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Publisher's Summary

We see our age as the greatest in human history, filled with seemingly unending originality. Yet such dynamism is not a necessary characteristic of great eras. Among the most long-lasting and stable civilizations was that of medieval Europe. There stasis was achieved, and with it a stability that permitted the development of structured thought and intellectual embellishment of unparalleled degree. Like the vast gothic cathedrals of western Europe, certainties of thought were part and parcel of the medieval age. Its monument of the intellect was the largely static, cumulative philosophy of Scholasticism. And the acknowledged maestro of Scholastic philosophy was Thomas Aquinas.

In Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Aquinas' life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Aquinas' work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Aquinas within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©1998 Paul Strathern (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Well-written, clear, and informed, they have a breezy wit about them. I find them hard to stop reading." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A mixed bag

I found some interesting information in this account of Thomas Aquinas' life. Well-written and necessarily concise, it provides a good overview of a pivotal character in the evolution of philosophy. The only down side is that the author is much too free with his almost glib appraisals and judgmental comments when a concept seems "ridiculous" to him. It unfortunately takes away the beautiful immersion that can occur when one puts themselves in the place and mindset of the philosopher. It would probably be better for the reader to be familiar with the life and works of Aquinas before reading this book.

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Give me a break.

Atheist author writing under the absurd impression that he his more intelligent and wiser than Thomas Aquinas. It would be like me instructing Michael Jordan on how to play basketball.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

In 90 Minutes Series overview

If you could sum up Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes in three words, what would they be?
aka Cliff Notes

Would you recommend Thomas Aquinas in 90 Minutes to your friends? Why or why not?
Yes - I've listened to each book in the series about a major philosopher that is available on Audible. Strathern's books don't have the analytical depth found in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" books, but he does a good job summarizing each philosopher's biography, major philosophical points, and criticisms. Additionally, Strathern's breadth is broader than Durant's in that he covers a greater number of philosophers. I believe that the time spent listening to these books has been well-spent.

My reviews for each book in the series about a philosopher are identical.

What about Robert Whitfield’s performance did you like?
Voice is clear, well-modulated, and easily understood, even at 1 1/2 speed.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

excellent, fun, a bit snarky.

Treats Aquinas with respect, but also pre supposes that modern thought is always right whenever moderna and Aquinas disagree.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good information on Thomas Aquinas

This book includes a lot of useful facts about the life of St. Thomas. Parts of it seem vaguely anti-religious.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Far fr the best introduction to the Angelic doctor

If this were the first introduction to Aquinas I'd have come across then it would have likely been the last time I'd have wanted to read anything else about him or by him. First, let me just say the narration is fine. But the contents of this audiobook were anything but fine. Aquinas comes across as somebody who is no doubt intellectually head and shoulders above his peers, but at the same time most uninteresting, unremarkable, nothing to say to us today, and a relic of a bygone era.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Flaming Fag

According to the story told from this book, Thomas Aquinas' mother sent a naked women into his room to help him not become a priest. He pulled a "flaming fag" from the fire and frightened her out of his room. Apparently, according to the author, he wasn't very impressive in appearance. He was very intelligent. The author makes fun of how the Catholic Church gives Thomas Aquinas high marks. Apparently, according to Thomas Aquinas, if you have any questions about the purpose of life, follow the liturgy of the Church and everything will work out in the end. The Catholic Church sent him out to work out problems among those with theological questions until Thomas Aquinas just wore out. The author doesn't seem too impressed with Thomas Aquinas, though among the Christian thinkers, he stand out.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Better books of similar length on the subject

Remembering that this is just a 90-minute piece of work on Thomas Aquinas, I didn't expect a full coverage of his philosophy or a complete breakdown of his work. However, nothing is mentioned of any of it which seems to miss a big part of why someone should care to write a book, let alone read a book, about someone from the 13th century.

The life of Aquinas is well enough covered although some more background information would have been helpful in flushing out Aquinas' time in history and then his place in history. Some reviewers have mentioned the negative tone from the author. I did not really pick up anything and maybe the length had a factor in that.

There are other books of a little larger length that would be better a better introduction to the person on Aquinas (check my reviews for some).

Final Grade - D

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More History than Philosophy

I imagined that this book would attempt to give me a coherent overview of his philosophy in 90 mins. Instead, I got a great summary of his life and the historical influence of Aquinas, but fairly vague notions of his actual philosophical thought. Upon completion, I did not feel much further along towards an understanding of Aquinas.
It's a fine book, just not what I was looking for.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great for a full history of Aquinas’s life

Overall I enjoyed listening to the audio book to understand Aquinas before reading his works.