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Extra resources for Aquinas's Philosophy of Religion
He was charged with helping set up some internal Dominican theological houses of study and also wrote his major works, the great Summa’s. In 1269 he was recalled to Paris. This was a most unusual move. Since the Dominicans wanted to qualify as many masters as possible from Paris, why invite back someone who was already conferred with the degree? The main reason was that the mendicant orders were under threat from secular masters at the university, and Aquinas was recruited to fight for the Dominicans (the secular masters were clerics who were not members of religious orders).
The two main forms of instruction were lecturing and disputation. To lecture, as the etymology suggests, is to read some other text and comment on it. Aquinas’s main responsibility as a master of theology was to comment on the Bible, and he produced specific commentaries on several books. After the Bible, the main text for theological study was the Sentences of Peter Lombard (1155), and as an apprentice master in theology, Aquinas wrote his lengthy Commentary on the Sentences. The Sentences itself was a systematization of the teaching of patristic theologians.
With the growth of cities, society was beginning to change. Often a city would develop around an ecclesiastical centre – particularly one where there was a powerful or influential bishop. Schools, built up to service the cathedrals, were an educational innovation. The liberal arts (rhetoric, grammar, logic, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic and music) were taught as the basis for further studies in theology. The court of Charlemagne (742–810) had begun to foster this kind of education in the ninth century.