Tweeting the Summa Theologiae?

Who would do that? [Oh, yes, I would.]

Obj 1: Twitter is inappropriate for any serious endeavor. The ST is a serious endeavor. Therefore it should not be tweeted.

Obj 2: 140 characters is not enough to get any real theology done.

Obj 3: People on Twitter are unlikely to appreciate the substance and depth of Thomas Aquinas’ great work.

Contra: “The Master of Catholic Truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct beginners” (ST Prologue). Therefore

Resp: I think it’s an interesting way to provide a taste of the ST to get people interested in the larger work. It has the potential to benefit two — no, three! — kinds of readers. First, those who are interested in the thought of Thomas Aquinas but are not sure what part of the work they would be most interested in reading. Second, those who read a part of the ST without its context but would like a larger picture of the work. Third, those who have no interest in the ST itself but are willing to slowly cruise through this greatly abridged version. Our lives will be enriched, I hope. (And if not, it was only 140 characters.)

Ad 1: Twitter is not just for frivolous pursuits, and although theology is a serious endeavor, it is one that can be relevant to every new medium of communication. [Also see ad 2.]

Ad 2: We’ll just have to see about that.

Ad 3: If you jump on and follow, that won’t be a concern anymore, will it?


  1. I started (and stopped) tweeting the Compendium of the Catechism. I stopped simply due to not being able to distill the answers into 140 character snippets. Best of luck to this endeavor!

    1. Ah, yes, that whole “sacrificing nuance” part. It hurts, but I think I can do it.

  2. My mind has just adjusted from the 14000 character, four page book review that will be the norm for my web site to the less than 1500 character Pray Tell format. There is no way it will fit into 140 characters. Twitter is definitely for younger people than myself.

    About Aquinas. I noticed our seminary is offering a course on Aquinas as Spiritual Master with textbooks by Barron and Torrell. Now that sounds interesting since as a social scientist I like to say that I am interested in spirituality but not theology.

    (Well actually if I am really cornered, I admit to being an amateur theologian, like Rahner was an amateur philosopher).

  3. 🙂 This is really funny. For one who knows very little about Aquinas, this might be very useful, though at the same time my issues with Twitter (meaning that I tend to think it somewhat egotistical and a degradation of communication) make me wonder if it is possible that this post has stumbled upon a good use for Twitter. 🙂

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