What Is Thomas Aquinas Famous For?

thomas-aquinas-famous Credit: DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Thomas Aquinas was an influential medieval philosopher and priest famous for combining the theological principles of faith and reason into a philosophy known as Thomism. This synthesis of the foremost western philosophies of the 13th century became central to the tradition of medieval scholasticism and was adopted by the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church.

An important part of Aquinas' work involves his commentaries on Sacred Scripture and Aristotle. He is best known for his treatise "Summa Theologica" and the "Summa contra Gentiles." Aquinas lived during the time when the Aristotelian corpus was translated into Latin, which created a crisis concerning the relationship between faith and reason. Medieval Christian philosophy and education was characterized by Thomism, which disputed questions and commentaries brought about by Aristotle. The academics of medieval universities in Europe employed scholasticism as a primary method of teaching and critical thought.

Thomas Aquinas is considered to be a saint in the Catholic Church, and his works are studied as a core requirement and central reference point for those entering the priesthood. Thomas is believed to have experienced miracles, such as accounts of kneeling before a crucifix and seeing it glowing with light, and Jesus speaking to him. Aquinas' legacy also includes his Eucharistic hymns, which are part of the Catholic Church's liturgy.