A Companion to the Summa, Volume IV


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By Walter Farrell, O.P.

The Summa Theologiae is a work of astounding breadth and scope: five folio vol­umes of closely packed print, and more closely packed thought; incredibly, it was a work intended, not for the learned and wise, but for beginners. Walter Farrell, O.P., fully honors that intention with his four Companion volumes to the Summa, which together offer an easy guidebook to St. Thomas’s greatest work. These are not simply more books about St. Thomas or about the Summa; rather, they are a distillation of the Summa into popular and accessible form, a unique introduction to the thought of the Angelic Doctor and a defense of the truths, natural and divine, by which human life is lived.

Volume IV: The Way of Life presents St. Thomas’s witness to the supreme mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Way for every man, woman, and child to attain beatitude with God. In orderly fashion, Farrell follows the Angelic Doctor’s lead in tracing the consequences of the Word made flesh: the life of Christ in detail; the role of the Blessed Mother; the continuation of Christ’s life in the Church and the sacraments; and the goal of heaven at the end of the royal road, the goal of hell at the end of any other path. A spirited articulation of supernatural reality—“not so much an argued thesis as a divinely stated fact”—A Companion to the Summa, Volume IV: The Way of Life plunges into that mystery which is a stumbling block and a foolishness to the unbelieving, and yet the ultimate explanation of everything: the mystery of God made man.

Forgetting God, our times have not recognized men and have yet to see the world. We are learned but far from wise. This is Thomas’s book of wisdom, his searching examination of the profound reasons, his handbook of the important answers. (Walter Farrell, O.P.)


Walter Farrell, O.P., (1902–1951) was a Dominican priest and scholar. He was the founder of the speculative quarterly The Thomist and was a frequent contributor to numerous scholarly and spiritual periodicals. His masterpiece is certainly the bestselling, four-volume Companion to the Summa, which was instrumental in the popularization of the Summa Theologiae.

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Paperback: 388pp.

ISBN: 978-1685953249