Treatise on Human Nature

Paper $20
Translation by Alfred J. Freddoso, 368 pages, 6" x 9", index, world rights

Buy Now

Treatise on Human Nature

The Complete Text (Summa Theologiae I-II, Questions 75–102)

Aquinas, Thomas

St. Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Human Nature occupies questions 75–102 of Part 1 of the Summa Theologiae. It contains St. Thomas’s most mature statement of his philosophical and theological anthropology, i.e., his account of what human beings are and of their origin as distinctive creatures made in the image of God. This translation, moreover, is the only complete edition of all the material St. Thomas envisaged as being part of the Treatise.

The treatise begins with two long and complex questions on the metaphysical status of the human soul and its relation to the human organism. Here St. Thomas tries to show how the human being is both an animal and an animal who transcend the other
animals. In doing so he marks out a distinctive Christian/Aristotelian conceptual space between “materialist” accounts of human nature that reduce human beings to mere collections of physical or chemical or biological components and “dualistic” accounts of
human nature, such as those propounded by Plato and, later on, Descartes, that identify human beings with their immaterial souls.

The next thirteen questions deal with the powers of the soul, especially those higher intellective powers of understanding and willing that distinguish human beings from the other animals. Here we are given a philosophical framework for the findings of the
human sciences.

Finally, the last thirteen questions have to do with human origins, the creation of the first man and first woman, the state of our first parents, and their status as beings created in the image of God. In essence, this is St. Thomas’s philosophically attuned commentary on the parts of Genesis 1–2 that deal specifically with the creation of the human species. These thirteen questions, though an integral part of the Treatise, are not included in other translations of the Treatise on Human Nature, which include only Questions 75–89.

From reviews from Freddoso’s translation of Treatise on Law

“Future discussions of Thomas on law will wisely rely on this presentation.” – Ralph McInerny + (Notre Dame)

“This translation, by contrast [with the Dominican Fathers’ translation], is fresh without losing precision. I will be using this translation in the future.” – J. Budziszewski (Texas)

“Prof. Freddoso begins his great and needed labor – nothing less than a projected translation of the entire Summa theologiae – in a particularly welcome way. . . . This translation, at once clear, readable, and precise, promises to make not only these questions, but the Summa theologiae, accessible in English as never before.” – Bruce Marshall (MSU)

“Professor Freddoso has achieve a most remarkable accomplishment: he has made the Angelic Doctor’s Treatise on Law (in its full complement!) accessible to the contemporary reader! Bravo! As I read his translation, I realized that I was reading as if Saint Thomas were speaking to me. ... Needless to say, the Freddoso translation will serve as a great tool for teachers, scholars, and anyone else who may be interested in better understanding the authentic nature of law. ... This reader awaits with eagerness more of the Freddoso translation of the Summa Theologiae!” – Robert John Araujo, S.J. (Boston College Law School)

“Fred Freddoso’s masterful translation makes Aquinas’ Treatise on Law accessible to this and future generations.” – Michael Scaperlanda (University of Oklahoma College of Law)

“... a masterly rendition of Aquinas’ important work. Freddoso’s translation is destined to become the standard reference for those working on this area of Thomas’ thought.” – Gerard V. Bradley (Notre Dame Law School)

Alfred J. Freddoso is Professor of Philosophy and John and Jean Oesterle Professor of Thomistic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is well known for his work on divine causality and on various aspects of the relationship between faith and reason. In addition, he has published many well-received translations of Latin philosophical works, including Suarez, On Creation, Conservation, and Concurrence (St. Augustine’s Press, 2002), and St. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law: The Complete Text (St. Augustine’s Press, 2009).