“This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology.”
-C. S. Lewis
I am ashamed to admit that there are too many classic literary works that I have never read in their entirety. Too many epic novels, histories, philosophies, and political treatises have gathered dust on the shelf. Sadly, the same is true for many classic works in my own field of systematic theology. I could blame my education or culture, but what good would that do? Better to take responsibility and get busy, right?
For several years now, I have poked around in the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas, especially the questions on the Incarnation in the Tertia Pars. Thomas has even made appearances in several things I have written. But there are large domains in Thomas’ magnum opus that I haven’t explored.
There may be other ways of scaling this Mt. Everest of Christian theology, but I’d like to read it all straight through (crazy, I know). So I put together a plan to read the Summa in two years. It involves reading one question each weekday, leaving the weekends open to catch up (or read ahead). Each question contains several articles and takes up about 5-10 double-columned pages in my copy. Given the density of Thomas’ thought, that’s a fairly heavy pace (for me anyway). But how else are you going to make it all the way through?
Here’s the plan:
I’d like to start this plan in the new year, and I’m looking for accountability! If you’re interested, let me know. I may blog on it from time to time in this space. In preparation for the two-year journey, I am reading Michael Dauphinais and Matthew Levering’s introduction to Thomas’ theology. I’ll likely read other secondary literature along the way as well.
So, who’s in?
2 thoughts on “Read the Summa in Two Years”
I read parts of the Summa in Latin as a student of theology, but must confess I have not read the entire book.
Have you finished it? I’m absolutely new in philosophy and theology but very keen on reading Summa. So far I have read Anselm’s Proslogium, a few of Plato’s works, Aristotle’s Ethics, and finished reading Bible last week. I was wondering if it’s too hard to read 20 pages per day of Summa for a newbie like me..