Thomas Aquinas  

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""The famous dictum "Deus est sphaera intelligibilis cuius centrum ubique circumferentia musquam" which probably goes back to Alain de Lille, seems to have been the intermediary as well as the most important formulation of all these concepts. The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious: The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious : Bonaventura, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Seuse, Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino; and finally Rabelais and Pascal."" --Symbolism of the Sphere (1977) by Otto Brendel

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Saint Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, a philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition. The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. He is famously depicted in a painting by Carlo Crivelli. The influence of Aquinas can be found in the works of the Italian semiotician Umberto Eco, who wrote The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas in 1956.

Modern influence

Many modern ethicists both within and outside the Catholic Church (notably Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre) have recently commented on the possible use of Aquinas's virtue ethics as a way of avoiding utilitarianism or Kantian "sense of duty" (called deontology). Through the work of twentieth century philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe (especially in her book Intention), Aquinas's principle of double effect specifically and his theory of intentional activity generally have been influential.

It is remarkable that Aquinas's aesthetic theories, especially the concept of claritas, deeply influenced the literary practice of modernist writer James Joyce, who used to extol Aquinas as being second only to Aristotle among Western philosophers. The influence of Aquinas's aesthetics also can be found in the works of the Italian semiotician Umberto Eco, who wrote The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas in 1956.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has had a complex relationship with Aquinas' work. For a long time, Aquinas and scholastic or schoolbook theology was a standard part of the education of Orthodox seminarians. His philosophy found a strong advocate in the person of at least one Patriarch of Constantinople, Gennadius Scholarius. However, in the twentieth century, there was a reaction against this "Latin captivity" of the Orthodox theology (Georges Florovsky), and Orthodox writers have emphasized the otherness of Scholasticism.

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