Search Results for St. Thomas Aquinas
While in a Dominican monastery his family members were unwilling to accept his decision and abducted him, taking him prisoner for two years.
He fled to Germany where he taught in 1248 after studying under Albertus Magnus.
His theological work borrows heavily from Aristotle, recasting his arguments within a Christian framework.
This is particularly evident in his treatment of time and eternity, which for him are different.
Aquinas takes Aristotle’s notion of a “prime mover” and says God is eternal and knows what will be for all time.
This does not mean, as some say, that the future exists in its own right. Rather, for Aquinas the mind of God has perfect knowledge of the future, aspects of which may be imparted to individuals in the present through prophecy.
Although Aquinas wrote extensively on angels and spiritual powers, his work recognized the importance of knowledge gained from sense experience and experimentation.
His Summa Theologia attempted to provide a comprehensive theology and outlined Five Ways to prove the existence of God. Like most theological proofs of God, these will probably seem self-evident to believers but somewhat lacking to skeptics.
To this day much of the contemporary Catholic catechism cites Aquinas to support Catholic teachings. This might be a little ironic if, indeed, legends are true about what Aquinas said after apparently receiving some kind of heavenly vision toward the close of his life:
All my works seem like straw after what I have seen”, St Thomas told Brother Reginald.
Meanwhile, another legend says:
Aquinas heard a voice from a cross that told him he had written well.”
Neither, one or both of these legends could be true. That both might be true is possible because theoretical discourse is often a necessary precursor to more immediate forms of experience in not just spirituality but most human endeavors.†
Despite its medieval limitations, the sheer scope of Aquinas’ work is impressive, like any kind of intricate intellectual system. No wonder the popular writer Umberto Eco likened St. Thomas to a “medieval computer.”
To modern thinkers, however, it seems unwarranted for one person to set out to definitively explain the workings of God.
While Aquinas may have humbly admitted his intellectual grandiosity after having a direct experience of the godhead, it seems that some contemporary theologians continue to adhere to his kind of medieval analytical framework, with all the intellectual (and ethical) strengths and weaknesses that such an approach will likely provide.
Aquinas was canonized in 1323 and was given the formal title, Doctor Angelicus. His feast day is 28 January. » Adam, Alchemy, Archangel, Anselm (St.), Augustine (St.), Evil, Heaven, Origen, Original Sin, Providence, Reason, Reincarnation, Scotus (Duns), Soul, Suicide
† We often learn conceptual basics before actually doing. Not to say that theory and practice are mutually exclusive, but one can look at the problem in terms of a dynamic continuum. For example, one studies rules of the road before taking a driver’s test. But licenced drivers still need to know and revise their driving theory as a result of ongoing experience. And so the same might apply to some forms of spirituality.
On the World Wide Web:
“The existence of God can be proved in five ways”» http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasFiveWays.htm
“Thomas Aquinas” by Niall McAuley http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley/1328768103/, Creative Commons License
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St. Anselm is one of the earliest and most prominent scholastics of the Middle Ages.
He is best known for defining the ontological argument, a theological proof for the existence of God.
Like most theological proofs, the ontological argument seems self-evident to believers but usually fails to convince unbelievers.
In the Proslogion Anselm writes that God is “something than which nothing greater can be conceived.” To be the very greatest thing imaginable, the thing conceived must also exist in reality and not just in the mind. Therefore, so the argument goes, God is the greatest conceivable being which by necessity exists.
This argument was rejected on purely rational grounds by St. Thomas Aquinas who nevertheless believed in God.
Rene Descartes used a similar ‘ontological argument’ to rescue himself from difficulties arising from his famous “I think, therefore I am” claim.
For Descartes, God would not deceive by presenting the mere illusion of an outer world – as opposed to actually creating an outer world which is perceived by the senses – because God is fundamentally good.
St. Anselm’s view of faith and understanding is noteworthy and, one could say, reverses worldly wisdom. Rather than believing in something because it is comprehensible in the first place, Anselm forwards two important phrases:
- fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding)
- credo ut intelligam (I believe so that I can understand).
The second is based on St. Augustine‘s teaching that one should believe in order to understand (crede, ut intelligas). Taken together, these suggest that one must first take a ‘leap of faith’ to better understand spiritual truths.
For many this is an illogical or non-intellectual approach but it may be seen as logical in two ways:
First, when we recognize the limits of worldly reason in understanding ultimate concerns, it arguably makes sense to, at least momentarily, cede logic to faith. Such an approach could possibly reap increased knowledge–and we would never know for certain unless we actually tried it.
