Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" is his most famous work. It was intended as a manual for beginners as a compilation of all of the main theological teachings of that time and consists of a summary of the reasonings for almost all points of the Catholic faith. It is the fullest presentation of his views and covers the widest range of subjects - reason, sin, just war to name but a few - in detailed philosophical language. He worked on it from 1265 until the end of his life in March 1274. When he died, he had reached Question ninety of Part III, on the subject of penance. The work is in three parts, dealing firstly with questions of God, then in part II with man's striving for the highest end, and in the third part with Christ and the union between human and divine. Each part is structured as a series of questions and assertions and relies heavily upon key thinkers and writers at that time, including Aristotle, St Augustine, Dionysius and Rabbi Moses.
‘The new "Briefly" Series by the SCM Press does exactly what it says: it briefly introduces nine key philosophical texts. This is done in a very accessible way without compromising the ideas involved through oversimplification. The books are very useful for teachers who teach A-level philosophy of religion modules, and also their students, who are able to read these short texts for themselves.’
Review of the Briefly Series in RE News, Autumn 2006
'This two-part introduction to Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica is is featured in the handy Briefly series which also includes volumes on works by Plato, Anselm, Descartes, Hume, Kant and Mill...Each volume runs less than ninety short pages and is well-designed for someone needing a 'crash course' on the Summa...At the end of the context section is a handy list of 'some issues to consider' that would easily stimulate class discussion...he renders the questions dealing with God's attributes compelling by formulating them in a way that immediately sparks the interest of today's reader...these two volumes admirably serve their purpose.'
Religion and Theology, September 2007