A Companion to the Summa (Complete)


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By Walter Farrell, O.P.

(NB: Product contains four individual volumes.)

The Summa Theologiae is a work of astounding breadth and scope: 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 I: The Architect of the Universe presents St. Thomas’s rich and masterly study of God, man, and the world, as found in the first part of the Summa. In neat and orderly fashion, Farrell follows the Angelic Doctor’s lead, considering the universal harmony of creation and its Creator, providing the arguments of God’s existence, studying the divine nature and attributes, and examining the procession of creatures from their divine Creator, the manner of their production and their distinction into angelic, corporal, and human natures.

Volume II: The Pursuit of Happiness presents St. Thomas’s profound study of the whole problem of human happiness. With each page, this study takes a step further down into the mundane world of human affairs; with every chapter, it confronts more directly the clamor and confusion of human activity. In neat and orderly fashion, Farrell once more follows the Angelic Doctor’s lead, examining the essence of happiness and means of attaining it; the relationships between happiness and morality, happiness and passion, happiness and virtue; the various causes of unhappiness—running the whole gamut of human appetite and emotion, from love, desire, and hope to hatred, fear, and despair.

Volume III: The Fullness of Life presents St. Thomas’s superb study of human living in all its exuberant totality, encompassing a brilliant and expansive examination of the habits of happiness (virtue) and habits of unhappiness (vice). In neat and orderly fashion, Farrell follows the Angelic Doctor’s lead in considering freedom as the key to the fullness of life and the divine gifts which secure that freedom: faith for man’s mind, hope and charity for his will, and the myriad attendant virtues of those gifts—justice, temperance, prudence, courage, humility, and more.

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.

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: 376pp. (I) | 376pp. (II) | 418pp. (III) | 388pp. (IV)

ISBN: 978-1685953065 (I) | 978-1685953089 (II) | 978-1685953232 (III) | 978-1685953249 (IV)