Second, when one adopts a faith position, the inherent and indeed greater logic of God’s ways – if actual and true – should become increasingly apparent to our worldly reason as time goes by (see, for example, Isaiah 55:6-9).
If, however, the supposed greater logic of God’s ways does not make itself apparent after adopting a particular faith position, we then – after a reasonable amount of time – would have a logical, perhaps even scientific, reason to reject that faith position.
Put differently, this positions suggests that we try believing first. This either does or does not reap an increased understanding of God’s ways. And one would never know and not be embracing a fully scientific attitude unless one did, in fact, try this approach.
Interestingly, Carl Jung’s father was a Protestant clergyman who stressed that his son Carl should believe and not think. To his father’s dismay Jung replied, “Give me this belief” (C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, revised, ed. Aniela Jaffé, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, New York: Vintage Books, 1961, p. 43).
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Augustine of Hippo, St. (354-430) St. Augustine is one of the most influential figures in Christian history and one of the four Latin Doctors of the Catholic Church. Another theological luminary, St. Thomas Aquinas, often refers to Augustine.
In his Confessions Augustine says that prior to his conversion he was a libertine, flatterer, hedonist and dabbler in just about every philosophy in existence during the early years of Christianity.
Before converting he was a leading scholar and teacher. He had read Plato and Cicero, and became especially fond of Manichaeism.
In 372 he had a son, Adeonatus, out of wedlock.
After years of intervening prayer from his mother, St. Monica, Augustine allegedly “saw the light.”
A passage from the New Testament utterly changed him and he quickly embraced his new-found faith. Adeonatus followed.
Augustine was ordained in 391 and leveled an attack on the non-Christian religions of his day, especially Roman paganism.
In The City of God (413-426) he asks: If the Roman gods are so powerful, why did they allow Rome to fall?
He writes of two cities: one ruled by God and inhabited by the chosen people, the other ruled by the Devil and inhabited by those lost to darkness.
Augustine also refuted the Christian heresies of Donatism and Pelegianism.
His understanding of time is sometimes likened to that of Albert Einstein and Carl Jung‘s but this is a mistake. Augustine’s view of time is rooted within primitive, old-world thinking.
For Augustine God exists above and beyond creation in an eternal present but this does not mean that the past and the future always exist within creation, as some New Age and New Physics thinkers believe.
Rather, time for Augustine is a subjective experience discerned through motion and change.
If the past and future do exist…they are not there as future of past, but as present.” He continues “…it is only possible to see something which exists. So when we speak of foreseeing the future, we do not see things which are not yet in being, that is, things which are future, but it may be that we see their causes or signs, which are already in being.” From this he concludes, “…it is abundantly clear that neither the future nor the past exist, and therefore it is not strictly correct to say that there are three times, past, present, and future. It might be correct to say that there a that there are three times, a present of past things, a present of present things, and a present of future things.
Saint Augustine Of Hippo, Confessions. Trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1961. pp. 267-269.
For Augustine, God knows every event that has happened, is and will happen, not because God is all events and all time but because God creates and exists above and beyond all events and time. God, therefore, has perfect knowledge of past, present and future or, as some writers put it, such knowledge exists “in the mind of God.”†
Thus Augustine’s view of God differs from theorists who tend to associate God with a so-called “world soul” (anima mundi) and from pantheistic philosophers claiming that Creator and Creation are identical or two interconnected phases of one unified process.
For many Christians and other monotheists, God is above and beyond but also immanent within creation–this being a very different conceptualization (with equally different ethical and perhaps experiential implications) that merely saying God is “All That Is.”
On the issue of Free Will vs. Determinism, Augustine essentially says that we are free to make personal choices but God knows in advance how we will choose.
Atheists find this standpoint unsatisfactory, while those who have taken a leap of faith do not. The former tend to want to understand everything with their intellects first. The latter believe that they will be taught by God what they need to know when the time is right.
It seems the two positions (atheism vs. faith-based) represent qualitatively different approaches-that is, different modes of being, experiencing and understanding. Although this claim is complicated by the fact that many say that atheism is founded on belief and furthermore, that the word “faith” has a variety of connotations among believers.
Augustine is also known for articulating the idea of the Just War, a view which some Christians find appalling, regarding it as a Satanic distortion of Jesus’ message, perpetuated by various man-made religious doctrines purporting to be divinely inspired.
