An Introduction to Thomas Aquinas

An Introduction to Thomas Aquinas

This course will enable you to explore his mind and to learn from Thomas Aquinas. The Dominican motto contemplata aliis tradere, which means contemplate and hand over to others is from Thomas, and this motto summarises the aims of the course.

Course code: TH0031

Professor: Adrian Judd

Course description:

This course is an introduction to Thomas Aquinas, his life and his thought. It requires no previous knowledge of philosophy, history or theology. Thomas is introduced as a boy and learner, as a son of a Count, as a Benedictine pupil at Montecassino, and as a Dominican monk and professor at the University of Paris. Become familiar with his identities as a philosopher, theologian and Biblical scholar and deepen your understanding of faith through reflecting on his writings.


  1. To evaluate the impact of Thomas's 13th Century upbringing on his life and work.
  2. To analyse the relationship between Thomas's theology and his Biblical studies.
  3. To contemplate the mysteries of God revealed by Thomas prior to handing them over to others.

 Learning outcomes:

  1. To understand the influences of 13th Century society upon Thomas
  2. To evaluate key texts of Thomas Aquinas against a 13th century background of heresy and orthodoxy
  3. To Synthesize knowledge of 13th century society with knowledge of the Order of Preachers and Thomas Aquinas

Assessment methods:

There are 22 activities that students should complete and then self-assess.

A course quiz and an assignment provide summative assessment.


Chapter 1: Life in Thirteenth Century Towns and Cities 

Chapter 2: About Thomas Aquinas

Chapter 3: Religious Dissent and the Thirteenth Century

Chapter 4: Reading Aquinas on John's Gospel

Chapter 5: About the Summa Theologiae

Chapter 6: Reading the Summa Theologiae

Chapter 7: Reading the Summa contra Gentiles

Chapter 8: The Legacy of Thomas Aquinas 

Chapter 9: Answers to the Exercises

Chapter 10: Assignment