Thomas Aquinas and His Predecessors

The Catholic University of America Press has recently published a book by Leo Elders S.V.D. Thomas Aquinas and His Predecessors: The Philosophers and the Church Fathers in His Works (Washington 2018; table of contents and parts of the book may be found at Google Books). It is an English translation of the book Thomas d’Aquin et ses prédécesseurs. La présence des grands philosophes et Pères de l’Église dans les oeuvres de Thomas d’Aquin (Paris: Les Presses Universitaires de l’IPC 2015). The publication analyzes ways in which Aquinas used the works of earlier philosophers and Church Fathers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Jerome, John of Damascus, Avicenna and Averroes).

Prof. Leo Elders, S.V.D. is a Dutch philosopher and Thomist, a retired member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. He worked, among others, at Nanzan University in Nagoya, at Angelicum and Lateranum, and at the Center for Thomistic Studies in Houston. He published numerous works on Aquinas’ ethics, metaphysics, natural philosophy and philosophical theology. For many years now he has also researched sources used by St. Thomas (his papers on this issue may be found in e.g. The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West, vol. 1, ed. I. Backus, Leiden – New York – Köln 1997 and Reading Sacred Scripture with Thomas Aquinas: Hermeneutical Tools, Theological Questions and New Perspectives, ed. P. Roszak and J. Vijgen, Turnhout: Brepols Publishers 2015).

The issue of Aquinas’ use of his predecessors’ (especially of Church Fathers’) works is presently widely researched. For example, the Thomistic Institute in Washington recently organized a conference Thomas Aquinas and the Greek Fathers (some recordings of this session may be found at Soundcloud) and next year the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń prepares an international conference Thomas Aquinas and Church Fathers (submissions may be sent until November 15th, 2018). As something interesting we recommend also a little article from “National Catholic Register”, entitled Which Church Fathers Most Influenced St. Thomas Aquinas?, presenting which Church Fathers were quoted by Aquinas most often in his Summa theologiae.