Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225 – 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Roman Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis.
No one claimed Thomas Aquinas got famous on his looks. He was colossally fat, suffered from edema (dropsy), and one huge eye dwarfed his other. Nor was he a particularly dynamic, charismatic figure. Introspective and silent most of the time, when he did speak, it was often completely unrelated to the conversation. His classmates in college called him "the dumb ox." Today, recognized as the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages, he is called "the doctor of angels."
After his death, his body was given to the Dominican Church at Toulouse, where a shrine was erected. However, it was later destroyed during the French Revolution. As a precaution, his body was later moved to the Church of St. Sernin in Toulouse with his left arm sent to the Cathedral of Naples and his right arm to the Dominican Church of S. Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome.
Thomas Aquinas spent the rest of his life traveling between Naples and Paris and Rome, preaching, writing, and helping to solve political and religious arguments as they came up. Dante heard him preach in Florence, and was very impressed. In 1274, while he was traveling on the Pope's business, he got sick and died at the monastery of Fossa Nuova. He was about fifty years old.
Thomas' philosophy of woman is two-sided, and in such a way that it might appear at first contradictory: somehow (and the determination of exactly how is the aim of this study) woman is both equal to man in nature and yet inferior; in their relationship she is subject to man but as his equal.
St. Thomas drew for some of his basic premises on the biological presuppositions of Aristotle, presuppositions, which color the presentation in a manner unfavorable to the female sex.
Four kinds of law:
1. Eternal law. God governs the universe through physical laws, moral laws, and revealed religious laws. Eternal law includes all of these.
2. Natural law (moral law). This is the part of the eternal law that applies to human choices and can be known by our natural reason.
3. Human law (civil law). We create our own laws, in order to apply the natural law to the specific circumstances of our society.
4. Divine law (biblical law). In the Bible, God reveals a special law to guide us to our supernatural end of eternal happiness with Him.
Aquinas uses the term "natural law" to refer to morality, or the moral law. He sees law as a rational attempt to guide action. A law is a prescription that we act or not act; it may also exist in us as an inclination to act in certain ways. A law must be made and promulgated by those in charge of the community.
Laws must be directed to the common good -- to the happiness that is the goal of human actions. Prescriptions that aren't for the common good are unjust. A so-called "unjust law" isn't properly a "law" at all.
Aquinas argues that laws should change to reflect customs (although custom cannot change natural or divine law).
Thomas Aquinas applied this philosophical discourse to his Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God: 1) Motion; 2) Causation; 3) Contingency; 4) Goodness; 5) Design.
At the beginning of his massive Summa Theologica (or "A summation of theological knowledge"), Thomas stated, "In sacred theology, all things are treated from the standpoint of God." Thomas proceeded to distinguish between philosophy and theology, and between reason and revelation, though he emphasized that these did not contradict each other. Both are fountains of knowledge; both come from God.
St. Thomas was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323, and was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V in 1567, becoming the patron saint of all Catholic universities and students worldwide. St. Thomas’ feast day is celebrated internationally on January 28.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was born circa 1224 in Roccasecca, Kingdom of Sicily. Defying his family's wishes for him to become a monk, he joined the Dominican Order while attending the University of Naples. His studies introduced him to the teachings of Aristotle, which greatly influenced his controversial work and ideas. He is now considered one of the Roman Catholic Church's foremost theologians.