The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas

Etienne Gilson

In this final edition of his classic study of St. Thomas Aquinas, Etienne Gilson presents the sweeping range and organic unity of Thomistic philosophical thought. Gilson demonstrates that Aquinas drew from a wide spectrum of sources in the development of his thought—from Aristotle, to the Arabic and Jewish philosophers of his time, as well as from Christian writers. What results is an insightful introduction to the thought of Aquinas and the Scholastic philosophy of the Middles Ages.

ETIENNE GILSON was born in Paris in 1884. He became Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1921, and from 1932 until his retirement in 1951 he held a similar chair at the College de France. From 1929 until his death in 1978 he was associated with the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.


“[The volume presents] L. K. Shook’s English translation of the final version of the late Etienne Gilson’s (1884-1978) classic overview of the Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. . . . Gilson was one of the pioneers, in the early part of this century, of medieval philosophy in general and the work of Aquinas in particular. He sought to restore to the study of Aquinas’ texts an historical sensitivity, thus rescuing them from the near canonical status accorded in the well-intentioned but inhibiting late 19th-century Papal revival of Thomimstic studies and preserved in the so-called ‘manual theology’ of the seminar curriculum. . . . The endnotes are an invaluable resource as is the still unsurpassed Catalogue of Aquinas’ works compiled by Eschmann and included as an invaluable Appendix here. . . . This volume is an essential yet inexpensive buy and its republication by Notre Dame is a welcome initiative.” —Theological Book Review, October 1992, Vol.8, no.1

“[A]s the only English version of any edition of Le Thomisme, and therefore for years a kind of manual for North American students approaching Aquinas, the book deserves re-circulation. With it appears the masterful ‘Catalogue of St. Thomas’ Works’ prepared by the Rev. I. T. Eschmann to accompany Shook’s translation and available nowhere else. . . . [I]ts overview of principles and conclusions in the history of the texts has not been surpassed.” —The Philosophical Quarterly, October 1995, Vol.45, no.181