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Is it necessary to read Aristotle's books in order to understand St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Nathaniel, curiousdannii, Flimzy, Lee Woofenden, Mr. Bultitude May 31 '16 at 17:21

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Necessary for whom, or for what purpose? And which books? – Matt Gutting May 30 '16 at 13:56
  • @MattGutting I don't think a question can be any more clear than that. – mil May 30 '16 at 16:35
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    @mil: Matt has asked a reasonable question. The fact that your question has received 3 downvotes, and 4 close votes should serve as an indicator that your question has some serious problems. As a newcomer here, you might do well to heed the advice of those who have been here for a while, rather than taking an argumentative stance. – Flimzy May 30 '16 at 20:21
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Although St. Thomas Aquinas is said to have "reconciled" Aristotle with Christian theology, he rejects much of Aristotle (e.g., he rejects that Aristotle thought the world is eternal).
(Interestingly, St. Thomas refers to Aristotle as "Aristotle" when he disagrees with him and as "The Philosopher" when he agrees with him.)

Understand Scholastic terminology.

St. Thomas can be understood without reading any Aristotle; however, it is necessary to understand the Scholastic terminology he uses. To aid with this, see:

Understand the doctrine of actuality and potentiality.

Philosophically, hylemorphism (the doctrine of actuality and potentiality) forms the basis of Thomism. See:

Reading Aristotle not necessary but could be helpful

If you want to read Aristotle (it certainly doesn't hurt in helping one understand St. Thomas), read the following works by Aristotle alongside St. Thomas's commentaries on them:

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