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Rise of Scholastic Philosophy.
11 silence him by apostolic authority.” Such was the report of the Council of Sens to Rome, A.D. 1140.
Perhaps it was not so much the public accusation that Abelard denied the doctrine of the Trinity, as his assertion of the supremacy of reason—which clearly betrayed his intention of breaking the thraldom of authority—that insured his condemnation. It was impossible to restrict the rising discussions within their proper sphere, or to keep them from the perilous ground of ecclesiastical history. Abelard, in his work entitled Sic The book et Non,' sets forth the contradictory opinions of the Fathers, Non.' and exhibits their discord and strifes on great doctrinal points, thereby insinuating how little of unity there was in the Church. It was a work suggesting a great deal more than it actually stated, and was inevitably calculated to draw down upon its author the indignation of those whose interests it touched. Out of the discussions attending these events sprang the Scholastic
philosophy, celebrated doctrines of Nominalism and Realism, though the rise of. terms themselves seem not to have been introduced till the end of the twelfth century. The Realists thought that the Nominal. general types of things had a real existence; the Nominal- Realism. ists, that they were merely a mental abstraction expressed by a word. It was therefore the old Greek dispute revived. Of the Nominalists, Roscelin of Compiègne, a little before A.D. 1100, was the first distinguished advocate; his materializing views, as might be expected, drawing upon him the reproof of the Church. In this contest, Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to harmonize reason in subordination to faith, and again, by his example, demonstrated the necessity of submitting all such questions to the decision of the human intellect. The developement of scholastic philosophy, which dates from The Arabs
in Spain the time of Erigena, was accelerated by two distinct causes : the promote dreadful materialization into which, in Europe, all sacred things cussions. had fallen, and the illustrious example of the Mohammedans, who already, by their physical inquiries, had commenced a career destined to end in brilliant results. The Spanish universities were filled with ecclesiastics from many parts of Europe. Peter the Venerable, the friend and protector of Abe
lard, who had spent much time in Cordova, and not only spoke Arabic fluently, but actually translated the Koran into Latin, mentions that, on his first arrival in Spain, he found many learned men, even from England, studying astronomy. The reconciliation of many of the dogmas of authority with common sense was impossible for men of understanding. Could the clear intellect of such a statesman as Hildebrand be for a moment disgraced by accepting the received view of a doctrine like that of transubstantiation ?. His great difficulty was to reconcile what had been rendered orthodox by the authority of the Church with the suggestions of reason, or even with that reverence for holy things which is in the heart of every intelligent man. In such sentiments we find an explanation of the lenient dealings of that stern ecclesiastic with the heretic Berengar. He saw that it was utterly impossible to offer any defence of many of the materialized dogmas of the age, but then those dogmas had been put forth as absolute truth by the
Church. Things had come to the point at which reason and Theology. theology must diverge; yet the Italian statesmen did not ac
cept this issue without an additional attempt, and under their permission, Scholastic Theology, which originated in the scholastic philosophy of Erigena and his followers, sought, in the strange union of the Holy Scriptures, the Aristotelian Philosophy, and Pantheism, to construct a scientific basis for Christianity. Heresy was to be combated with the weapons of the heretics, and a co-ordination of authority and reason effected. Under such auspices scholastic philosophy pervaded the schools, giving to some of them, as the University of Paris, a fictitious reputation, and leading to the foundation of others in other cities. It answered the object of its politic promoters in a double way, for it raised around the orthodox theology an immense and impenetrable bulwark of what seemed to be profound learning, and also diverted the awakening mind of Western Europe to occupations which, if profitless, were yet exciting, and without danger to the existing state of things. In that manner was put off for awhile the inevitable day in which philosophy and theology were to be brought in mortal conflict with each other. It was doubtless seen by Hildebrand
tages in the
and its Importance to the Church.
13 and his followers that, though Berengar had set the example Its advanof protesting against the principle that the decision of a ma-existing jority of voters in a council or other collective body should ever state of the be received as ascertaining absolute truth, yet so great was the uncertainty of the principles on which the scholastic philosophy was founded, so undetermined its mental exercise, so ineffectual the results to which it could attain, that it was unlikely for a long time to disturb the unity of doctrine in the Church. While men were reasoning round and round again in the same vicious circle without finding any escape, and indeed without seeking any, delighted with the dexterity of their movements, but never considering whether they were making any real advance, it was unnecessary to anticipate inconveni. ence from their
progress. He stood the difficulty. The decisions of the Church were The philo. asserted to be infallible and irrevocable; her philosophy,—if lemma of
sophical disuch it can be called, -as must be the case with any philosophy reposing upon a final revelation from God, was stationary. But the awakening mind of the West was displaying, in an unmistakable way, its propensity to advance. As one who rides an unruly horse will sometimes divert him from a career which could not be checked by main force, by reining him round and round, and thereby exhausting his spirit and strength; and keeping him in a narrow space, so the wanton efforts of the mind
may be guided, if they cannot be checked. These principles of policy answered their object for a time, until metaphysical were changed for physical discussions. Then it became impossible to divert the onward movement, and on the first question arising,-that of the figure and place of the earth, a question dangerous to the last degree, since it inferentially included the determination of the position of man in the universe, theology suffered an irretrievable defeat. Between her and philosophy there was thenceforth no other issue than a mortal duel.
