As Thomism a philosophical and theological teaching direction is referred to, the follow-up to the works of Thomas Aquinas in the late Middle Ages and in modern times. Their followers are called Thomists. In the 19th and early 20th century Thomism underwent significant promotion and Renaissance, especially by the Holy See. This was also underlined by Pope Leo XIII. (1878-1903) published the encyclical Aeterni patris (1879 ) and the development of neo-scholasticism and neo-Thomism.

  • 3.1 Thomistic philosophy
  • 3.2 Philosophical and Theological features
  • 3.3 proof of God
  • 3.4 Ontology of Thomas Aquinas


The doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a Dominican philosopher, theologian and scholastics. He was an analytical thinker, leaving works that made ​​him the most important Catholic church teachers. His most famous works included the textbook of theology ( Summa Theologiae ) and the textbook against unbelievers Peoples ( Summa contra gentiles ), in addition, he wrote commentaries on the Bible and Aristotle. Among his early works counted as the well-known treatise De principum regime, on the Prince rule. He knew how to give with his writings in theology in the nature of science and to explain that do not contradict faith and reason. Pope Pius V (1566-1572) in 1567 elevated him to the Doctor ecclesiae and Pope Leo XIII. (1878-1902) declared 1879 the teaching of Aquinas, the " Thomism ," the official philosophy of the Church. With this declaration, Leo XIII committed. the Catholic seminaries of the method and the principles of the theory of Thomism to follow. Another philosophical foundation created Thomas Aquinas with the basic research on the natural law. His doctrine of virtue, in which he referred to the cardinal virtues as fishing to believe in moral theology is considered the scale of human interaction.

Periods of Thomism

Thomas Aquinas was a controversial figure, he was by the then freedom of expression to the promotion of Thomism. The actual development of Thomism experienced different periods of time. The first period was to ward off the criticism and passed through the 13th and 14th centuries. In came the period of commenting and defense between the 15th to the 16th century. The next period was the era of the Counter-Reformation to the 16-17. Century and resulted in the largest circulation of Thomistic doctrine. Only in the 19th century, after the emergence of neo-scholasticism learned Thomism - even neo-Thomism - a further upswing, so also in 1879 with the appointment of Thomism the official Church philosophy.

13-14. century

Against the Thomism turned to the Scottish Franciscan John Duns Scotus ( 1266-1308 ). He put the will over the intellect, because it only as the intellectual interest which direction. This was Scotus the Augustinian Christianity closer than the cool Thomism. During the early Dominicans penetrated the Thomistic conception, designed especially thinkers of the Franciscans, like Roger Bacon (1214-1294), the fully rejected scholasticism alternatives. In Germany counted Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) to the critics of Thomism, he skipped the entire world order of Thomas Aquinas and leaning on God and the soul for money. With William of Ockham (1288-1349) a more English Franciscan ran against the Thomistic conception and led with his modern ideas to idealism of modern times. In Nicolaus followed by Autrecourt (d. 1350) and Nicholas of Oresme ( 1320-1382 ). In addition to the listed Franciscans but criticism was spreading in the Dominican religious order. It was from the French Dominican Durandus of St. Pourçain (d. 1334 ) led, who wrote an anti- Thomistic comment with which he (died in 1290 ) joined the criticism of William de la Mare's.

15-16. century

Among other defenders of Thomism Thomist of John Capreolus (d. 1444 ) came with his book " Defending Siones Theologiae D. Thomae de Aquino " in the foreground. The comments and apologies for Thomism led the works "Summa Theologiae " and "Summa contra gentiles " to university teaching and textbooks. Another proponent of Aquinas, the Italian Dominicans developed at the head of Cardinal Thomas Cajetan (1469-1534) and the Order of General Francis de Sylvestri stood. You also wrote remarkable comments, which found their way into the so-called Editio leonina.

16-17. century

In Spain Thomism in the 16th century experienced an upswing, with the " School of Salamanca " to the Dominicans and Carmelites included, was in charge. Their goal was the harmonization of Thomism with the new order of time. The impulses of the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent ( 1545 and 1563) eventually led to the fact that Thomas Aquinas was raised in 1567 for Doctor Ecclesia ( Church teacher). Thomism of the Spanish Scholastics had worked on the development of practical philosophy and of European international law. As a major proponent and commentators were in this phase of the Dominicans Dominigo Banez (1528-1604), who in grace dispute with the Jesuit Luis de Molina (1535-1600) represented the Thomistic position a leader, and the Dominican Bartolomé de Medina (* 1527, ✝ 1580). They wrote pioneering Comments to Thomas Aquinas, while the Jesuits against the Thomism still acted aloof.

