The Catholic University of America Press

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Volume 2: Spiritual Master Translated by Robert Royal

Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P.

Cloth 978-0-8132-1315-6 $49.95
April 2003 In Print Add to Cart
Paper 978-0-8132-1316-3 $34.95
April 2003 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-2100-7 $34.95
August 2012 In Print Add to Cart

Following his highly acclaimed study of the life and works of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Jean-Pierre Torrell, O.P., continues his masterful work on the great Dominican theologian and brings an immense learning to bear on a subject that most readers have not considered very carefully: Thomas's spirituality. Aquinas's intellectual power is evident to anyone who has had even modest exposure to his work. Understanding the spiritual impetus behind that massive achievement, however, requires careful attention to the whole Thomistic corpus and a subtle understanding of several crucial works, particularly Thomas's sermons and commentaries on Scripture. In this long-awaited sequel to Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work, Father Torrell brilliantly lays out the theoretical background to Thomas's spirituality. He shows that Aquinas's theology is clearly oriented towards contemplation and is as deeply spiritual as it is doctrinal.

Meticulous in his research, Torrell quotes often from Thomas's own texts and presents a clear understanding of Aquinas's views on nature, the person, human society, politics, and our ultimate end in communion with God and one another. This volume makes apparent why the Catholic Church thinks of Aquinas not only as a great Christian intellectual, but also as a saint.

Praise for Volume 1, The Person and His Work:

"This is the introduction to Thomas. . . ."--First Things

"The most up-to-date biography available."--Choice

"[A] magnificent achievement. . . . An indispensable tool for every student of Thomas Aquinas."--The Thomist

"Torrell's book is the crown of recent research into Aquinas."--Theological Studies

Jean-Pierre Torrell is a Dominican priest of the Toulouse province and professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Fribourg. From 1973 to 1981, he taught at the Gregorian University in Rome and was a member of the Leonine Commission, where he contributed to research on and editing of Aquinas's works.


"This is a worthy successor to Torrell's excellent volume 1, The Person and His Work."--John M. McDermott, Theological Studies

"Torrell seeks to recover not just the doctor angelicus but the doctor communis ecclesiae, the teacher of all the faithful. We owe a great deal to Father Torrell for achieving in this volume nothing less than a kind of transfusion from the cold, analytical, mathematical systematic Aquinas of the textbooks into the red-blooded, passionate, even psychologically intense spiritual guide who is at once cerebral and sentient, surprising as that may appear. . . . Torrell brings a lifetime of immersion in the works of Aquinas to bear on what is quite simply a most lucid and insightful outline of Thomas's theology as a whole. . . . There is nothing more that one can say about this volume than that there is simply no other book like it. It fills an enormous gap, not just in Aquinas scholarship, but also in the portrait of 'Friar Thomas' as it has come down to us. In this respect, Torrell's work serves as a crowning moment in what has been something like a 'resuscitation' of Thomas Aquinas in recent years. His work caps a century's worth of revival of interest in Aquinas, and it is entirely likely that, taken together, these two volumes will become the classic introduction to the life and work of 'the Master from Aquino.' "--Peter M. Candler, Jr., American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

"The breadth of historical learning and the depth of theological insight is rare indeed. Neither for beginners nor for the impatient, this book will abundantly reward careful reading by theologians of any persuasion."- Denis R. Janz, Religious Studies Review

"Fr. Torrell not only offers a remarkable exposition of the riches of Thomistic spirituality, but also shows the way to an authentic renewal of Thomistic theology and perhaps even to the renewal of theology itself. . . . This book constitutes a veritable initiation, an invitation to read St. Thomas: In each section, the reader can sample numerous texts which are quoted abundantly and introduced with precision but simplicity, avoiding superfluous technicality. . . . This book introduces us to numerous and often little-known passages drawn from St. Thomas's commentaries on Holy Scripture, renewing our approach to Thomistic theology."--Gilles Emory, OP, Nova et Vetera

"Saint Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master furnishes us with an attractive and reliable introduction to the thought of Thomas Aquinas. . . . This book constitutes a welcome addition to the literature on Thomas Aquinas." -- Philipp Roseman, Speculum

"This book is an answer to the question: 'Is there really a spirituality unique to Thomas?' (p.ix). To answer this question, Torrell provides us with a study in the spirituality of St. Thomas Aquinas. This book is worthy of serious attention, not only from students of Thomas, but also from anyone with a serious intellectual interest in the topic of spirituality. . . . This welcome book is unlike any other. Building on the biographical work of the first volume, Torrell presents a systematic vision of Thomas as a spiritual writer and theologian. Although this second volume naturally enough flows from the first, it nonetheless stands as its own volume and can be read legitimately and fruitfully on its own. . . . Torrell's erudition is remarkable but worn humbly. This book is for the serious but should not be limited to the specialist. It deserves a wide readership and a deep influence. Spiritual theology and systematic theology in general, as well as the study of St. Thomas Aquinas in particular, can all benefit enormously from this book." -- John F. Boyle, Pro Ecclesia

Product Details

Pages:xii, 422 pages

Dimensions:6x9 inches


CIP Information: 95042079/ BX4700.T6T5713/ 230'.2'092--dc20


1. Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274

2. Christian saints--Italy--Biography

3. Theology, Doctrinal--History--Middle Ages. 600-1500

4. Catholic Church--Doctrines--History