Professor Emeritus Dr. William Marshner’s eagerly anticipated translation of Cardinal Cajetan’s Commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae: Prima Pars was recently released, with the translation available in three separate free-standing volumes. Marshner’s translation is the first time Cajetan’s commentary has been translated in its entirety, making its release a significant moment in the history of the Catholic Church.

Marshner, who is one of the five founding faculty members of Christendom College, first started reading Cardinal Cajetan’s commentaries in their original Latin when he was teaching a course on the Trinity at Christendom. He was immediately struck by how helpful they were, along with how well they defended the work of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Cardinal Cajetan’s commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae: Prima Pars was used by scholars for 500 years but was never translated from its original Latin. In the 20th century, the scholastic culture in Latin faced a dramatic downturn, necessitating a translation into English for the first time. Marshner took up this important task, first beginning work on it when he was still teaching full-time at the college, finding pockets of time here and there to work on it. That work continued into his retirement from teaching, with the translation finally arriving in April of 2024.

“My translation is the first translation of any part of the Summa to follow that command of Pope Leo XIII to print Cajetan’s commentaries along with each article of the Summa,” says Marshner in an interview with Catholic University of America Press, who published the translation. “Cajetan’s commentary is written in the high scholastic style, in which important points are debated. The points can have come from any school of theology that was functioning in the two hundred years between Aquinas and Cajetan. The Latin of these philosophical debates is often difficult, especially because it is loaded with scholastic turns of phrase which, even though they were pioneered by Thomas, did not become standard pieces of philosophical terminology until after his time.”

Marshner’s monumental work is the result of a lifetime of theological study, with Marshner earning degrees from Yale, the University of Dallas, and the Lateran University in Rome. He was one of the five founding faculty members of Christendom College, teaching at the school from 1977 until 2015, when he retired and was named Professor Emeritus. Marshner is the translator and editor of a number of books, including Defending the Faith: An Anti-Modernist Anthology, and wrote extensively for Triumph, Christendom’s Faith and Reason journal, and more.

To purchase Marshner’s latest work, visit here.

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