From the 19th century

Now began in the era of neo-Thomism, the Jesuits, the teaching of Thomas Aquinas turn. The neo-Thomism became the core of the neo-scholasticism and had its first beginnings in France and Belgium. The grant for Thomism was in the Findings of Pope Leo XIII. to find who had Thomism, as already mentioned, used for official philosophy of the Church and had taken the works of the founder in the Editio leonina. With the neo-Thomism a "philosophy by Immanuel Kant" began, in the fall back on the early works of Aquinas, such as " De ente et essentia ", about the being and essence.

Teaching content of Thomism

To the doctrine of Thomism include theology, philosophy and scholasticism. Some religious philosophers hold in common the Thomistic interests, methods, and theories as " analytical Thomism " together, they include Alvin Plantinga ( born 1939 ) and Josef Pieper ( 1904-1997 ).

Thomistic philosophy

The philosophy of Thomas Aquinas tried to connect to the philosophy and doctrine of Aristotle and to link these elements with the teaching of the Roman Catholic doctrine. In the Summa Theologica, he presented a synthesis with which he wanted to show an overall interpretation of reality between religion and philosophy.

The works of Aristotle were in the 13th century to university foundations that (around 1200-1280 ) and his pupil Thomas Aquinas spread by Albertus Magnus. The Thomistic philosophy was one of the best known representative of a correspondence or Adäquationstheorie the truth. In the Quaestiones de veritate disputatae have the phrase to the truth as a "match of the matter with the mind ": In the later philosophy of Thomism a distinction is made between a univocal understanding of being and an analog understanding.

Philosophical and theological characteristics

The main work of the scholastic theologian Peter Lombard (c. 1095/1100-1160 ) are the four books of " Sentences " who wrote sentences there are a representation of the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church to the whole of theology. They found their way into Thomism and were later, of Capreolus, used for commenting its. Since the 13th century, his work was part of the standard of theological studies and was commented beside Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. The main work of Thomas Aquinas ' Summa Theologiae " from the period 1265 to 1273 is evaluated. Further deals with the Christology and the Sacraments - In her philosophical and theological doctrine of God, morality and virtue doctrine - even as cardinal virtues known. This analytical, provided with many philosophical elements that work is for Thomism in as much of importance as the revelation of God to set out in him and is wanted by a natural theology consequences. Philosophically, it spans the areas of metaphysics, anthropology and moral philosophy. It's in the sum of theology not only to answering theological questions but also the presentation of philosophical terms and conditions.

Proof of God

In Thomism the proof of God is the necessity between reason and faith in them, it is considered that the reason is the existence of God insightful. For the Thomistic doctrine of the world is a plane full of neat means by which to achieve things greater perfection. The Thomistic proof of God comes from a world of steering ( gubernatio rerum ), according to the highest point is a being that is able to set goals "and that we are called God," says St. Thomas Aquinas.

Ontology of Thomas Aquinas

The science of being and its principles - referred to as ontology - Thomas Aquinas can be represented as follows: A core element of Thomistic ontology is the study of the " analogy of being " which means that the concept of being is not univocal but analogous. On the whole, these considerations take on "being" in Thomism a tiny place, but it is a logical view of how we should look at the different meanings of the term "being". Another important distinction is that of matter and form.

Thomism and the Inquisition

The Dominican Order made ​​since the introduction of the Inquisition in the early 13th century in the papal inquisitors order to trace and prosecute heretics. Besides inquisitors from the ranks of other Orders, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans as inquisitors had during the Middle Ages va in France, Italy and the Holy Roman Empire. The theoretical basis for the Inquisition gave Thomism. For heretics Aquinas in his Summa Theologica demanded the excommunication and the death penalty.

Thomistic educational institutions (selection)

Today, there are several educational institutions and institutes, which define the methods and teachings of Thomas Aquinas, taught and developed scientifically, they are, when they are in ecclesiastical hands, primarily run by Dominicans.

  • The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, is a Papal University in Rome. The college teaches in the Thomistic sense, the subjects of theology, canon law, philosophy and social sciences, to their most famous students was one of Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II ( 1978-2005 ). The Angelicum is taken from the " General Studies " which was founded in 1222 by the Dominicans in 1265 and was under the direction of Thomas Aquinas.
  • The Pontifical and Royal University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Manila in Manila is a private Catholic university. It was founded in 1611 and is therefore one of the oldest universities in Asia.
  • The Pontifical Academy of St.. Thomas Aquinas is based in the Vatican and is dedicated to the teaching and research of Thomism. It organizes international Thomistenkongresse.
  • The University of North Saint Thomas Aquinas is a Catholic university in San Miguel de Tucumán (Argentina ). The first lectures in thomasianischer philosophy began in 1949 in the monastery of Santo Domingo, while the University was founded only in 1965.
  • The Aquinas Institute of Philosophy, Theology and History was founded in 1991 as a college of the Catholic Church in Moscow. 2006, received the university privilege and may lend nationally recognized qualifications.
  • The Thomas Institute in Cologne, is a research institute with the main focus in the philosophical Medieval Studies. The institute was founded in 1948 and is connected to the Department of Philosophy, University of Cologne.