Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A shorter road from Aristotle to Aquinas

Not sure what I was thinking, but I had a grand plan to read translations of most of Aristotle's works, before moving on to Aquinas' 3000-page Summa Theologiae. Great minds consider the combination of Aristotle and Aquinas to be the greatest and truest philosophical system, so it was an admirable goal.

Too hard, too hard it is to read translations of all of Aristotle, especially when one does not have much free time. I grinded to a halt after several months of plodding through Aristotle's Categories and Prior Analytics.

Given that "Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong," I have decided to take some shortcuts. First, Adler's book Aristotle for Everybody instead of Aristotle's original works. I should be able to get through that over a few Sundays. Then on to Kreeft's Shorter Summa, which is a richly footnoted super-slim abridgement of the Summa to 5% of its original size (162 pages). If I get through that, I'll do another iteration with Kreeft's Summa of the Summa, another footnoted abridgement to 18% of its original size (539 pages). And if I get through that, I may try to tackle the 3011-page original. Maybe.


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