March 07, 2005

Today in Church History

(TWO in one 'week'! You'll get spoiled, I know you will ...)

March 7, 1274.

A man who is arguably the best theologian of the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas, died this day at 48. Aquinas adapted the writings of Aristotle to Christianity (for good or ill), in the process engaging Averroists in both Christianity and Islam in debate. His Summa Theologiae is still studied by students of all denominations all over the world. His teachings on the relationship between faith and are still studied (and are the subject of the next 'Faith and Reason' segment that I am working on).

Aquinas wasn't always this popular. His classmates thought he was stupid -- they called him a "dumb ox." His aristocratic family thought he was throwing his life away. Nobody thought he would ammount to anything.

They were wrong. The full impact of this man's theology and philosophy cannot be measured even today, but it is safe to say that the Roman Catholic Church, at the very least, would be vastly different in teaching and practice without him.

An outstanding resource on Aquinas can be found here.

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