Augustine to Aquinas (Latin-Christian Authors)

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© Oxford University Press, 2014. Thomas Aquinas integrated the newly translated philosophical source that is Greek, Arabic, and Jewish authors into a unique synthesis with his own Christian tradition efficiently. The most prominent and certainly one of the most influential, among Aquinas's Latin-Christian authors of reference was Augustine of Hippo (354-430). The North African bishop had a significant influence on intellectual discussion at the end of the twelfth and during the thirteenth centuries. Aquinas follows Augustine in theological matters such as Trinitarian theology, and the questions of divine providence and grace. Aquinas accepted Augustine's doctrines on causality and exemplarism but he clearly rejected some of his metaphysical teachings, and a series of claims concerning theory of knowledge and psychology, namely the role of the 'seminal reasons' and of divine illumination. Aquinas placed the issue in the larger setting of different philosophical options, such as Augustine vs. Aristotle, Arabic philosophy vs. the 'genuine' peripatetic tradition, and Platonism vs. Aristotelianism. Aquinas's second commentary (Paris 1259) is dedicated to the short tract De hebdomadibus, in which Boethius set out to analyze the goodness of substances. Boethius coined some very influential ontological key notions, in particular the distinction between id quod est and esse. Aquinas paid a good deal of attention to this distinction, interpreting Boethius's id quod est as ens, which is one who participates in the act of being (actus essendi), whereas being itself (ipsum esse) is defined as that which does not participate in anything else.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Aquinas
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Arabic philosophy
  • Christian tradition
  • Ipsum esse
  • Theological matters


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