representative of scholasticism.

Further progress

After studying at the Sorbonne, having received degrees, he was assigned to the Dominican monastery of Saint-Jacques, where he was to conduct classes with novices. However, Thomas received a letter from Louis IX himself, the French king, who urged him to return to court and take up the post of his personal secretary. He, without a moment's hesitation, went to the court. It was during this period that hebegan to study the doctrine, which was later called the scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas.

After some time, a General Council was convened in the city of Lyon to unite the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. By order of Louis, France was to be represented by Thomas Aquinas. After receiving instructions from the king, the philosopher-monk went to Lyon, but he did not manage to reach him, because on the way he fell ill and was sent for treatment to the Cistercian abbey near Rome.

It was within the walls of this abbey that the great scientist of his time, the luminary of medieval scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas died. Later he was canonized as a saint. The works of Thomas Aquinas became the property of the Catholic Church, as well as the religious order of the Dominicans. His relics were transported to a monastery in the French city of Toulouse and are kept there.

Thomas Aquinas works

Legends of Thomas Aquinas

Various stories related to this saint have been preserved in history. According to one of them, once in the monastery at the hour of the meal, Thomas heard a voice from above, which told him that where he is now, that is, in the monastery, everyone is full, but in Italy, the followers of Jesus are starving. This was a sign to him that he must go to Rome. He did just that.

scholasticism philosophy of thomas aquinas

Thomas Aquinas Belt

According to other accounts, the family of Thomas Aquinas did not want their son and brother to become a Dominican. And then his brothers decided to deprive him of chastity and for this purpose they wanted to commit meanness,called for his seduction of a prostitute. However, they failed to seduce him: he snatched a piece of coal from the stove and, threatening them, drove the harlot out of the house. It is said that before this, Thomas had a dream in which an angel girded him with a belt of eternal chastity, bestowed by God. By the way, this belt is still kept in the monastery complex of Shieri in the city of Piedmont. There is also a legend according to which the Lord asks Thomas about what to reward him for his fidelity, and he answers him: “Only by You, Lord!”

Philosophical views of Thomas Aquinas

The main principle of his teaching is the harmony of reason and faith. For many years, the scientist-philosopher has been looking for evidence that God exists. He also prepared responses to objections to religious truths. His teaching was recognized by Catholicism as "the only true and true". Thomas Aquinas was a representative of the theory of scholasticism. However, before moving on to an analysis of his teachings, let's look at what scholasticism is. What is it, when did it originate and who are its followers?

medieval scholasticism thomas aquinas

What is scholasticism

This is a religious philosophy that originated in the Middle Ages and combines theological and logical postulates. The term itself, translated from Greek, means "school", "scientist". The dogmas of scholasticism formed the basis of teaching in schools and universities of that time. The purpose of this teaching was to explain religious views through theoretical conclusions. Sometimes these attempts resembled a kind of explosion of groundlessefforts of logic for the sake of fruitless reasoning. As a result, the authoritative dogmas of scholasticism were nothing but steadfast truths from the Holy Scriptures, namely the postulates of revelations.

Judging by its basis, scholasticism was a formal doctrine, which consisted of planting grandiloquent reasoning that was incompatible with practice and life. And the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas was considered the pinnacle of scholasticism. Why? Yes, because his teaching was the most mature among all such.

Thomas Aquinas as a representative of scholasticism

Five proofs of God by Thomas Aquinas

According to the theory of this great philosopher, one of the proofs of the existence of God is movement. Everything that moves today was once set in motion by someone or something. Thomas believed that the root cause of all movement is God, and this is the first proof of his existence.

The second proof he considered was that none of the currently existing living organisms can produce itself, which means that initially everything was produced by someone, that is, God.

The third proof is necessity. According to Thomas Aquinas, every thing has the possibility of both its real and potential existence. If we assume that all things without exception are in potentiality, then this will mean that nothing has arisen, because in order to move from the potential to the actual, something or someone needs to contribute to this, and this is God.

The fourth proof is the presence of degreesbeing. Speaking of various degrees of perfection, people compare God with the most perfect. After all, only God is the most beautiful, the most noble, the most perfect. There are no such people and cannot be, everyone has some kind of flaw.

Well, the last, fifth proof of the existence of God in the scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas is the goal. Both reasonable and unreasonable beings live in the world, however, regardless of this, the activity of both the first and the second is expedient, which means that a reasonable being controls everything.

Scholasticism - the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas

The Italian scholar and monk at the very beginning of his scientific work "The Sum of Theology" writes that his teaching has three main directions.

  • The first is God - the subject of philosophy, which is the general metaphysics.
  • Second - the movement of all intelligent consciousnesses to God. He calls this direction ethical philosophy.
  • And the third is Jesus Christ, who appears as the path leading to God. According to Thomas Aquinas, this direction can be called the doctrine of salvation.

The Meaning of Philosophy

According to the scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas, philosophy is the servant of theology. He ascribes the same role to science in general. They (philosophy and science) exist in order to help people comprehend the truths of the Christian religion, because theology, although it is a self-sufficient science, but in order to assimilate some of its truths, it becomes necessary to use natural science and philosophical knowledge. That's why she must use philosophy andscience to explain Christian doctrines to people in an understandable, visual and more convincing way.

The problem of universals

The scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas also includes the problem of universals. Here his views coincided with those of Ibn Sina. There are three types of universals in nature - in things themselves (in rebus), in the human mind, and after things (post res). The former constitute the essence of the thing.

In the case of the latter, the mind, through abstraction and through the active mind, extracts universals from certain things. Still others testify to the fact that universals exist after things. As Thomas put it, they are "mental universals."

However, there is a fourth type - universals that are in the divine mind and they exist before things (ante res). They are ideas. From this, Thomas concludes that only God can be the root cause of everything that exists.

why the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas is considered the pinnacle of scholasticism


The main scientific works of Thomas Aquinas are "The Sum of Theology" and "The Sum against the Gentiles", which is also called the "Sum of Philosophy". He also wrote such a scientific and philosophical work as “On the Rule of Sovereigns”. The main feature of the philosophy of St. Thomas is Aristotelianism, since it carries such features as life-affirming optimism in connection with the possibilities and significance of theoretical knowledge of the world.

Everything that exists in the world is presented as unity in diversity, and the individual and individual - as the main values.Thomas did not consider his philosophical ideas original and argued that his main goal was to accurately reproduce the main ideas of the ancient Greek philosopher - his teacher. Nevertheless, he dressed the thoughts of Aristotle in a modern medieval form, and so skillfully that he was able to raise his philosophy to the rank of independent teaching.

The importance of a person

According to St. Thomas, the world was created precisely for the sake of man. In his teachings he ex alts him. In his philosophy, such harmonious chains of relationships as "God - man - nature", "mind - will", "essence - existence", "faith - knowledge", "individual - society", "soul - body", " morality - law", "state - church".

Popular topic