Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Templar and Thomas Aquinas

 The Templar and the True Cross
In my latest historical mystery, The Templar and the True Cross, my protagonist, Sir Jean-Marc de Montpellier, is a Templar Knight. Traditionally these monastic knights were imbued with many honourable qualities; a Templar was brave, skilled in battle and was devoted to God. Sir Jean-Marc is all of these, plus the fact that he is very intelligent. Growing up in Paris he attended the Sorbonne and studied under Gerard d’ Auberville who studied under the great philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) studied and later taught at the universities of Paris, Cologne and Naples. Thomas was a Italian Dominican friar who wrote a great deal and was the man who perfected faith through reason.

When Sir Jean-Marc goes to see his former master at the University, the old professor has the Templar recall his past lessons.

    “My boy, you recall the work of my old friend and master, Thomas Aquinas, and his definition of philosophical discipline.”
    “It all starts with logic,” Jean-Marc responded.
    “Exactly. Logic, as you surely recall, is the mental constructions we place on our experience.... What do you remember of Summa Theologica?”
    Sir Jean-Marc thought a moment. “Thomas Aquinas states that in acts of will man strives for the highest end, which are free acts insofar as man has in himself the knowledge of their end and therein the principle of action. Whether the act be good or evil depends on the end. Human acts are good if they promote the purpose of God and His honour.”

Thomas Aquinas wrote on a wide variety of subjects from the nature of God to just war, and from creation to sex. He was canonized a saint in 1323, less than fifty years after his death, and nine years after my story takes place.

Saint Thomas is one of 33 Doctors of the Church and is the patron of universities and students. His writings have survived to this day and continue to influence modern thought. 

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