Summa Theologica

Because the doctor of Catholic truth ought not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct
beginners (according to the Apostle: As unto little ones in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not
meat -- 1 Corinthians 3:1-2), we purpose in this book to treat of whatever belongs to the
Christian religion, in such a way as may tend to the instruction of beginners. We have considered
that students in this doctrine have not seldom been hampered by what they have found written by
other authors, partly on account of the multiplication of useless questions, articles, and
arguments, partly also because those things that are needful for them to know are not taught
according to the order of the subject matter, but according as the plan of the book might require,
or the occasion of the argument offer, partly, too, because frequent repetition brought weariness
and confusion to the minds of readers.
Endeavouring to avoid these and other like faults, we shall try, by God's help, to set forth
whatever is included in this sacred doctrine as briefly and clearly as the matter itself may allow.

Copyright © 1996 R.J. Kilcullen

"The Middle Ages" refers to the period of European history from the end of the Roman Empire
in Italy until the Renaissance, i.e. from the 5th century A.D. until the 15th. Philosophers during
this time included Boethius, Anselm, Peter Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of
Ockham and many others. During the 12th and 13th centuries European philosophy was much
influenced by the writings of Muslim philosophers including Avicenna (ibn Sina) and Averroes
(ibn Rushd). Philosophy in the medieval style continued into the late seventeenth century;
Descartes and Leibniz cannot be well understood without some knowledge of medieval thought.
PHIL252 is concerned with medieval thought from Boethius to Thomas Aquinas, PHIL360 Later
Medieval Philosophy with the period from Duns Scotus, including the medieval elements in 17th
century philosophy.

The Hellenistic Period
Between Aristotle (who died in 322 B.C.) and the earliest medieval philosopher,
Boethius (A.D.480-524), a good deal happened of which it will be useful to have
some idea. Greek armies led by Alexander "the Great" (died 323 B.C.) overturned
the Persian Empire and established a number of Greek Kingdoms in its territories,
which included Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor. The culture of this period is
called "Hellenistic"; the Greeks called themselves "Hellenes"; the "ist" suggests that
Hellenistic culture was close to but not identical with Classical Greek culture. In the

In these works Cicero sometimes remarks on the difficulty of finding Latin equivalents for Greek philosophical terms. history) on the other. Alexandria was especially important as a centre of study in mathematics. Except in Alexandria. history and oratory followed Greek models.C. by Plutarch. 1973).Hellenistic world Greek was for many people a second Epictetus. and not much philosophy. astronomy and other branches of science. Christianity In the Greek-speaking eastern Mediterranean a major event was the spread of Christianity. handbooks. and rhetoric and literary studies (poetry. on the conflicts between Greek and Jewish culture see the books of the Maccabees (in R. some of it in Rome .S. Latin literature was an imitation of Greek literature: Latin poetry. philosophy. The Jewish scriptures were translated . Many of the teachers had themselves learnt Greek as a second language. by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.V. history. Alexandria. encyclopedias. From Plato's time there had been opposition between philosophy and rhetoric . including Greece. but not of the sciences. and of the European Renaissance of the fifteenth century. drama. there was no Latin counterpart of Greek mathematics. The orator and politician Cicero wrote a number of interesting and valuable works of philosophy in Latin which are believed to be based on Greek originals since lost. science. science. But Latin did not displace Greek in those regions. During the Roman period a good deal of philosophy was still written in Greek. with schools and a famous library. In fact. literature. p. of Byzantium of Europe until the 12th century. the Romans themselves had been Hellenized. However. Their writings included aids for the newcomer to Greek culture: dictionaries.between philosophy. The Romans The last Greek ruler of Egypt. the Museum. 122 ff). and by Plotinus. Palestine had been included in one of the Greek Kingdoms established after Alexander's conquests. died in 30 B. The city Alexander had founded in Egypt. medicine and philosophy. Athens continued to be a centre of philosophy. There was plenty of work for professional teachers of Greek language. mathematics. Cleopatra. explanatory commentaries of various sorts. and in Europe between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Apart from these three there was little or nothing. Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books. (Collins. Educated Romans learnt Greek and went to Athens and other Greek centres to complete their education. drama. Greek culture was something learnt in school. digests. medicine. science and medicine. Common Bible. Palestine and Egypt. became an important centre of Greek culture. mathematics. Greek philosophy and science was taken up in Islamic countries. By then the Romans controlled the eastern Mediterranean region. Other writers of philosophical works in Latin were Lucretius and Seneca. Hellenistic culture was in the rhetorical tradition: as was that of ancient Rome. medicine on the one hand.