†This may seem a trivial distinction to some but it has important implications for discourse on memory, intuition, insight, premonition and precognition and, in particular, the hypothesized mechanisms which would enable these faculties.
Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543) was a Polish scientist and astronomer who specialized in mathematics and optics. He is remembered mostly for advancing the idea that the sun is at he center of the solar system, not the Earth (On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres, 1543).
This was somewhat controversial because Ptolemy‘s theory – that the Earth is the center of the universe – predominated at the time.
Not surprisingly, prominent Churchmen wanted to stamp out his theory. One of such tried to apply the philosophical arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas to do so (name not really worth remembering but if curious, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus#Controversy).
The German poet Goethe had this to say about Copernicus’s lasting influence in the history of ideas:
Of all discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus.
Copernicus wasn’t exactly the first to come up with a heliocentric theory, however. See http://earthpages.wordpress.com/?s=+Aristarchus+of+Samos and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus#Predecessors.
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Duns Scotus (1266-1308) was a Scottish Franciscan theologian, likely born in Duns Berwickshire.
Scotus challenged St. Thomas Aquinas on the relation between faith and reason. Aquinas argued that if one first believed, knowledge of God would follow. That is, reason (a form of conceptual knowledge) followed and supported faith (a set of specific beliefs). Therefore for Aquinas faith and reason were closely related.
Scotus, on the other hand, divorced faith from reason, arguing the two were irreconcilable. His quick mind earned him the title of Doctor Subtilis (the subtle doctor). Along these lines, he advocated the theological idea of something halfway between a mere concept and a reality, an idea of interest to contemporary sociologists (especially non-reductive postmoderns) and philosophers.
Like other realist philosophers of the period (such as Aquinas and Henry of Ghent) Scotus recognised the need for an intermediate distinction that was not merely conceptual, but not fully real or mind-dependent either. Scotus argued for an formal distinction (distinctio formalis a parte rei), which holds between entities which are inseparable and indistinct in reality, but whose definitions are not identical. For example, the personal properties of the Trinity are formally distinct from the Divine essence. Similarly, the distinction between the ‘thisness’ or haecceity of a thing is intermediate between a real and a conceptual distinction. There is also a formal distinction between the divine attributes and the powers of the soul.†
Scotus’ defense of the Papacy was ridiculed by Protestant reformers in the 16th century, contributing to the pun “dunce.”
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The definition of evil is informed by one’s core beliefs, and different kinds of arguments try to explain its existence.
Some materialists and scientists scoff at the idea of evil as if it were an antiquated legacy from a superstitious past.
Violent criminals are usually described in the news in psychiatric terms. Murderers are often reported as having a mental illness instead of being possessed by the devil. However, sometimes callous murderers are called “monsters” so the idea of evil can creep in to our essentially scientific worldview.
Meanwhile, savage tyrants and warlords are often viewed through a historical or, perhaps, political lens.
Evil in Christian theology
A basic theological distinction exists between natural evil and moral evil. Natural evil includes “acts of God” such as floods, earthquakes and avalanches. Moral evil is a conscious human choice to turn away from God’s will and participate in some action harmful to self and possibly others.
Duns Scotus classified “intrinsic evil” as acts that are inherently evil and accordingly prohibited. But intrinsically evil acts are not evil because they are prohibited.
In Christian theology evil is often seen as a necessary component of God’s plan of salvation. Here one accepts as an article of faith that God permits evil for some greater good, beyond the comprehension of mere mortals (see Isaiah 55:8-9).
A Christian school of thought, begun by Irenaeus and popularized by John Hick, argues that evil is permitted, but not caused, by God. Why, one might ask, would an all-powerful God permit evil? According to the Irenian school, the answer lies in the idea of ‘soul making.’ A soul freely choosing to abstain from evil is of greater value than one that automatically avoids evil like a programmed robot. The free soul apparently better glorifies God than would a sinless automaton.
Although evil may ravage, test and torment good souls living on earth, the true goal of our finite, earthly life is to be made worthy of eternal heavenly life. According to this perspective the evils of the world act as a crucible. Souls not succumbing to but resisting evil are purified and strengthened toward the good. Evil, then, is necessary. It acts as a kind of hammer that pounds out the soul’s impurities.
God permits some evils lest the good things should be obstructed.
