Summa Contra Gentiles

by Thomas Aquinas

Start Free Trial

What is the style of writing in Thomas Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Summa Contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas uses polemical writing to make an emphatic argument for the existence of God. Polemical writing can be defined as strongly critical and controversial. Aquinas uses a systematic arrangement that gradually builds several dimensions of an argument into a logical conclusion.

The first three books focus on knowing things based on rational observations that are objective in the human experience. Aquinas uses logic and conclusions based on evidence to explain how these objective truths are understood and accepted in society.

In the fourth book, he utilizes a similar systematic argument that exploring the aspects of life we can not see. This exploration shifts the argument away from objective observation and into the realm of subjective belief. Aquinas uses the "disputed question" to entice more profound thought in the reader. He attempts to create an undeniable presentation that will bring the non-believer to faith.

The language of Summa Contra Gentiles is more accessible than Aquinas's later work. It is believed that he was attempting to reach a wider audience of varying educational levels so as many as possible would consider his message.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on