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The World as God’s Icon

The World as God’s Icon

Creator & Creation in the Platonic Thought of Thomas Aquinas

By Sebastian Morello

154 pp

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About the Book

The World as God’s Icon is a scholarly but accessible enquiry into the sources of Aquinas’s thought, and the reception of his realism in the work of the “Existential Thomists” as they uncovered Aquinas’s Neoplatonic themes. In this short but compelling work, the key aspects of Aquinas’s Platonism are brought together to convey a broad ontology, which ultimately presents creation as an icon of God. This is accomplished on three fronts. First, the received notion that Aquinas ought to be understood as a pure—albeit Christian—Aristotelian is challenged, by arguing rather that he was an heir to a much richer synthesis of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, which he brought to perfection in his own thought. Second, it is made startlingly clear that it is in fact Neoplatonic ontology that provides the framework for Aquinas’s thought insofar as it reveals the world as an icon of God, allowing for a new way of looking in wonder at creation, while providing a certain “praeambula fidei.” Third, we are offered a way of thinking about aesthetics that follows from the metaphysical view advanced.


“Sebastian Morello has done an excellent job of showing that the arguments developed by Thomas Aquinas remain not only relevant to the discipline of philosophy, but also decisive in determining how we should think about some of the deep questions of our day.”


formerly at the University of Buckingham

“This vivid and persuasive account of Aquinas as, importantly, a Platonist, does justice both to the depth and complexity of Thomist metaphysics, and to the place of beauty in religion and in the general theory of value.”


King’s College London

“In this bold new book, Sebastian Morello exhorts us to stride like giants onto the vast and awe-inspiring landscape that is the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas.”


University of Oxford

“This volume is an excellent exploration of the influence of the realist philosophical tradition on the artistic achievements of the Christian West.”


National Gallery, London

“The thought of Thomas Aquinas remains for many the highpoint of medieval Western philosophy’s conception of the Creator and the created world. In The World as God’s Icon, Morello shows us just how much Aquinas owed to Plato’s understanding of these themes.”


Acton Institute

About the Author

Sebastian Morello was trained in philosophy by Sir Roger Scruton and Andrew Pinsent. He is a lecturer, columnist, and popular public speaker in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. Morello has previously co-authored books on subjects of philosophy and education. He lives in Bedfordshire, England, with his wife and children.

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