1st Edition

Thomas Aquinas Theologian of the Christian Life

By Nicholas Healy Copyright 2003

    The work of Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275) has become increasingly influential in recent doctrinal theology and theological ethics, aside from his extraordinary historical significance.  Thomas has been read ever since his death, today as much as ever.  What is it that distinguishes his work, and can his theological judgments and proposals still be brought to bear in contemporary theological inquiry?

    This book presents a new study of Thomas Aquinas, focusing on the evangelical, pastoral and theocentric character of his premodern theology. Healy presents Thomas as first and foremost a theologian of the Christian life, who when he used philosophical concepts did so in order to fulfill the task of theology, which he conceived as an ecclesial discipline dedicated above all to helping Christians follow Jesus Christ. Thomas's interpretation of Scripture and his theological method, his Trinitarian ontology, his Christology and his Christological anthropology, conception of the church and sacramental theology, are all examined from this perspective. 

    The richness and complexity yet profound simplicity of the Christian way of life Thomas reveals is shown to make a valuable contribution to the thought of contemporary readers, and the significance of Thomas's writings for contemporary theological questions and concerns is revealed.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction: life and interpretation; Nudum Christum nudus sequi; The dialectic of wisdom; The economy of salvation: Jesus Christ; The Christian life: Christ and the Holy Spirit; Life in the body of Christ; Index.


    Nicholas M. Healy, St John's University, New York

    'Healy asks, "Do we need another book on Thomas?"  We certainly do need another book if it is as good as this one.  To write with such beautiful clarity and economy about the thought of Aquinas as Healy has done is an extraordinary achievement.  This is a book that should be read by anyone beginning to read Aquinas but also by those who have read the Summa Theologica for years.'
    Stanley M. Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theology, Duke University, USA

    'I cannot imagine a better account of Thomas Aquinas as a Christian theologian'. 
    Fergus Kerr OP, Regent of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, UK

    'A wonderful introduction to Thomas, and to the Christian Life, as that involves engagement with scripture and the effort to follow Christ faithfully.'
    Kathryn Tanner, Professor of Theology, University of Chicago, USA

    'Healy [...] shows in an accessible way some of the character, extent and complexities of Aquinas' mature theology... Healy's contribution adds significantly to the recent secondary literature on Aquinas and, for the present reviewer, he offers the most compelling reason for engaging intensely with Aquinas' deceptively 'clear and succinct' writings: one might learn how to be a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.' New Blackfriars

    '[Healy's] stimulating reading of Aquinas paints a fuller portrait of him for students of theology.  Those who remain committed to more philosophical interpretations will also find much of interest here, not least the challenge to sketch alternative portraits of Aquinas postmodernus.' TLS

    'The book presupposes some acquaintance with Aquinas's theology and should be of particular interest to post-graduates and others interested in theological method.' Theological book review

    'Healy's work has a number of virtues that make it well worth choosing from amongst the crowd... Nicholas Healy deserves high praise for his engaging style and impressive synthetic abilities.  He skillfully hightlights many of the most important lessons in Thomas's rich theology and presents them in their historical context in a concise manner.  This book is a delightful read that takes many of Thomas's theological gems and weaves them into a beautiful tapestry.' Nova et Vetera

    'The organization of material in Healy's book is helpful, and his writing is both lively and clear.  But his greatest contribution is the simple reminder that Thomas was a Christian theologian, a master of the sacra pagina, and a faithful member of the Order of Preachers.' The Thomist

    'This is a mature study of Aquinas' mature theology and strongly to be recommended to readers new to medieval thought and anxious to get a fair picture of the scene before the pre-Reformation battles really began.  Evangelical readers will find it stimulating.' Anvil

    'Nicholas Healy's book is a remarkable achievement, especially when one considers its brevity.  Its readable yet scholarly style makes it an excellent resource for seminaries, theology courses, and general readers interested in Aquinas.  The book reads like a well-paced survey of the Summa Theologiae through the lens of Aquinas's scripture commentaries (particularly John's Gospel).  I commend it especially for its intentionally theological reading of the Summa, and interpretation that brings the full richness of Aquinas's trinitarianism and Christology to bear on everything from his account of creation and analogia entis to his anthropology... Healy has given us an excellent and useful book.  It lives up to its title, making a convincing case that Aquinas is best read as a certain kind of theologian...' Scottish Journal of Theology

    ‘… a concise and highly accessible introduction to Thomas’ theology, surveying his historical context and development, reception history, and the major doctrines of the Christian faith in Thomas’ Summa  Theologiae.’ Theology Forum