L'emergenza storica di San Tommaso
Vol. VI/2004/1, pp. 7-23
The present paper exposes the cultural role of Saint Thomas as it was viewed in history. Usually, with the passing of time, the memory of a man and his works weakens and decreases, while in the case of “geniuses”, the opposite appears to happen. Thomas belongs to this latter characterization: the remoter his life, the stronger his presence. There are three decisive factors related to his ascend: his canonization in Avignon by Pope John XXI (1323), the title Doctor Ecclesiae, given by Pope Pius V (1567), and the encyclical letter Aeterni Patris of Pope Leo XIII (1879). These historical events encouraged the study and the comprehensive apprehension of the Thomist doctrine in its true reality and value. At the beginning of the third millennium, the Thomist thought has a more significant cultural presence than previously. The critical edition of his works, their translation into various languages and the extensive number of studies on his thinking have contributed to the continuous discovery of his doctrinal system. Thomas has become the distinguished teacher, the Doctor humanitatis in theology, metaphysics, anthropology, and ethics. His historical role is a positive sign for the culture of the third millennium.