thus in Italy in the fifth .into Greek by Jews living in Alexandria.). and the Book of Revelation). Patrology (Utrecht. at first among Greek-speaking residents. renamed New Rome or Constantinople (now Istanbul). Letters. either because it conveyed Greek philosophical ideas to later Christian readers. Constantine became emperor. but it was no longer the seat of government.e. etc. some of which is significant for the history of philosophy in the middle ages. kept great prestige. the first emperor to become a Christian. Constantinople. [Note 1] The Byzantine Empire In 324A. Nestorians. The Christian New Testament was written in Greek. whether he had two natures. Huns. He moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the Greek town of Byzantium. Vandals. from the Danube to North Africa. These questions were discussed at several "General" or "ecumenical" ("world-wide") Councils of Christian bishops. (A reference book: Johannes Quasten. . and also in Rome.) Among Christians "Trinitarian" and "Christological" controversies arose involving Greek philosophical concepts. 1966 ff). who wrote in Latin. the Acts of the Apostles. The common language of the eastern half was Greek. Consuls and other magistrates. It is customary to call the medieval empire of the Greeks "Byzantine" from the original name of their capital. In fact the Empire had been for a long time too large to be controlled and protected from one capital. which consisted of the Jewish scriptures (called by Christians the "Old Testament") together with new Christian books (the "New Testament" the four Gospels. In some places peoples from outside the Empire ("barbarians") Goths. Those who accepted the decision of these councils regarded themselves as "orthodox" ("right-teaching") or "Catholic" ("found everywhere") and the others as heretics (under various descriptions .Q3. later among speakers of Latin. himself a Jew.D. Christianity spread rapidly in the Greek-speaking east. Romans. i. how these two natures were related.forced their way in or infiltrated. Jerome and Gregory "the Great". "of the Fathers" (patres) of the Church ("Fathers" in the sense of early leaders). The old Rome. and its Senate. Chrysostom. Ref/BR67. or because its religious content suggested new philosophical questions or theories. whether he had a human soul. of the western half Latin. Paul. Gregory of Nyssa and Origen. Concerning Jesus Christ it was debated whether he was both God and man. Emperors had sometimes taken colleagues and assigned parts of the Empire to them. held at Nicaea. The most influential patristic authors included Athanasius. Franks etc. it extended from Britain to Syria. Ephesus and Chalcedon. how the Christian belief in the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit can be reconciled with the doctrine that God is one ("one substance"). and concerning God.Arians. The rest of the Christian literature of the early centuries (first to sixth) is called "Patristic". they called themselves Romaioi. The basic Christian book was the Bible. Gregory Nazianzen. Augustine. and Ambrose. travelled throughout the eastern Mediterranean preaching the Christian gospel in Greek to Greek-speakers. who wrote in Greek. many of them Jews. Sometimes they were employed as mercenaries or auxiliaries. Christianity produced a large literature of its own. who were sometimes only nominally subordinate to the Roman Emperor in Constantinople.

