In a short article found at the beginning of the current issue of New Blackfriars, Fergus Kerr discusses the origin of the much-used and often reprinted translation of the Summa Theologica by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Kerr notes:
This literal translation by ‘Fathers of the English Dominican Province’ was done solely and entirely by one man: Father Laurence Shapcote (1864–1947).
The article describes the labors of Fr. Shapcote, who also translated the Summa contra Gentiles, De potentia, and some short works by Aquinas. The article concludes with the following observation:
Laurence Shapcote never wrote anything: there is no way of telling what his own ‘Thomism’ was. It is a century since he started work. He did not respond to suggestions that he should unmask his anonymity. Readers who are thankful for this literal translation would surely be all the more grateful if they knew that it was done by Laurence Shapcote alone, in very austere conditions, on the Rand and in Natal, doggedly translating his way through the major works of St Thomas.
The full article can be found here, but it requires a subscription.