While the English word saint originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the appellation "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people", with the Jewish tzadik, the Islamic walī, the Hindu rishi or Sikh guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva also being referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either by official ecclesiastical declaration, as in the Catholic faith, or by popular acclamation (see Folk saint).
Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino; born ca. 1225; died 7 March 1274) was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Order from Italy, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus and Doctor Communis. He is frequently referred to as Thomas because "Aquinas" refers to his residence rather than his surname. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived as a reaction against, or as an agreement with, his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law and political theory.
Aquinas is held in the Roman Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood. The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. One of the 33 Doctors of the Church, he is considered by many Christians to be the Roman Catholic Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Consequently, many institutions of learning have been named after him. The Eastern Orthodox Church has had a complex relationship with Aquinas' work. In the twentieth century, there was a reaction against this "Latin captivity" of the Orthodox theology, and later writers have emphasized the otherness of scholasticism.
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