under the Caliph's patronage.E. denied his claims.some of the translators were Syrian Christians. the "Gothic Wars" fought by his generals Belasarius and Narses in Italy devastated the country and are sometimes said to mark the real beginning of the "dark ages" in Italy.D5) articles "Translation and Translators". were translated into Arabic. then.3. dissident Christians (heretics) and a few orthodox Christians continued to live in these countries. Persian and Indian writings. scientific and philosophical writings. Greek medical.D. See The Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Ref/D114. to reestablish control over the west. made or corrected translations of Greek. In 9th century Baghdad scholars in the "House of Wisdom". sometimes with the help of Jews who knew Arabic. and Justinian himself wrote (or gave his name to) the Institutes or introductory textbook.P43). knowledge of Greek medicine gave some of them access to Muslim rulers. and not the emperor in Constantinople. his legal experts prepared a Latin Code of Roman Law.527-565) tried. The Holy Roman Empire Meanwhile in the West. were translated into Latin. In 12th century Spain many of these writings. but continued to profess allegiance to the Emperor in Constantinople. together with original works in Arabic. north Africa and part of Spain. Islam From the seventh century the Roman Empire came under attack from the followers of the prophet Mohammed (died 632A. and the Kings of France. was the effective military protector of Rome. This Roman empire came eventually (in the 10th century) into the possession of the princes of Germany: when an incumbent died the princes elected a successor. and 58 ff. Justinian (one of the few eastern emperors to speak Latin) also attempted to re-establish Roman law. sometimes by way of Syriac . [Note 2] The emperor Justinian (A. England and Spain.D. Throughout the middle ages there were. 476 the Goths deposed the last western Roman emperor (this date is sometimes given as the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages). 35 ff. King of the Franks. Jews. in the thirteenth century the popes claimed jurisdiction over the emperors. and Novels of new legislation. two "Roman Empires". who went to Rome to be crowned by the pope and then returned to Germany. The language mainly used for literary purposes by Muslims was Arabic.D.D. also F. a Digest of the teachings of the Roman legal writers. pp. Islam became the religion of the middle east. and many cities in Italy. with some temporary success. Peters Aristotle and the Arabs (B744.). 800. "Roman Emperor". the pope had proclaimed Charles "the Great" (Charlemagne). including the works of Aristotle.century there were western emperors subordinate to the emperor in Constantinople. but Italy was in fact controlled by the Goths (who were Arians. in A. one in Constantinople and the . In A. heretical Christians). since Charles. In practice the emperor in the west had little authority even in Germany.

See E. 1951). and of bureaucracy was Latin. Scholarly and teaching techniques already worked out in ancient times in the study of law and other subjects were revived or reinvented in the law schools and were taken over (or independently developed) in other schools. Vikings. who had already had to develop methods of teaching Latin as a second language. The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge. Teachers of law sought out the few extant copies of the Corpus iuris civilis. The "Renaissance of the Twelfth century" was in part a revival of Greek philosophy. at first they were often established in monasteries and cathedrals. Haskins. Norsemen) did considerable damage. of the church. See C. As a result of the Carolingian renaissance. Many schools were businesses. Carolingian Portraits (Ann Arbor. his own clergy being helped in this work by AngloSaxon and Irish monks. The political and linguistic division between the two empires was a religious division also.D8. PA8035.S. the compilation of Roman law made at the direction of Justinian. The Carolingian Renaissance Charlemagne presided over a literary revival that modern scholars call the Carolingian renaissance. Two things seem to have produced this movement. [Note 3] Carolingian scholars made the copies of the Latin classics which the humanists later discovered. The language of culture. 1962). but the spread of Latin learning then resumed.H. Mass. DD131. Charlemagne encouraged literacy in Latin. which the humanists thought was the script used by the ancient Romans (our lower-case print.other in Germany. They used an elegant script they had developed. and Alcuin. still called "Roman") . [Note 4] A laweducation industry grew up centred on Bologna. During the 9th-11th centuries pirates from the north (Danes. These included the gloss (explanations between the . in 1054 the Latin Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches excommunicated one another. The "Holy Roman Empire of the German People" lasted until it was abolished by Napoleon. the Roman Empire in the east lasted until the capture of Constantinople by the Muslim Turks in 1453. whereas in fact they were finding texts copied and studied by medieval scholars. The first was an increasing sophistication in studies of law in Italy. More copies were made.the humanists thought they were discovering texts written by the ancient Romans themselves and not read during the middle ages. from which the master made his living out of students' fees. By the twelfth century schools existed in most of the towns of Italy.H3. schools multiplied. 1955). The renaissance of the twelfth century Another movement that historians call a renaissance took place in the twelfth century. France and England. but for most people in Europe after the "barbarian invasions" Latin was a foreign language. due perhaps to the growth of commerce. Friend of Charlemagne (New York.. later in many towns. and glosses and increasingly elaborate commentaries were written to help students through the obscurities of Justinian's corpus. Duckett.

