Nothing occurs more spontaneously to the modern reader of Aquinas than to ask about the relations between his philosophy and his theology, and no question is more misleading. To ask how his philosophy is related to his theology supposes that he would admit to having two separate doctrines and that he would agree that a doctrine was his in any important sense. Aquinas was by vocation, training, and self-understanding an ordained teacher of an inherited theology. He would have been scandalized to hear himself described as an innovator in fundamental matters and more scandalized still to hear himself - or any Christian - called a “philosopher,” since this term often had a pejorative sense for thirteenth-century Latin authors. Still, there is certainly something to be queried in Aquinas's ample use of philosophical terms and texts, in his having commented meticulously on a dozen of Aristotle's works, and in his having been regarded by some of his contemporaries as too indebted to pagan thinkers. What, then, is the appropriate formulation of the modern reader's question?
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