"One of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature"; Early printing of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica S. Thomae Aquinatis.
Item Number: 90389
Sumpt. Joannis Girin, & Barth. Rivière in vico Mercatorio: Lugduni, 1677.
Rare early printing of Thomas Aquinas’ “most perfect work, the fruit of his mature years, in which the thought of his whole life is condensed.” Folio, four volumes bound into one in one quarter morocco over marbled boards with gilt titles and tooling to the spine in seven compartments within raised bands, all edges red, woodcut printer’s device to the title page, woodcut headpieces and initials. In very good condition. Library stamp to the title page. A prime example of this important and influential work.
One of the most influential works of Western literature, the Summa of Aquinas was first published in 1485 as an instructional guide for theology students, including seminarians and the literate laity. A compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church, it presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. Aquinas conceived the Summa specifically as a work suited to beginning students: "Because a doctor of catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but to him pertains also to instruct beginners. As the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 3: 1–2, as to infants in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not meat, our proposed intention in this work is to convey those things that pertain to the Christian religion, in a way that is fitting to the instruction of beginners." Not only has the Summa Theologiae been one of the main intellectual inspirations for Thomistic philosophy, but it also had such a great influence on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, that Dante's epic poem has been called "the Summa in verse."