getting his income from the fees of students enrolled in his school. whose authority it reinforced.lines of obscure words or phrases. In the twelfth century there was a flood of translations into Latin. authorities and arguments on the other side. By the 13th century universities existed in Bologna. science and astrology. but student demand prevailed and soon the universities made Aristotle's works the set texts in the Arts curriculum.. These urban schools were the public for the new translations of Greek and Arab philosophy and science. it tried to set rents and other prices. Philosophy was studied especially in the Arts schools of Paris and Oxford. The most flourishing schools were in law and medicine ("the lucrative faculties"). i. The second possible cause of the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century was contact between Latin Christians and Muslims (also with Jews and Greek-Orthodox Christians). Paris. The contact was of course to a large extent violent. Oxford. was also a flourishing study in the Italian law schools. first from Arabic and then from Greek. but incidentally Christians formed a favourable impression of the medicine and material culture of the Muslims and became curious about their medical and other science. or more elaborate comments in the margin). at a time when Paris had over one hundred Arts schools it had only eight in theology.e. It was encouraged by the "Roman Emperors". II EVALUATIONS OF MEDIEVAL CULTURE The Renaissance View of the Middle Ages . Universities In some of the larger towns where there were many schools "universities" were formed. and later of philosophy. The university approved new masters and set the curriculum to ensure the reputation of the schools of the town so as to attract students. and in turn the influx of translations attracted more students to the schools. It was an association of masters each of whom ran his own school as a business. using the bargaining power with the townspeople that masters had because of the business the schools brought to the town. The study of the law flourished especially in Italy.. The law of the Catholic Church. and solution). The philosophy did not include Plato. Although the Church supervised the universities and the masters and students were all clerics (in a minimal sense). encouraged by the pope. first of works of medicine. the commentary with division of the text ("In the first part he does so-and-so. A university was not itself a teaching institution. a few of which had long before been translated by Boethius." he does such-and-such"). and elsewhere. "Canon law". in the second part. and the question (authorities and arguments on one side. beginning at ". the teaching was not mainly religious. because of the support Roman law in Justinian's version gave to the Emperor. the German princes who claimed that title. but it included the treatises of Aristotle. The Church at first opposed the teaching of Aristotle. They soon discovered that the Arabic literature and these fields was based on translations of Greek writings.

