Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

(The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas Over Averroes)

The Sodalitium Pianum blog would like to wish all Dominicans a happy feast day, and encourage all to read something by or about St. Thomas Aquinas today, where you are sure to receive extra graces for having done so.

Here is a bit of feast day trivia:

St. Thomas Aquinas is often misquoted as saying “the argument from authority is the lowest form of proof.”

But did you know that is based on a mistranslation of what he actually said?

Consider the following:

“I once heard it suggested that there’s a sort of joke hidden in the Latin original of the Summa Theologiae that didn’t make it into the commonly used English translation: “the proof from authority is the weakest form of proof,” we read in the Benziger edition (I.1.8.2us), and yet we don’t see the words that follow in the Latin text: “secundum Boëtium.” In the original Latin, you see, Thomas argues that the argument from authority is the weakest form of argument on the basis of the authority of Boethius.

While we may certainly savor the irony, two things should be pointed out so as to grasp the real meaning of this assertion. First, although in human affairs the argument from authority is the weakest form of argument, it is still an argument; that is, the testimony of authorities can be of great assistance in our quest for truth, as we attempt to use our reason to distinguish truth from error. Further, although in matters of human reason the argument from authority is the weakest, when we are dealing with matters of divine revelation (to which no one can reason unless he is God), the argument from authority based on divine revelation is the strongest form of argument.”  http://www.dominicanajournal.org/the-argument-from-authority/

[Monitum: The excerpt above is taken from a conciliar website, and we do not endorse the rest of the contents of this article.  That said, a broken clock is right twice a day.  I chose to quote from this article becuase I have not seen the same observation made by any traditional source.]