Helping me To Find That Book: Full Success By Half!
After I wrote this post, I had many answers, showing the great quality of the readers of this little effort.
One of the answers had (with huge hat tip to reader Quoter Meister!) what it seemed to me the winning take: Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium of Theology.
This book had two characteristics of the book I was looking for and that I remembered (or seemed to remember):
- Written by St Thomas Aquinas, and
- Structured as “steps” building one on another.
Full of enthusiasm, I started reading the book (there is a link to an electronic version in the comments to the other post).
The book is excellent, and I recommend to everyone with an interest in theology to give it a try. It can be read in sections, which further enhances the possibility of a reader to get from it the required information or to digest it in more manageable logical chunks. The book also shows, though there is no need for that, the utter superiority of old, thinking people to what passes for intellectuals today.
However, the book is not exactly what I was looking for, or better said: it is not exactly the book I was trying to find.
This is a theological treatise starting with a treatise on Faith and, specifically, God. It is, therefore, a theological work from the get go.
The book I remember reading had two differences with this one.
- The “steps” were much shorter than in this book. They were so short that you would devour the first ones, same as you might get a flight a small steps running (before, slowly, the going gets harder). Also, every step had only one logical advancement, explained once (this one often has three or more explanation of the step, from very early on).
- The steps started not from God, but from the observation of reality. It was a theology work built on philosophy. It was a book which (as far as my memory can assist me) set up to explain reality, and God’s place in it, starting (in pure Aristotelean fashion) from the observation of reality itself and building from there.
Therefore, what I would say is that the Compendium of Theology does exactly what I remember the other book doing, but not in exactly the same way I remember the other book doing it. Of course, you can say that my brain has a certain age by now, and I would agree with you. It can also be that the other work I read was a manipulation or extrapolation of Thomistic thinking, perhaps from more than one source. But it was not quite the Compendium of Theology.
I might, or not, manage to find the book again.
Still, the search already brought me to what is clearly an accessible masterwork of theology, for which I am grateful to all the readers who have helped me in this quest, particularly Quoter Meister.