e. Humanitas was an ancient Roman term with various who believed they were bringing about a rebirth (renascentia) of the ancient and better culture of the Greeks and Romans after a "middle" or intervening period of barbarism. a free man. Nothing laboured. good breeding. They or their pupils sought employment with the Italian cities. "good breeding". "elegance". and later with other governments. poetry. not Aristotle. The success of the humanist movement was a set-back to philosophy. According to the humanists the ancient Roman Empire had been destroyed by barbarian invaders such as the Goths and Vandals. the universities) fit only for pedants and plebeians . drama. "more humane literature". liberal education. a good conversationalist. The humanists' philosophers were Plato. "Befitting a man". Philosophy was of course a study for gentlemen. refinement" (Lewis and Short. . disputed question or commentary on a text. dialogues. pedantic. On one view their campaign against the education of the schools was an attempt to make obsolete and unfashionable the "product" sold in this labour market by the established "firms". but only genres that a gentleman might practice: speeches. Latin Dictionary)."Medieval" conveys contempt. The other terms the dictionary uses .suggest that the ideal human being is an upper-class gentleman."liberal" (i. letters. essays. that educated people should be able to discuss in a relaxed and interesting way a wide range of subjects. It is easy to sympathise with some of the points the humanists were making: that education should develop the "humanity" of students. urbane. medicine. to say that some arrangement is "medieval" is to express emphatic disapproval. histories. not in laborious "scholastic" genres such as the treatise. self-confident. converse and were better trained for such things than the graduates of the universities. In fact. the Carolingian renaissance and the renaissance of the twelfth century. "Medieval" was a term of disparagement from the beginning. appropriate to liber. including "mental cultivation befitting a man. elegance of manners or language. at ease. witty. Cicero and Seneca. the dark age. The "humanists" were so called because of their study of literae humaniores. the studia humanitatis ("of humanity"). incompatible with leisure. theology and especially Aristotelian philosophy and science. they could write letters. suggests a human being fully developed as a human being should be. but the humanists thought it should be carried on in relaxed style in dialogues. fitted this ideal. It was invented in the 15th century by the Italian humanists. The literae humaniores therefore did not include the technical treatises of Aristotle. technical. law or architecture. write speeches. essays or letters. On the other hand there are some subjects that cannot be pursued properly except in a technical way.e. The humanists called the culture of the middle ages "Gothic" to suggest its barbarian origin. the "dark age" has now shrunk to the period between the "barbarian invasions" and the ninth century. astronomy. As indicated above. that it should not be excessively specialised or vocational. "refinement" . as secretaries and ambassadors. as distinct from a slave). more recent historians have found two earlier "renaissances". the humanists themselves had a vocational interest. mathematics and science (which had begun to develop in the late medieval schools of philosophy). mathematics. In recommending the literae humaniores the humanists means to contrast their own gentlemanly studies with the laborious and technical studies of "the schools" (i.

Rather. mathematics and science were still cultivated. then. . were reviving the rhetorical culture of ancient Rome. letter. thereby providing medieval Latins with a basis from which they could appropriate the rest of the philosophical and scientific heritage of the Greeks in the twelfth century when it became available to them from Muslim sources. the Lyceum. where all branches of philosophy. and later Aristotle and Cicero. rather it transferred attention from science to literature and may even have been a setback for science. The gentlemanly genres . In the ancient world the rhetorical education prevailed. treatise and commentary. [Note 5]  Medieval Europe was not closed against influence from non-Christian authors. But still there remains a contrast between seeking truth for the sake of knowledge and understanding and seeking truth so as to be more persuasive: for that purpose verisimilitude is better than truth. In his dialogues Gorgias and Phaedrus Plato had criticised the rhetoricians as being concerned not with truth but with persuasion. had in opposition maintained that the study of the art of making speeches should be at the centre of education. In Hellenistic Rome education was rhetorical. oriented to understanding rather than to persuasion. His contemporary. Muslim and ancient Greek philosophy and science were taken up with enthusiasm.  The Renaissance did not stimulate the development of science. and Latin literature did not include any counterparts of the difficult treatises studied in Alexandria. philosophy. studying Latin works written then and the Greek writings that Cicero and his contemporaries would have read.dialogue. At the beginning of the medieval period Boethius first translated into Latin some of the treatises of the Alexandrian schools. mathematics and science were cultivated together. had suggested that the true rhetorician will try to persuade hearers to the truth and must therefore be a student of the truth. For most branches of technical philosophy the 15th century Renaissance was a set-back. Plato himself. it transferred interest from the philosophical-scientific culture that had been revived three hundred years earlier to the literary and rhetorical culture which had been revived earlier still in the "Carolingian renaissance" and then displaced during the renaissance of the twelfth century. in opposition to the more technical Greek writings. The renaissance humanists. Against some prejudices remaining from the humanist campaign:   The Renaissance of the 15th century did not for the first time revive the whole of Greek and Latin culture. In Plato's Academy and in Aristotle's school.In another view the contest between humanists and scholastics was another phase of the battle that had been going on since Plato's time between philosophy and rhetoric. Isocrates. But during the Hellenistic period most of the schools taught mainly rhetoric and other subjects useful to a speechmaker (including some parts of philosophy). essay . The exception was Alexandria.imposed by the humanists were less suited to rigorous thinking than were the scholastic genres of question. which had meanwhile become in translation the basis of education in the medieval universities.

