Commentary on the Book of Causes
The Book of Causes, highly influential in the medieval university, was commonly but incorrectly understood to be the completion of Aristotle's metaphysics. It was Thomas Aquinas who first judged it to have been abstracted from Proclus's Elements of Theology, presumably by an unknown Arabic author, who added to it ideas of his own.
The Book of Causes is of particular interest because themes that appear in it are echoed in the metaphysics of Aquinas: its treatment of being (esse) as proceeding from the First Creating Cause; the triadic scheme of being, living, and knowing; and the general scheme of participation in which "all is in all." Thus, the Book of Causes provides a historical backdrop for understanding and appreciating Aquinas's development of these themes in his metaphysics.
Thomas's Commentary on the Book of Causes, composed during the first half of 1272, offers an extended view of his approach to Neoplatonic thought and functions as a guide to his metaphysics. Though long neglected and, until now, never translated into English, it deserves an equal place alongside his commentaries on Aristotle and Boethius.
In addition to the extensive annotation, bibliography, and thorough introduction, this translation is accompanied by two valuable appendices. The first provides a translation of another version of proposition 29 of the Book of Causes, which was not known to St. Thomas. The second lists citations of the Book of Causes found in the works of St. Thomas and cross-references these to a list showing the works, and the exact location within them, where the citations can be found.
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The Principle of the Entire Work
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abiding steadfastly according activity animal Aosta Aquinas Arabic manuscript Aristotle asserts Averroes Avicenna belongs Book of Causes cause infuses clear corporeal corruption created things Dionysiaca Dionysius diverse Divine Names Dodds effect efficient cause Enneades eternity everything existing follows formal cause heavenly bodies Hence higher intelligences higher souls higher things impression inasmuch infinite power infinity insofar intel intelligence knows intelligible forms intelligible species knower knowledge Latin Latin manuscripts Latin translation Lect Liber de Causis lower things matter Metaphysics mode motion multiplicity nature Neoplatonic osition participation Pattin perfect perpetual philosophical Platonic Platonists Plotinus potency Potentia powerfully principle Proclus Proclus's book Proclus's Elements proof proper proposition proposition relates proves Pseudo-Dionysius quiddity reason receive regard relates to Prop rule Saffrey Saffrey's Saint Thomas second cause sempiternal things sense sensible things separate simple subsisting thing whose substance Thomas's trans understanding unity universal Vansteenkiste yliatim