Can You Help Me Find This Book?

Before I become entirely mad, I thought I would make an attempt and ask the audience of this little effort if they can help me, because I am really hitting a wall here.

It is about a book of theology.

The book is organised in this way, that it has many hundreds (or thousands) of little elementary steps, like little steps in a huge ladder. You start from a very low level (in fact, the book starts from extremely elementary concepts) and then slowly, slowly build up from there.

The steps are made in such a way that you will always be able to understand that the very small progress from one step to the other is incontrovertible. Every step will, therefore, be a little unassailable truth. You will never find a hiatus, or a logical jump. Every step always follows from a step preceding it.

As you progress, the initially simple steps start to create more complex issues, and these issues are solved. logically, one little step at a time. At some point, the author starts to refer to former steps, for example stating, at step (say) 145: “but this needs to be so, as we have seen in step (say) 74”. You go back to step 74 and read again that, yeah, that was a little piece of logical truth you had actually not thought about; a step which, by the way, was incontrovertibly proven by the steps that preceded it and helped to build the steps after it.

For some reason, my very seasoned brain thought, for many years, that this was the Summa Theologiae. In fact, though, it wasn’t, as the Summa Theologiae is built according to a different schema: the well-known collection of questions, divided in articles, with the presentation of objections, a contrary thesis, Aquinas’ answer, and the final replies to the objections.

But the book I was reading was not that. It was, as stated above, divided in little logical steps, such that at first the steps are so easily and so naturally flowing one into the next that you think your intelligence is being insulted (it is not: it is merely the desire of the author to start from an extremely solid, evidently sound foundation), and then things become more and more complex and more challenging, but without losing the extremely rigorous logic of the start.

One of the most fascinating literary/philosophical/theological experience I ever had.

Many years later, I forgot how this book was called. I am sure I started to read it as I haven’t dreamt it (I would never be able to dream anything of that complexity). I might have read an online version, the book is not in my shelves or, for what I can find, in my Kindle. I would have said the author was the Aquinas, but again I can’t find any book of him written in that way. I am positive it was not the Summa Theologiae for the reasons explained above.

Internet researches yielded no result as I am unable to remember the title or the author of the book, I only remember the way it was structured.

I am very grateful for your help.

Posted on November 16, 2022, in Traditional Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Peter Lombard’s Sententiae?

  2. Could it be Spirago…The Catechism Explained…circa 1903

  3. I don’t think it’s exactly the book your looking for but do you have My Way of Life, a pocket edition of the Summa ? Fathers Farrell and Healy 1952.
    Available through Angelus Press. Excellent resource, highly recommended.

  4. Are you perhaps talking about the Baltimore Catechism?

  5. Is it “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”?

  6. You will probably be able to find it on this site: tinyurl.com/murys5pc. Cheers!

  7. klausmarienburgef2ea65bd9

    If you learn through your readers what the book is called, please let us know as well. Thank you!
    And by the way: Your contributions, almost all, I find ballistic!

  8. I can’t help I’m afraid, but please persevere – something like that would be really worth having.

    Thank you for being such a touchstone. (Another touchstone – a little booklet published by TAN called “Thoughts of the Cure d’Ars”.)

  9. Maybe: Step by Step in Theology an adaptation of Beginnings in Theology by Jack Finegan (1962). It’s a programmed instruction book where one answers simple questions that build up in complexity.

  10. Cardinal Mercier’s ‘A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy’. Louvain 1917?

  11. Maybe “This Tremendous Lover” Eugene Boylan O.C.R
    It does start with the basics and escalates to a guide to the more intense spiritual truths as it goes.

  12. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma?

    • I have that. Sadly, no.

    • josephtamada8702d01f

      Thank you all. I just added the book to my kindle for $0.99. What a beautiful example of the tremendous good the internet can bring. This could be a case study in a course focused on getting souls away from not so beautiful online options.

  13. Perhaps it is My Prayer Book by Father Lasance.

  14. Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages by Taylor Marshall? I could have sworn it would have been Teaching if the Twelve Apostles given it’s structure starting from the simple two great commandments to the 10 and then into finer and finer detail.

  15. Dogmatic Theology by Sheed?

  16. Aquinas did have another work known as the Compendium theologiae (or “Compendium of Theology”). It does not follow the format of his Summa theologica. Instead, it does seem to follow the step-by-step structure that you mention (with references to previous steps, or chapters).
    Sophia Institute Press publishes a version of it with the title “Aquinas’s Shorter Summa” (which may have lead to the confusion) that can be previewed here:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=ST-QAQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
    You can also read (or download in EPUB or PDF) the 1947 version of the “Compendium of Theology” here:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Psc6AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

    • ***** I THINK WE HAVE A WINNER HERE!!!!******

    • josephtamada8702d01f

      Thank you all. I just added the book to my kindle for $0.99. What a beautiful example of the tremendous good the internet can bring. This could be a case study in a course focused on getting souls away from not so beautiful online options

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