Aquinas or Augustine...who is more brilliant

who had the greater theological mind in your opinion and why?

I’m gonna have to agree with the Church that Aquinas is the Angelic Doctor.

City of God is a fine treatise, but I doubt anything will ever rival Summa Theologica.

I think Aquinas is better in an analytical sense, and Augustine is better in an existential sense.

But, Aquinas could get very existential, and Augustine very analytical!

Hmm… I’m not certain that this is a fair question!

After all, Aquinas had the benefit of hundreds of years of theological thought that Augustine had no access to, in his works!

And, of course, it’s necessary to recall that Aquinas liberally cites the thought of Augustine in his works, so we can’t say that he ‘trumps’ Augustine in some way – it would be more accurate to say that he builds on the thought of Augustine!

Moreover, in an attempt to distinguish between their “theological minds,” we should also realize that they are the products of their times and cultures. Aquinas had an undeniable advantage in terms of the Christian scholarly environment in which he worked.

So, in the final analysis, it seems to me that the only reasonable thing to conclude is that Augustine was Augustine, and Aquinas was Aquinas… and the Church is so much the richer for their contributions to our understanding of God’s self-revelation!

Oh my gosh! Aquinas Aquinas Aquinas FTW!

But seriously, it’s totally St Thomas Aquinas. He is, after all, the Common, Angelic, and Universal Doctor of the Church.

Good question…

this :slight_smile:

Aquinas is almost unquestionably the most cerebral of the current 35 Doctors, though his works were largely a further development of Augustine’s own apologetics.

Augustine was born in a darker time and spent half of his life being a luxury-loving pagan. He is the patron saint of beer… nuff said. He only later came to the Church with the aid of St Monica and his works were as much about passion and the struggle against evil as they were about high theology. St Aquinas was a clergyman from the get-go of his life, in what might be said was the peak of Catholicism in Europe, during the flourishing of cathedrals and colleges.

This seems an impossible question to answer. Both are fundamental, and their contributions cannot be understated in either case…

My vote goes to Aquinas because he developed and went beyond Aristotle and Plato.

The Catholic Answers Live show in the “One Minute Aquinas” (last week of Feb 2014 for prosperity) took the stance that Aquinas may have been the best mind in the History of Mankind, not just the Church.

Even in the Great Books, while one small volume is dedicated to Augustine, Aquinas had two volumes to himself.

Whoever wins more chess games in heaven. :stuck_out_tongue:

It depends on what you are looking for. In the east neither of them have a strong influence. Instead they like the Cappadocians, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor, Gregory Palamas, Simeon the New Theologian and many more. There are three though who have been given the title of ‘Theologian’ though; John the apostle, Gregory Nazianzen, and Simeon the New Theologian.

I would say St. Thomas Aquinas. His teachings are more in line with Catholic theology.

I am not saying that St. Augustine was a heretic. At the time, the Church was still a baby, and developing Her doctrine. For example, St. Augustine said that it is a sin to have sex within marital relations, and today of course, we know that to be false.

Aquinas had better access to education, and was saintly from the beginning in his life, while St. Augustine made it a personal goal in his pre-Christian life to violate every single Commandment.

Since Aquinas had access to developed theology, and Augustine didn’t, I will have to go with one of my favorite saints, and a fellow nerd: St. Thomas Aquinas. :thumbsup:

I am confused about the above statement regarding sex with marital relations. Do you mean Incest?

If that is the case then that is still a sin

I honestly don’t know, but no less than the late, great biblical and ecclesiastical history scholar, Jaroslav Pelikan, wrote that Saint Augustine was the greatest mind who ever wrote in latin. That is pretty high praise and the facts bear it out–it’s Saint Augustine (more so than Saint Thomas Aquinas) who is the mind one must confront and either embrace or reject. He stands at the center of so much of Christian thought–his work cannot be ignored and all Christians (Catholic, orthodox and Protestant) must deal with his writings. He truly is a mighty figure in all of history.

It is true that because St Augustine was the great theologian of the early Church, he receives more attention compared to St Aquinas, who was rigorously Catholic (so was St Augustine, but this seems to be frequently overlooked by protestants). He seems to be the man that makes or breaks what it is to be Catholic.

Neither of these men’s writings are 100% accepted by modern Church theology; it’s not just St Augustine.

St Augustine believed marital relations to be sinful if the wife was in her post-menstrual cycle, since childbirth was no longer possible by ordinary means at that point. There are also a few quirks within St Aquinas’ analytics that are not accepted. Since a great deal of pioneering theological development sprung from their minds, there were a few ideas that were left by the wayside. Naturally, this doesn’t make either of them heretical, since it is impossible to be heretical over something that was not yet magisterially defined to begin with. It would be like saying that Plato was heretical, which wouldn’t make any sense.

No, I am saying that St. Augustine thought that it can still sometimes be a sin for married couples to have sex. Like TK421 said, he taught that if a woman is in her post-menstrual cycle, it is a sin for the couples to have sex. That is not true. A couple may have sex in the post-menstrual cycle.

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