Anselm did not carry out metaphysical reasonings to such lengths as did the Schoolmen who succeeded him,—those dialecticians who lived in universities in the thirteenth century. He was a devout man, who meditated on God and on revealed truth with awe and reverence, without any desire of system-making or dialectical victories. This desire more properly marked the Scholastic doctors of the universities in a subsequent age, when, though philosophy had been invoked by Anselm to support theology, they virtually made theology subordinate to philosophy. It was his main effort to establish, on rational grounds, the existence of God, and afterwards the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. And yet with Anselm and Roscelin the Scholastic age began. They were the founders of the Realists and the Nominalists,—those two schools which divided the Church in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and which will probably go on together, under different names, as long as men shall believe and doubt. But this subject, on which I have only entered, must be deferred to the next lecture.
Church’s Life of Saint Anselm; Neander’s Church History; Milman’s History of the Latin Church; Stockl’s History of the Philosophy of the Middle Ages; Ueberweg’s History of Philosophy; Wordsworth’s Ecclesiastical Biography; Trench’s Mediaeval Church history; Digby’s Ages of Faith; Fleury’s Ecclesiastical History; Dupin’s Ecclesiastical History; Biographie Universelle; M. Rousselot’s Histoire de la Philosophie du Moyen Age; Newman’s Mission of the Benedictine Order; Dugdale’s Monasticon; Hallam’s Literature of Europe; Hampden’s article on the Scholastic Philosophy, in Encyclopaedia Metropolitana.
A. D. 1225(7)-1274.
The scholastic philosophy.
We have seen how the cloister life of the Middle Ages developed meditative habits of mind, which were followed by a spirit of inquiry on deep theological questions. We have now to consider a great intellectual movement, stimulated by the effort to bring philosophy to the aid of theology, and thus more effectually to battle with insidious and rising heresies. The most illustrious representative of this movement was Thomas of Aquino, generally called Thomas Aquinas. With him we associate the Scholastic Philosophy, which, though barren in the results at which it aimed, led to a remarkable intellectual activity, and hence, indirectly, to the emancipation of the mind. It furnished teachers who prepared the way for the great lights of the Reformation.