Title Thumbnail

Aquinas Against the Averroists

Ralph McInerny

236 pages
Purdue University Press

In the mid-1260s in Paris, a dispute raged that concerned the relationship between faith and the Augustinian theological tradition on the one side and secular leaning as represented by the arrival in Latin of Aristotle and various Islamic and Jewish interpreters of Aristotle on the other. Masters of the arts faculty in Paris represented the latter tradition, indicated by the phrase "double truth theory." In 1269, Thomas Aquinas wrote the polemical work On There Being Only One Intellect, Against the Averroists (De unitate intellectus contra averroistas). Thomas is intent on countering two views: first, that intellect is not a faculty of the soul that animates our body, and second, that there is a single intellect existing separately that suffices for all people. Brief as it is, this work puts into play all the significant strands of Thomas’s teaching on man – historical doctrinal, philosophical, and theological. It is a valuable source for discussing Thomas’s views on the relationship between Aristotle and Christianity and puts to rest the misleading claim that Thomas baptized Aristotle.” The introduction places the work historically and sketches the controversy to which it was a contribution. Part 2 includes the Latin Leonine text and McInerny's translation. Part 3 analyzes the basic arguments of Thomas's work and provides a series of interpretive essays meant to make Thomas accessible to today's readers.