This volume contains writings by two thirteenth-century Dominicans, both doctors of the church. The two writers are St. Albert the Great (1200–1280), patron saint of natural scientists, and the “common doctor,” St. Thomas Aquinas. Both are famous for their contributions to philosophy and theology, but they are also both important in the history of spirituality.
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Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) entered the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino at the age of five to begin his studies. He was transferred to the University of Naples at age 16, where he became acquainted with the revival of Aristotle and the Order of the Dominicans. Aquinas went on to study in Cologne in 1244 and Paris in 1245. He then returned to Cologne in 1248, where he became a lecturer.
Aquinas’ career as a theologian took him all over Europe. In addition to regularly lecturing and teaching in cities throughout Europe, Aquinas participated regularly in public life and advised both kings and popes. Thomas Aquinas also profoundly influenced the history of Protestantism. He wrote prolifically on the relationship between faith and reason, as well as the theological and philosophical issues which defined the Reformation.
Thomas Aquinas is most well-known for his monumental works Summa Theologica and Summa contra Gentiles.
Albert the Great was a German Dominican friar and a Catholic bishop. He is often regarded as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages and is honored by the Catholic Church as one of 35 Doctors of the Church.