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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Your Saturday Afternoon Latin Selection

It always makes me chuckle to read Aquinas' Prologue to his Summa Theologiae. His intent in composing the Summa is to provide a theology book for beginners! If there is any proof that the Middle Ages were a more intelligent time than our own, it is the fact that the Summa was intended for beginners. It was presupposed that a beginner in theology was already quite well schooled in philosophy. Likewise, as one journeys through the Summa, Aquinas assumes that the student has integrated and knows all that has gone before. In short, the tertia pars makes no sense unless one understands the prima pars and the truths enunciated therein. It takes patience, understanding and prayer to work through the Summa. Crack out those Latin Dictionaries for this week's installment. I have always thought it providential that the Latin for "summary" is summa, as the same word is for "highest" or "the topmost." Indeed that is what the Summa is.

Quia catholicae veritatis doctor non solum provectos debet instruere, sed ad eum pertinet etiam incipientes erudire, secundum illud Apostoli I ad Cor. III: "Tanquam parvulis in Christo, lac vobis potum dedi, non escam"; propositum nostrae intentionis in hoc opere est, ea quae ad Christianam religionem pertinent eo modo tradere secundum quod congruit ad eruditionem incipientium.

Consideravimus namque huius doctrinae novitios in his quae a diversis conscripta sunt plurimum impediri; partim quidem propter multiplicationem inutilium quaestionum, articulorum et argumentorum; partim etiam quia ea quae sunt necessaria talibus ad sciendum non traduntur secundum ordinem disciplinae, sed secundum quod requirebat librorum expositio, vel secundum quod se praebebat occasio disputandi; partim quidem quia eorundem frequens repetitio et fastidium et confusionem generabat in animis auditorum.

Haec igitur et alia huiusmodi evitare studentes, tentabimus, cum confidentia divini auxilii, ea quae ad sacram doctrinam pertinent breviter ac dilucide prosequi, secundum quod materia patietur.



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