Aquinas’ Commentaries on Boethius’ Treatises: a Modification or Interpretation?

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; Commentaries; Boethius; De Trinitate; De Hebdomadibus


Nearly seven hundred years after the death of Boethius, Saint Thomas Aquinas appears to comment on the two works of Boethius: De Trinitate and De Hebdomadibus. In the last years of the 20th century, Aquinas’ comments aroused many discussions and questions among scholars. The question was asked why Aquinas was commenting on the texts of Boethius. Some scholars, such as Marian Kurdziałek, a Polish philosopher, argued that Aquinas intended to get rid of the old method of argumentation that dominated both philosophy and theology. Other scholars, such as Etienne Gilson, Pierre Duhem and Cornelio Fabro, criticized Aquinas, arguing that he used the texts of Boethius as a platform to create a metaphysics that was completely different. The last group of scholars, such as Ralph McInerny, rejects these allegations and claims. The article author joins the ongoing debate, arguing that Aquinas’s comments to Boethius aimed to develop further arguments against the heretics who lived in his time upon the authority of Boethius, who according to Timothy Noone represented the characteristic style of the scholars from the twelfth to the seventeenth century. The other part of the article discusses the question of whether Aquinas’ comments were correct interpretations of Boethius’ texts. In his opinion, the author of the article claims that the interpretations of the texts of Boethius made by Saint Thomas Aquinas is credible and may be the best commentary on Boethius. But, it is necessary to keep in mind the modifications resulting from various scientific cultures that prevailed in the time of the two great scholars.


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