Thursday, October 11, 2012

Aquinas and idiocy

You could even look at what St. Thomas Aquinas was doing in his later Summas as trying to immunize Europe against the strands of more rigorous philosophical thought that were coming from the Islamic and Jewish worlds. After all, he started out with Summa Contra Gentiles, against the Gentiles, by which he meant the Islamic philosophers. These folks, who were very close to Europe via Spain, posed an intellectual threat to the Church's hegemony, especially since they very ably employed Aristotle while the Church in western Europe mostly relied on Plato. So, Aquinas took Aristotle and did everyone a favor by answering whatever questions they may possibly have had for them, meaning that, you know, no need to look over there at what the Islamic philosophers were doing, we've got the answers right here.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, in other words. And the work did a good job: it helped Europe stay in idiocy for centuries after Aquinas' death.

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