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Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP, who has already written the most highly-regarded contemporary two-volume introduction to the life and works of Saint Thomas, has composed a shorter book that captures the essence of the career of the Angelic Doctor for a more general audience. Torrell follows a biographical outline of the saint, although he also includes brief accounts of what the author takes to be the most important features of Aquinas's teachings.
Part biography, part travelogue, part theology, Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP’s A Brief Life of Thomas Aquinas is a multi-faceted look at the life and the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Torrell’s hope is that his biography of the doctor communis intertwined with his theological examination of Aquinas’s writings will enable the reader to understand the person behind the writer and the writer behind the person. Aquinas’s life, Torrell claims, can shed light on his work with respect not only to their number, or to the varied topics he writes about, but to their content as well. It would be inaccurate to view Aquinas hiding behind a mountain of books in the cells he occupied in the various houses he inhabited around the Dominican world. He taught, he preached, he debated, he faced a number of conflicts of ideas that were not of his own making, but out of which would come some of his best-known writings. Torrell’s unique approach makes accessible one of the greatest minds of our tradition and the richness of the legacy he left the Church.
Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP, is author of the standard two volume biography of Aquinas, published in English by CUA Press. The Press also published his Aquinas's Summa: Background, Structure, and Reception in 2005. He has many other books in French. Benedict M. Guevin, OSB, is professor of theology at Saint Anselm College.
"Torrell provides the gold standard for research on the life of Aquinas. His interpretation of Aquinas’s achievement ranks among the most accepted among scholars and students."~Romanus Cessario, OP, Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Theology, Ave Maria University