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WOF 021: How and Why to Read Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas not only shaped the Church, but influenced much of Western civilization. Who was this great saint? What are some of his important writings? And how should we begin to read his masterful Summa theologiae? Bishop Barron offers some answers in this week’s episode. A bright 14-year-old listener asks about Bertrand Russell’s famous criticism of Aquinas, and how to respond.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:27 – Updates from Bishop Barron’s life
  • 1:53 – How did Bishop Barron discover Thomas Aquinas?
  • 3:23 –  Who was Thomas Aquinas?
  • 4:45 – Surveying Aquinas’ major works
  • 7:42 – Best entry-level books on Thomas Aquinas
  • 10:03 – Aquinas’ unique disputatio style
  • 13:07 – How Thomas Aquinas would engage the New Atheists
  • 15:36 – Why is it worth reading Thomas Aquinas?
  • 17:16 – How should we begin reading the Summa theologiae?
  • 19:40 – The landscape and structure of the Summa
  • 21:44 – Why Aquinas is a spiritual master
  • 24:40 – Question from listener: how to respond to Bertrand Russell’s crtiqiue of Aquinas?

Bonus Resources