Point (1) implies that heretics . (Key events in the late 17th century were the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the repression of Huguenot (Calvinist) churches in France. Aristotle's books were at first opposed by the Church but became university set books because of student demand. deserving of punishment. i.a conflict still remembered in northern Ireland. It was always understood that much of Aristotle's philosophy was at odds with Christianity. The universities were business enterprises responding mainly to secular interest in philosophy.that is. if persisted in. This made freedom of thought possible within limits: although no Catholic could examine Catholic belief to decide whether it was true. genuine philosophy can hardly have existed.should be punished. The metaphor was taken up again. Summa Theologiae 2-2. even in the faculty of theology. But (3) non-Christians could not be allowed to try to convert Christians.  The influence of Aristotle's authority over the Scholastics was greatly exaggerated by their humanist critics. A Catholic who adopted an heretical opinion but would abandon it if he or she realised it was heretical was not a heretic. The "enlightenment" movement was directed especially against the Catholic Church and was concerned especially with religious tolerance and other aspects of what is now called liberalism. The answer seems to be that although in the middle ages freedom of thought was not acknowledged as a right. But it was held that to be a heretic it was not enough to believe a heresy (i. it was necessary also to be "pertinacious". though failure to believe (like failure in other duties) might be excused by invincible ignorance. The Enlightenment The Renaissance humanists spoke of their age of light succeeding a dark age. On the other hand. from the late 17th through the 18th century. persons who had once been Catholics but have abandoned part or all of the Christian faith . especially in France. (2) it was held that no one who was not a Christian could rightly be coerced into belief. at least in the universities.e. Did freedom of thought exist in the middle ages? Unless it did. However. To elaborate: (1) Theologians and canon lawyers held that Christian belief was for every human being a duty. not willing to be corrected. it did exist in some measure. 10 and q. reminiscent of the medieval Inquisition. and the victorious war fought by the Protestant powers of northern Europe led by William of Orange against France . And as we will see. medieval philosophy was much influenced by neo-Platonism. it was permissible to think about and discuss questions to which some answers might be heretical without fear of becoming a heretic: it was enough to be ready to be .e. Medieval culture was not entirely religious and otherworldly. a doctrine inconsistent with Catholic faith). the Age of Enlightenment. q. medicine and law with theology a comparatively minor subject. and (4) could not be allowed to practice their religion in public. at least in some measure. 11.) The philosophes denounced the religious intolerance of the Catholic Church as medieval and Gothic. On these points see Thomas Aquinas. the excuse of ignorance could not be available to anyone who had once believed: to abandon the Christian faith after believing it was held to be always wrong and.

that is writers who were well regarded in the schools. Saint Anselm's Monologion. and that it was possible. the prophets. However the decision of the question was not by authority. that some argument offered to support or explain Christian belief was unsound. [Note 7] Thus there was freedom to criticise such arguments as long as it was not inferred from the failure of some argument that the Christian faith was not true. Aristotle's works suggest by example and precept [Note 11] that opposing views should be carefully examined. But no one was obliged to have good reasons for believing or to attain any particular level of understanding. Finally. such as Thomas Aquinas's Summa theologiae). but they knew which arguments were based on Christian revelation and which were based on "natural reason". but some understanding even in this life. some of the students would be given the task of defending some proposition. [Note 8] Proslogion and Cur deus homo. It became customary for authors to make "protestations" of readiness to be corrected. except . The obligation was to believe. often the authorities are put in opposition to one another.corrected. Christianity (like Judaism and Islam) claimed to be based on revelations from God: that is. the "question". to achieve by reflection some understanding of its content . Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Many theologians held that there were good reasons for believing these messengers. In the arguments for and against in the first part of a "question" there are many quotations from "authorities". the conclusions of philosophy were expected to be consistent with the truths of religion.perfect understanding only in the next life. adherents believed that God sent messengers (e. or some part of it. [Note 6] Although it was not permissible for Christians to examine the Christian faith and decide that it was not true. The Arts schools taught philosophy and not religion. Theologians were Arts graduates and their writings in theology were full of philosophy (in fact much of the most interesting philosophy in the middle ages is to be found in theological works. and it was also permissible to criticise and refute such arguments. In the schools one of the main exercises was disputation. the teaching methods in the schools and some of the content of the textbooks encouraged the practice of looking for and trying to answer objections. In preparation for the role of "opponent" senior students would gather a repertory of objections. once the message was believed. after some debate the master would give his answer and reply to the objections that had been brought against it. though it can't be true since it contradicts the faith". including objections to things held by faith. Christian writers sometimes wrote books in which the arguments were deliberately restricted to those that natural reason could supply: for instance.the "gospel" (good news). it was permissible to construct arguments addressed to non-believers to show that Christian belief. was true. Ockham and other 14th century writers sometimes write like this. not to have arguments. The obligation was to believe the message. the stronger the better.g. others the task of objecting to it. Freedom of thought was also helped by the fact that philosophy was recognised as a distinct discipline. But there was no objection to saying: "This is what philosophical reason seems to establish. [Note 10] The distinctness of philosophy as a discipline did not mean that there were two truths. The text books were written by philosophers who had not been Christians. without falling into heresy or unbelief. A Christian could therefore say. [Note 9] and the first three books of Thomas Aquinas's Summa contra gentiles. Jesus) to tell mankind things they could not have discovered by unaided natural reasoning .

