Answered By: Arts & Sciences / Philosophy & Theology Liaison Librarian
Last Updated: Aug 07, 2018     Views: 2277

The Summa theologiae consists of three Parts and the Supplement.

Each Part is divided into questions, which are in turn subdivided into articles.

  • Each question focuses on a specific theme, which is examined in a number of individual articles
  • Each article is a discussion of an issue that includes a variety of views (it is preceded by objections, and followed by replies to the objections)*

* The Latin text of the Summa uses the following abbreviations for citing the prologue to, or subsections of an article within a question:

Each article within a question is divided into five sections:

The Latin text of the Summa theologiae uses the following abbreviations for citing the subsections of an article within a question:

  1. Question posed
  • pr. = prologue to a question
  • q. = question
  • a. = article
  1. Objections (arguments "that can appear problematic when viewed from Aquinas' position")
  • obj. = objections (or arg. = argument)
  1. Authority quoted to the contrary (of the objections)
  • s.c. = sed contra ("on the contrary")
  1. Aquinas' determination, or solution, of the question
  • resp. = responsio  ("I respond that"; master's determination of the question. Or: co = corpus, body of the article)
  1. Aquinas' replies to the objections
  • ad. = adversus (replies to the objections)

When citing the Summa theologiae refer to part, question, and article.  If further breakdown is warranted, follow the abbreviations in the table above.

The University's Chicago Referencing Guide provides details on how to reference the Summa theologiae - follow link below and scroll down to find the relevant example. 

The "How to" link below may also be useful for understanding the structure of the Summa.