Quote from St. Thomas Aquinas

I’ve heard this quote from St. Thomas Aquinas thrown around in places, and I was wondering where he said this:

The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A being that is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.

I’d like to know where to look this up so that I can read the context of the quotation.

TBH, it does not sound like Aquinas, unless the context clarifies it. He also quoted a lot of people, so he may have been using it as an argument to refute.

I thought the very same thing! But perhaps Aquinas was speaking of God in this instance.

Still, does anyone know where this is from? because this quote requires context.

There’s something wrong with it. I can’t pin it down. It sounds like the Angelic Doctor to a degree, but also a bit too individualistic or self-possessed for him. This could be one of those “quotes”, like the vast number of sarcastic sayings attributed to Churchill or Oscar Wilde simply because they were known to be witty. Aquinas was smart, and this sounds “deep”, so it is easily attributed to him.

The first result I came up with on google books for the first sentence was this:

GB Result Top of page 183. It quotes that exact line, and cites footnote 103, which isn’t a direct quote from Aquinas but from some other book purporting to quote Aquinas. Often happens… :smiley:

Looking further…

EDIT: Another result. Yet again, sourcing another book. “Modern Christian Revolutionaries”, 1947.

When a quote of Thomas isn’t easily found on the Ordo Praedicatorum site, or on his Summa section on NewAdvent, it’s more and more likely to be spurious.

It is always suspicious when the only place you can find a quote, is on websites with lists of quotes. :rolleyes:

I’m not finding anything but citations of “- Thomas Aquinas”.

Either this is totally spurious (gotta be very careful about these things) or it’s an alternate translation of a sentence from Aquinas that can’t be found precisely because the translations that are online can’t be traced with it. Sorry. :frowning:

I know mate. :smiley:

Another GB result cites “Op. xvii, c. 14” as the source of the quote. What does that mean?

I tried looking for that, but it’s far too ambiguous to mean anything. Presumably it means the 14th chapter of the 17th volume of his Complete Works. But published by who? when? No help there.

The only Vol. 17 of any of Aquinas’ works I can find anywhere is the translation of the Summa by the English Dominican Province. However, Vol 17 goes from Question 40 of the Third Part of the Summa onward. There is no “chapter 14”.

The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A being that is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.

I don’t think it is individualistic or self possessed at all. The highest manifestation of life: ( human, animal, plant) consists in this: that a being governs its own actions: (human’s intellect and will; we need to direct our intellect and will to God, to truth). A being that is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing: (a stone is a dead thing).

[LEFT]It seems to be from Chapter XIV (Caput 14) of his Liber de perfectione spiritualis vitae (The Perfection of the Spiritual Life), one of the Opuscula (Minor Works):
[/LEFT]

De perfectione dilectionis proximi, quae cadit sub consilio

(The Perfection of Love of Our Neighbor Considered as a Matter of Counsel)

*Vita enim in hoc maxime manifestatur quod aliquid movet se ipsum; quod autem non potest moveri nisi ab alio, quasi mortuum esse videtur.
*

DHS translates it as:

*For life is chiefly manifested in ability to move; he that cannot move save by the agency of others, may be accounted dead.

To find it on the Latin-only Corpus Thomisticum website:

Opera Omnia S. Thomae

OPUSCULA

-Opuscula polemica pro mendicantibus

-De perfectione

[LEFT] -CAPUT 14
De perfectione dilectionis proximi, quae cadit sub consilio
[/LEFT]

quasi mortuum esse videtur :smiley: “would appear to be kinda dead”. Good ol’ St. Thomas.

What a very great find, detoutcoeur!

I appreciate this greatly! Thank you.

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