St Thomas Aquinas lived from 1224/5 to 1274, mostly in his native Italy but for a time in France. He was the greatest of the medieval philosopher/theologians, and one of the most important of all Western thinkers. His most famous books are the two summaries of his teachings, the Summa contra gentiles and the Summa theologiae.
About the book:
The Metaphysics of Theism presents an explanation and evaluation of Aquinas's natural theology, the paradigm of which is the first book of the Summa contra gentiles. But in addition to considering this as a monumental achievement of medieval philosophy, Norman Kretzmann approaches it as a continuing enterprise which can be developed with considerable benefit in contemporary philosophy.
Professor Kretzmann follows Aquinas in seeing natural theology as the means of integrating philosophy and theology. What makes this enterprise natural theology is its forgoing of appeals to revelation as evidence for the truth of propositions. What makes it natural theology is its agenda: to investigate, by means of analysis and argument, not only the existence and nature of God but also the relation of everything else—especially human nature and behaviour—to God considered as reality's first principle. Professor Kretzmann argues that natural theology offers the only route by which philosophers can, as philosophers, approach theological propositions, and that the one presented in this book is the best available natural theology.
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Review from previous edition Kretzmann's treatment highlights the systematic and cumulative nature of Aquinas's natural theology ... It is comparatively hard ... to find books that both come to grips with Aquinas's arguments in all their rich detail, and address the sorts of worries that a contemporary philosopher (especially a contemporary analytic philosopher) might have about their cogency. The Metaphysics of Theism is thoroughly successful on both scores, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in Aquinas, or more broadly in philosophical theology. ( Christopher Hughes Mind)
Norman Kretzmann's new book, The Metaphysics of Theism, occupies a special and prominent place in the Author's scholarly activity. ( Agnieszka Kijewska, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie)
Kretzmann's is a sympathetic and in many ways thoroughgoing bid both to make this medieval work intelligible to contemporary readers and to commend its metaphysics. It is enhanced by a number of well placed reminders of just how each part fits into the overall plan of the work. ( Barry Miller, International Philosophical Quarterly)
His book is much to be welcomed ... It is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in Aquinas and/or the project of natural theology. ( Brian Davies, OP, Journal of Theological Studies)
this is an excellent book, all the more welcome in that there is not similar commentary available. It contains a handy chronology of Aquinas's life, an index locorum, a concordance between the numbering of the Marietti edition and the Pegis translation, and a good bibliography. One looks forward to the appearance of the companion volumes. ( Gerard J. Hughes, Religious Studies)
Norman Kretzmann, Susan Linn Sage Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Cornell University, New York, completed this book at the beginning of 1998, and died in the summer of that year. He taught philosophy at Cornell for more than thirty years, and also held appointments at Bryn Mawr College, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois, and visiting positions at Wayne State University and the Universities of Minnesota, Arizona, and Oxford. This is the follow-up to Professor Kretzmann's 1997 Clarendon Press volume The Metaphysics of Theism: Aquinas's Natural Theology in Summa contra gentiles I. He also published scholarly editions of various medieval texts (by William of Sherwood, William of Ockham, Paul of Venice, and Richard Kilvington), many learned articles and essays, and a number of edited collections. He was the principal editor of The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy (1982), and co-editor with Eleonore Stump of The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas (1993).
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