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Is There Room for Reason in Religion? An Introduction to Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae

It seems that, besides the philosophical disciplines, we have no need of any further teaching.
— Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

In the opening sentence of his Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas asks whether human reason renders revelation, and everything that depends on it, extraneous. If we can investigate the whole world with our minds and eyes, why would we need prophets? On the other hand, religions centered around an alleged revelation face a challenge in defending the value of philosophical and scientific inquiry. If revelation gives us all we need, why would we need to labor with our reason, wading into deep waters fraught with the danger of error? 

Thomas Aquinas, in the above-quoted Part I, Question 1 of his Summa Theologiae, then presents a complementary view of reason and revelation which exerted a profound influence on Western philosophical, theological, and political thought. Dr. Christopher Wells (General Theological Seminary) will provide an introduction to the Summa’s famous opening.  




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