Thumbnail image

McGinn, Bernard. Thomas Aquinas's Summa theologiae: A Biography

Thu, Feb 18, 2021 One-minute read

Today, I have finished this book. It was a nice read, well written and interesting. It was not, however, what I had expected it to be.

McGinn did set out to write a biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas' masterwork, his Summa Theologiae. What he wrote was a short biography of Saint Thomas himself, an overview of the Summa and a history of the Ups and Downs of Thomism until Vatican II.

The first 3 chapters – that is: the life of Saint Thomas and the overview of the Summa – are great. The following lecture about the tides of Thomism (from a mostly theological viewpoint) was not necessary. I am always sceptical of people telling me how everyone else has misinterpreted some writer’s work. Who knows how far off the mark McGinn’s interpretation is?

McGinn, Bernard. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: A Biography. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2019. 260 pages, ISBN 978-0-691-19179-9.