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Monday, September 27, 2010

0141: Blessed John Henry Newman on Aquinas

Entry 0141: Blessed John Henry Newman on Aquinas


Blessed John Henry Newman was responsible for organizing the translation and publication of Aquinas’ Catena aurea. In the preface to the translation Newman writes:

It is impossible to read the Catena of S. Thomas, without being struck with the masterly and architectonic skill with which it is put together. A learning of the highest kind,—not a mere literary book-knowledge, which might have supplied the place of indexes and tables in ages destitute of those helps, and when every thing was to be read in unarranged and fragmentary manuscripts—but a thorough acquaintance with the whole range of ecclesiastical antiquity, so as to be able to bring the substance of all that had been written on any point to bear upon the text which involved it—a familiarity with the style of each writer, so as to compress into few words the pith of a whole page, and a power of clear and orderly arrangement in this mass of knowledge, are qualities which make this Catena perhaps nearly perfect as a conspectus of Patristic interpretation. Other compilations exhibit research, industry, learning; but this, though a mere compilation, evinces a masterly command over the whole subject of Theology (Preface from Catena Aurea of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Oxford, 1841.)