JMC : The Metaphysics of the School / by Thomas Harper, S.J.

Index of the Works of St. Thomas,
Together with the Abbreviations in Use
When Quoting from Them.

I. The greatest and last work of St. Thomas is the Summa. He did not live to complete it. Consequently, a Supplement, collected from his Commentary on the Sentences, was subjoined to that which he had written of the third Part. This work is divided into three Parts. The second Part is divided into two, which are respectively called, the First of the Second Part and the Second of the Second Part. Each Part embraces a number of Questions; each Question, a certain number of Articles. The structure of each Article is as follows. First of all, objections, numbered 1, 2, 3, etc., are proposed to the prospective solution; then any argument, or arguments, in its favour. Next follows the resolution of the Question in the body of the Article, as it is called. Finally, answers are given to the Difficulties, following the numerical order.

In quoting from the Summa, the abbreviations are these: --

1ae, li, 2, o; that is, the fifty-first Question of the First Part, Article the second, the whole body of the Article.

1ae, li, 2, c; that is, the fifty-first Question, etc., in the body of the Article, when only a portion of the body is quoted.

1ae li, 2, ad 3m; that is, the fifty-first Question, etc., in the answer to the second Difficulty.

1-2ae, indicates the first portion of the Second Part.

2-2ae indicates the second portion of the Second Part. The notation for Questions, Articles, etc., is the same.

3ae, indicates the Third Part.

In some indexes, when quotation is made from the Supplement, it is noted thus, 3ae, Suppl.

II. The work of St. Thomas, the next in importance to the Summa, are his Commentaries on the Books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard, -- the text-hook in the Schools, till the Summa of St. Thomas took their place. The Sentences are in four Books. Each Book consists of a certain number of Distinctions. St. Thomas in his Commentary divides each Distinction into a certain number of Articles. Occasionally an Article is subdivided into certain quaestiunculae, or little questions. Sometimes it happens that there is only one Question in a Distinction; in such case, the Question is not noted in the abbreviated Form. The following are examples of the ordinary abbreviations

In Sentt. (or simply) 3d. xxxiii, Q. 3, a. 3, p. 4, c., et ad 2m. This means, the Commentary of St. Thomas on the thirty-third Distinction in the third Book; the third Question, the third Article of that Question, the fourth little question under the Article, in the solution of the question, and in answer to the second objection.

In 4 Sente. d. ix, a. 5, q. 4, o. This means, the Commentary of St. Thomas on the ninth Distinction of the fourth Book in the only Question, the third Article, the fourth little question, tbe whole of the solution.

III. We will place, next in order, certain Questions on different subjects; on Truth, on Potentiality, on Evil, on the Virtues in general. Each of these questions under each of the above titles is divided into Articles.

The abbreviated Forms are such as the following: --

De Verit. Q. xiv, a. 13, c.

De Pot. Q. ix, a. b, ad 3m.

De Ma. (or Mal.) Q. xii, a. I, o.

De Virt. Q. ii, a. 4, ad 3m.

There are three other solitary Questions, which complete this third class; viz, a Question on Spiritual Creatures, another on the Soul, and another on the Union of the Incarnate Word. In their case, the Question is not noted in the abbreviation. Thus, de Spir. Creat. (or Spiritu.) a. iii, ad 21; de Anima, a. x, c; de Unio. a. iii, ad 11m.

In the instance of all these Questions, the prefixed de, is generally omitted in the abbreviation. Thus, Pot. or Poa, Unio., Verit., etc.

IV. To these Questions should be added a collection of Questions on all manner of subjects. Hence, they are called Quodlibet. There are twelve Quodlibets. Each Quodlibet is divided into Questions; each Question, into Articles. But, forasmuch as the Articles go on in their numeration, independently of the Questions, these latter are not noted in the abbreviated form of citation. Thus, Quol. iv, a. 27, ad 1m.


Sometimes, in these Articles included under Questions, there are two sets of objections, and two sets of resolutions. In this case, the former have an a, the latter a b, prefixed.


There is one Opusculum which is divided into Questions and Articles. It is a Commentary upon the supposed Work of Boetius on the Trinity. It is quoted after this manner: -- Trin. (or Opusc. LX), Q. iii. a. 2, c.

V. The Philosophical Summa against the Gentiles. This Work is divided into four Books; each Book into so many Chapters. Its abbreviated Forms of citation are such Cg. (or, c. Gent.) L. iii, co. 17.

VI. The Opuscula, or little Works, are of various forms. One has been already mentioned. Others are very short, and have no division. Others, again, are divided into Chapters (co). Others that are much longer, are divided into Books (L) and Chapters; others, again, into Articles; and one, into Tractates (tr.). These Opuscula are not numbered in the same order in the different editions. Whenever they are cited in the present Work, the first number is that of the Roman edition, fol. A.D. 1571; the second number, between brackets, is that of the Parma edition, 4o, AD. 1852-1873.

VII. The Commentaries on Aristotle follow the divisions into Books, etc. of the original; but are further subdivided into Lessons (Lectiones); -- apparently an arrangement instituted for the benefit of the pupils. The abbreviations are as follows: --

Ethi., i.e. on the Books of Ethics.

Ente, 1, 2, i.e. on the first or second Book upon Being and Essence.

Meta., i.e. on the Books of Metaphysics.

Phy., i.e. on the Books of Physics.

(Coe., i.e. on the Books concerning the Heaven and the Earth.

Gen., i.e. on the Books concerning Generation.

Anima, i.e. on the Books concerning the Soul.

Meteor., i.e. on the Books about Meteors.

Sensu., i.e. on the Book about Sensation.

Memoa., i.e. on the Book about Memory.

Somno., i.e. on the Book about Sleep and Waking.

Poster., i.e. on the Books of the Posterior Analytics.

Periher., i.e. on the Book concerning Interpretation.

Lect., i.e. Lesson, or Lectio.

There are, besides, Commentaries on Job, the Psalms, Isaias, the Gospels of St. Matthew and of St. John, and on the Epistles of St. Paul; and a Golden Chain (Catena Aurea), i.e. a Patristic Commentary on the four Gospels. Of these nothing more need be said; since they are not likely to he quoted in the present Work.

NOTE. -- Not unfrequently, when the body of an Article or a Chapter is very long, certain abbreviations have been adopted, in order to enable the reader more readily to find the passage init. At the beginning. v. m. Near the middle. in m. In the middle. p. m. After the middle. v. fi. (or v. f.) Near the end. fi. (or f.) At the end.

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