Edited and introduced by Robert Arp,
Revisiting Aquinas’ Proofs for the Existence of God is a collection of new papers written by scholars focusing on the famous Five Proofs or Ways (
Quinque Viae) for the existence of God put forward by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) near the beginning of his unfinished tome,
Summa Theologica. It is not an exaggeration to say that not only is Aquinas’
Summa a landmark text in the history of Western philosophy and Christianity, but also that the Five Proofs discussed therein—namely, the arguments that conclude to the Unmoved Mover, Uncaused Cause, Necessary Being, Superlative Being, and Intelligent Director—are as compelling today as they were in the 13th Century. Written in a debate format with different scholars arguing for and against each Proof, the papers in the book consist of arguments utilizing various combinations of contemporary science and philosophical ideas to bolster the positions. The result is a revisiting of Aquinas’ Proofs that is relevant, stimulating, enlightening, and refreshing.
This volume contains essays on an array of topics originally presented orally by a master teacher and scholar. With characteristic rhetorical elegance, Msgr. Synan, late professor at the Pontifical Institute in Toronto, delivered these papers in a variety of settings on issues relating to his specialty of mediaeval Christian philosophy and to his interest in Jewish-Christian dialogue, on the theology of sanctity and of death, and on morally significant historical events. Medieval figures represented here include Aquinas, Augustine, Abelard, and Godfrey of St. Victor; some topics treated are war and peace, philosophical innovations, ecclesiology, evil, goliardic verse, law and abortion, Church councils and Jews in the Middle Ages, and convictions uniting Jews and Christians. This book also contains representative sermons–including a Month’s Mind for Etienne Gilson, an introduction detailing Synan’s background and professional contributions, an updated bibliography of his published works, and an extensive index. Especially appealing to those who knew Synan are three posthumous tributes and thirteen photographs from throughout his life. The selections in this volume are scholarly but non-technical, intended for anyone moved to seek elucidation of the topics discussed.