Though Erigena is the true founder of Scholasticism, Ros- Course of celin, already mentioned as renewing the question of Plato- cism. nic Universals, has been considered by some to be entitled to that distinction. After him, William of Champeaux opened
Concentration of Papal Power. a school of logic in Paris, A.D. 1109, and from that time the University made it a prominent study. On the rise of the mendicant orders, Scholasticism received a great impulse, perhaps, as has been affirmed, because its disputations suited their illiterate state ; Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican, and Duns Scotus, the Franciscan, founding rival schools, which wrangled for three centuries. In Italy, Scholasticism never prevailed as it did in France and elsewhere, and at last it died away, its uselessness, save in the political result before mentioned, hav
ing been detected. Reaction in
The middle of the eleventh century ushers in an epoch for the Papacy against the Papacy and for Europe. It is marked by an attempt at a these pres- moral reformation of the Church,-by a struggle for securing
the independence of the Papacy both of the Emperors of Germany and of the neighbouring Italian nobles—thus far the Pope being the mere officer of the emperor, and often the creature of the surrounding nobility,-by the conversion of the temporalities of the Church, heretofore indirect, into absolute possessions, by securing territories given “to the Church, the
blessed Peter, and the Roman republic” to the first of those Preparation
beneficiaries, excluding the last. As events proceeded, these for a concentration, minor affairs converged, and out of their union arose the great of the Papal power. conflict of the Imperial and Papal powers for supremacy. The
same policy which had succeeded in depriving the Roman people of any voice in appointments of Popes,—which had secu. larized the Church in Italy,—for awhile seized all the material resources of Europe through the device of the Crusades, and nearly established a Papal autocracy in all Europe. These political events demand from us a notice, since from them arose intellectual consequences of the utmost importance.
The second Lateran Council, under Nicholas II., accomplished the result of vesting the elective power to the Papacy in the Cardinals. That was a great revolution. It was this
council which gave to Berengar his choice between death and Three par- recantation. There were at this period three powers engaged in Italy. Italy,—the Imperial, the Church party, and the Italian nobles.
It was for the sake of holding the last in check,--for, since it was the nearest, it required the most unremitting attention,
that Hildebrand had advised the Popes who were his immediate predecessors to use the Normans, who were settled in the south of the peninsula, by whom the lands of the nobles were devastated. Thus the difficulties of their position led the Popes to a repetition of their ancient policy; and as they had, in old times, sought the protection of the Frankish kings, so now they sought that of the Normans. But in the midst of the dissensions and tumults of the times, a great man was emerging,—Hildebrand, who, with almost superhuman self-denial, again and again abstained from making himself Pope. On the Hildebrand death of Alexander II. his opportunity came, and, with accept- Pope. able force, he was raised to that dignity, A.D. 1073.
Scarcely was Hildebrand Pope Gregory VII. when he vigo. Hildebrand rously proceeded to carry into effect the policy he had been pre- a reform. paring during the pontificates of his predecessors. In many respects, the times were propitious. The blameless lives of the German Popes had cast a veil of oblivion over the abominations of their Italian predecessors. Hildebrand addressed himself to tear out every vestige of simony and concubinage with a remorseless hand. The task must be finished before he could hope to accomplish his grand project of an ecclesiastical autocracy in Europe, with the Pope at its head, and the clergy, both in their persons and property, independent of the civil power; and it was plain that, apart from all moral considerations, the supremacy of Rome in such a system altogether turned on the celibacy of the clergy. If marriage was permitted to the ec- Necessity of clesiastic, what was to prevent him from handing down, as an the clergy. hereditary possession, the wealth and dignities he had obtained ? In such a state of things, the central government at Rome necessarily stood at every disadvantage against the local interests of an individual, and still more so if many individuals should combine together to promote, in common, similar interests. But very different would it be if the promotion must be looked for from Rome,-very different as regards the hold upon public sentiment, if such a descent from father to son was absolutely prevented, and a career fairly opened to all irrespective of their station in life. To the Church it was to the last degree important that a man should derive his advancement from her,