Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Aquinas, Thomas

  • Nicholas Campion
Reference work entry

BornRossasecca, (Lazio, Italy), circa1223

DiedFossanova, (Lazio, Italy), 57 March 1274

Thomas Aquinas’ importance to the history of astronomy lies in his reconciliation of Aristotelian cosmology and twelfth-century astrology with Christian theology.

Saint Thomas Aquinas was the foremost Catholic theologian of the medieval world. Born into an aristocratic south Italian family, he became a Dominican Friar at the age of 16. In 1245, he arrived in Paris, where he became a student of  Albert the Great, the most prominent exponent of Aristotelian philosophy. Aquinas took his bachelor’s degree in 1248, returning to Paris in 1253 to prepare for his master’s degree, which he received in 1257. He was sent to Italy to teach in various Dominican houses in 1259, returned to Paris in 1269, and was sent to Naples in 1272 to set up a Dominican school. His reputation in the modern world was affirmed in 1879 when Pope Leo XIII named him “the chief and master among all the scholastic doctors” in his...

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Selected References

  1. Aquinas, Thomas (1924). Summa Contra Gentiles. 4 Vols. London: Burns, Oates and Co. (For Aquinas’s critical passages on astrology.)Google Scholar
  2. Thorndike, Lynn (1923). A History of Magic and Experimental Science. Vol. 2, Chap. 60. New York: Columbia University Press. (Contains an excellent summary of Aquinas’s views.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wales, Trinity Saint DavidCeredigionUK