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AMS presents, Erik Dempsey “The God of the Bible and the God of Philosophy: Why Thomas Aquinas Studied Aristotle”

May 4, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Presented by Erik Dempsey
Senior Lecturer at the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas, University of Texas at Austin


Abstract: Why did St. Thomas Aquinas, a theologian, think it was so important to study philosophy? Why was he so committed to it that he continued to study and teach the writings of Aristotle, even in the face of condemnation? And why was there such a controversy about studying Aristotle in the 13th century Catholic university?


In brief, the central issue was that the god described by Aristotle was thought to be different from God as described in the Bible. This talk will seek to show how Thomas sought to reconcile those two notions of the divine, and will ask whether his reconciliation was successful. The discussion will rely largely on Thomas’s remarks in his two Summas and Maimonides’s treatment of similar issues in a text that Thomas studied closely, the Guide of the Perplexed.


May 4, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139 United States
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Literature Section
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue 14N-407
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: (617) 253-3581