A New Generation Reads Aquinas by Holly Taylor Coolman.
Late have I loved him—or later, at least, than a lot of people. I was 27 years old when I first sat down to read the work of St. Thomas Aquinas seriously. At that point, having grown up in the Bible-soaked world of evangelicalism, and having gone off to earn degrees in philosophy and literature, I felt that I understood the Bible and the Western intellectual tradition, at least in broadest outline, as undergrads learn them. And I already had spent some time struggling to understand how these things could work together, as I tried to organize what the philosophers called “a good life.” All this, as it turns out, was the perfect set-up for my introduction to Aquinas. I recall racing through pages of the Summa Theologiae, feeling a kind of electric hum. Once or twice, I found myself whispering out loud, “He’s a genius.” And so, 700 years or so after Aquinas wrote the words I was reading, I had the remarkable sense that I had discovered him for the first time.