Meaning of SCHOLASTICISM in English

the philosophical systems and speculative tendencies of various medieval Christian thinkers who, working on a background of fixed religious dogma, sought to solve anew general philosophical problems (as of faith and reason, will and intellect, realism and nominalism, and the provability of the existence of God), initially under the influence of the mystical and intuitional tradition of patristic philosophy and especially Augustinianism and later under that of Aristotle. In the early Middle Ages the authority of the Church Fathers still remained important, especially that of the Pseudo-Dionysus, with his hierarchically ordered cosmos. (Pseudo-Dionysus wrote under the name of Dionysus the Areopagiteone of St. Paul's converts around AD 500 in order to clothe his own works in a borrowed authority.) The impact of the controversial theologian Peter Abelard in the 11th century, however, brought logic to the forefront of scholastic philosophy and rendered reliance upon the authority of the Fathers alone inadequate. For such medieval theologians as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, reason assumed an important role in theology, not as the antithesis of faith, but as its supplement. Thus the scholastics made a systematic attempt to map out the field of theology as a science and in so doing developed new treatises on matters that had previously belonged to preaching (e.g., the sacraments). They began to prevail over the more contemplative and monastic schools, which held that theology consisted in wisdom rather than in science. They borrowed freely from the philosophy of Aristotle, which came to them largely via the Islamic philosophers Averros (112698) and Avicenna (9801037). They aimed at a synthesis of learning in which theology surmounted the hierarchy of knowledge. The primary methods of teaching were the lectio (lecture) and the disputatio (formal debate), which consisted largely in the presentation and analysis of syllogisms. Although there was fairly general agreement as to method and aim, Scholastics did not always agree among themselves on points of doctrine. Distinct schools of theology emerged, the most influential being those of the Franciscan Duns Scotus, for whom a world created in God's groundless, absolute freedom could exhibit no necessary reasons, and the Dominican St. Thomas Aquinas, for whom faith, in general, presupposed and therefore required natural reason. The Thomist position tended increasingly to prevail, and Aquinas was eventually declared common doctor of the church and considered the repository of sound and orthodox doctrine. His Summa Theologiae (Summary of Theology) became the standard textbook of theology, and the era of the great commentaries on Aquinas began. One of the most famous was that of a 16th-century Dominican, Cardinal Thomas de Vio, commonly known as Cajetan. The polemical atmosphere of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation introduced a new factor. While Protestant theologians stressed scriptural and patristic authority and despised the Scholastics as logic-chopping obscurantists, Catholic theologians came to rely on the latter more and more heavily. The Metaphysical Disputations of the late-16th-century Jesuit Francisco Surez, however, reveal a concern for the spirit rather than the letter of Scholasticism. Rather than a commentary on Aquinas, his work is an original philosophical treatise inspired by Aquinas and others. The first author to try to extract a philosophy (apart from theology) from Aquinas was the Dominican John of St. Thomas in the 17th century with his Cursus Philosophicus, and this example was much followed. The medieval synthesis was still further fragmented as new treatises were devised on such subjects as ecclesiology, apologetics, moral theology, and cosmology. Nevertheless, the medievals were retained as a point of reference, and these philosophers and theologians saw themselves as the heirs to the Scholastic tradition. The 18th and 19th centuries were a period of decadent Scholasticism. The tradition survived as a form of emasculated Aristotelianism, out of touch with contemporary thought and science; it continued to be taught in Latin, providing what amounted to a memory test for Catholic seminarians. A Thomist revival was announced and stimulated by Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Aeterni Patris (1879); so-called Neoscholasticism became the dominant school in the Roman Catholic universities, although it proved at first incapable of dialogue with contemporary philosophy and played a conservative role in the Modernist crisis of the early years of the 20th century. Subsequently, however, Neoscholasticism and Neothomism earned renewed respect on the basis of the historical scholarship of the French Christian philosopher tienne Gilson and others, who traced the original contributions of the Scholastics and their influence on subsequent philosophy. Additional reading For a detailed bibliography covering Scholasticism, see W. Totok, Handbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. 2, Mittelalter und frhe Neuzeit (1970). Among the most reliable, best grounded presentations of the whole period are: E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (1955); F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 2, Mediaeval Philosophy, vol. 3, Late Mediaeval and Renaissance Philosophy (1950, 1953; paperback edition, 1962, 1963); M. de Wulf, Histoire de la philosophie mdivale, 6th ed., 3 vol. (193447; Eng. trans. of vol. 1, 1951); and E. Brehier, La Philosophie du moyen ge, 2nd ed. (1949). Still indispensable, though obsolete in some details is: F. Ueberweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, vol. 2, B. Geyer, Die patristische und scholastische Philosophie, 11th ed. (1928). Lucidly arranged and divided is the 13th volume of Fliche-Martin, Histoire de l'glise: Le Mouvement doctrinal de XIe au XIVe sicle (1951), which includes contributions by A. Forest, F. van Steenberghen, and M. de Gandillac. M. Grabmann's masterpiece, Die Geschichte der scholastischen Methode, 2 vol. (190911, reprinted 1956), covers only the time until the first years of the 13th century. For a first introduction for the general reader, see J. Pieper, Scholastik (1960; Eng. trans., Scholasticism, 1960). Special problems concerning the continuing influence of medieval Scholasticism are treated in the following monographs: A. Koyre, Descartes und die Scholastik (1923); A. Tellkamp, Das Verhltnis John Locke's zur Scholastik (1927); and J.O. Fleckenstein, Scholastik, Barock, exakte Wissenschaften (1949). The following are sources on Neoscholasticism: J.P. Golinas, La Restauration du Thomisme sous Leon XIII et les philosophies nouvelles (1959); Giovanni Rossi, Le origini del Neotomismo nell'ambiente di studio del Collegio Alberoni (1957); A. Viel, Le Mouvement thomiste au XIXe sicle, Revue Thomiste (190910); E. Bettoni, La Situation actuelle de la philosophie parmi les catholiques dans les divers pays (1948), a survey of centres of study, institutes, and publications; and J.S. Zybura (ed.), Present-Day Thinkers and the New Scholasticism: An International Symposium (1926).

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