so to speak. 10). historians no longer measured earlier cultures against their own and pronounced them defective where they were different. a revival of interest took place. It now seems that there is as much value in the study of medieval philosophy as there is in the study of Greek philosophy. art. It was usually possible to adapt an authority to what the writer regarded as the truth. 1964). 1.." (In 3 Sent.see Thomas Aquinas. This is explained partly by the revival at that time of the Christian churches. chapter 4. ad 1). including the Catholic Church. but during the 18th century knowledge of medieval thought became uncommon because medieval culture was regarded with so much contempt. 18). part 1.) The nineteenth century Until the late 17th century higher education in Europe included study of philosophical writings in the medieval tradition. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They therefore tried to understand medieval thought "from within". A second cause of renewed historical interest in medieval thought was the change of attitudes to history associated with the Saint-Simonian movement in France and Hegelianism in Germany. Church authorities made the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas the basis of instruction in seminaries to prevent too much compromise with modern philosophical thought. d. 15. however. and the whole issue discussed. 8. Toward Understanding St. A lot is now known about a large number of medieval writers and about the currents of opinion and controversies of those times. instead. ad 2). arguments must be used that get at the root of the truth and show how it is true. The twentieth century During this century the revival of interest has continued. Religious reasons for interest in medieval thought have perhaps become less influential. but gains no knowledge or understanding and goes empty away (Quodlibet 4. of which the purpose is to achieve understanding. Catholics began to take pride in their medieval heritage. including scholasticism. And my . Albert. q. . in M. Summa theologiae.on points of faith where the bible and Church councils were decisive authorities (but not Church fathers or other theologians . though there was some distortion due to modern religious preoccupations. Under the influence of these movements. This Catholic revival of interest led to great advances in knowledge of medieval thought. art. . a. in reference to a text from Hilary (one of the Church fathers). But since we have not seen his book of Retractations. . Thomas (Chicago. . Thomas Aquinas's teacher. during what was called the "modernist" crisis. [Note 12] In the 19th century. wrote: "Some say that Hilary retracted these words . 31. He says that in disputations in the schools. art. (The texts above are quoted. if the master "determines" the question merely by authorities the hearer can be certain that the conclusion is correct. Thomas Aquinas says that authority does not prove demonstratively but forms an opinion through belief (Quodlibet 3.D. Chenu. it is therefore necessary to bring force to bear (vim facere) on his words in three places . and without being in too much hurry to pass judgment on detached bits of it. they tried to see each "period" as an organic whole and as a necessary stage in the development of human history.

either about the spirit of medieval philosophy or about the philosophical issues with which the texts are concerned. . without being in any hurry to draw general conclusions.approach in this course will be the same as it would be in a course on Greek philosophy: we will read and analyse a selection of texts with the purpose of understanding and evaluating the arguments.