Another Christian argument, influenced by Plato‘s idea of the Forms, is given by St. Augustine. Augustine sees evil as a privatio boni—the absence of good. According to this view, since God is good, evil must be where God is not present. Therefore God doesn’t create evil. It’s a choice. But the theological debates get complicated here, and some ask whether Augustine’s theodicy holds up for both natural and moral evil.
Different branches of Christianity hold different views about what happens to evil souls in the afterlife. Some Churches damn sinners eternally. Martin Luther, for instance, believed that some souls are predestined for hell. Meanwhile, some contemporary Christians pray for the liberation of souls in hell while others do not.¹ And the Catholic Purgatory is neither heaven nor hell, but a difficult preparation for heaven.
Evil in non-Christian religions
Evil in Islam is similar to that of Christianity. But for Muslims it is evil to suggest that Christ is one with God (John 10:30). And the prohibitions in the Koran differ from those of the New Testament. Notably, killing is permitted in the Koran in some circumstances (see http://www.yoel.info/koranwarpassages.htm and http://www.islamreview.com/articles/jihadholywarversesinthekoran.shtml), whereas the very thought of killing is denounced in the New Testament. Many branches of Christianity do, however, entertain the idea of a Just War.
In Hinduism a different view of evil is presented. Evil is permitted to maintain a proper balance of sacred heat or power (tapas) within the universe. Aspects of Hinduism speak to the reality of hell for evildoers. But evil in Hinduism is mostly viewed in terms of personal ignorance and spiritual development, making hellish punishments temporary instead of eternal.
According to this perspective, the evil soul reincarnates on earth until it is cleansed of the ignorance that influenced it to commit bad deeds. This differs dramatically from the Catholic view that souls in hell are eternally damned and, strangely enough, would never want to leave. Unlike the Christian, the Hindu aspires to transcend apparently relative ideas about good and evil through an experiential knowledge of universal truth.
Accordingly, the goal of Hinduism differs from both Christianity and Islam. For the Hindu, heaven is a halfway house on the road to ultimate realization. The reincarnating soul may enjoy periodic visits to different heavens but, though the round of rebirth, it eventually transcends all heavens and ultimately achieves the greatest good of the Brahman. A similar but in some ways different view of evil is presented in Taoism.
An interesting but often overlooked question is whether Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu heavens and hells are identical in character. The celebrated Romanian scholar Mircea Eliade notes that heavens and hells are described differently among world religions. But do they all feel the same? We can’t really know but my guess is NO.
Most cultures around the world at some point in history have seen evil as a cause of mental or physical illness. This view is prevalent in Shamanism. And some religious writers, such as the Catholic, Michael Brown, say they feel the presence of evil almost anywhere.
And on the inferiority of evil as compared to good, W. H. Auden writes in A Certain World:
Good can imagine Evil; but Evil cannot imagine Good.
¹ See this excellent discussion: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=329730
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Heaven is a place where nothing… nothing ever happens.
If taken literally, this song lyric from the mid-1970s to early 90s pop group Talking Heads represents a view of heaven that was probably influenced by a particular New York City intellectual/arts scene.
Apart from that kind of Zen outlook, we find as many different ideas about the nature of heaven as there are people who’ve speculated on it.
Heaven is difficult to know about, because it seems that, if it truly does exist, one must pass on to experience its fullness.
The Hebrew Old Testament (OT) emphasizes a select few outstanding individuals who will see God “face to face.” And some passages indicate that God resides in a “high” place (Psalm 19:2-5). But the OT also says that the dead seem to, somewhat like the ancient Greek and Mesopotamian departed, meet their ancestors in an underworld (sheol).
The “heavens” (plural) in the OT is an inverted dome above the disc of the earth, separating the waters above and below (Genesis 1:6-9).
In the Christian New Testament the aim of Jesus’ ministry is to invite all of God’s chosen to join him “at the right hand of the Father” to enjoy a new vision of heaven, a heaven where anyone is welcome.
Several NT passages speak directly to “losing one’s life” in this transient world to gain a lasting, true and happy existence in heaven.
As for the constitution of heaven, Christ speaks in parables and metaphors because it’s too glorious to be described literally. Throughout history orthodox and unorthodox Christians have depicted countless types of heaven, some on the basis of mystical vision, others on the basis of speculation and others, perhaps, on the basis of some combination of mystical experience and cultural filters.
Pseudo-Dionysus, or Dionysus the Areopagite, spoke of three levels of heaven, each inhabited by different kinds of spiritual beings. St. Thomas Aquinas notes that Dionysus’ view of heaven is supported by scripture. And the general Christian understanding is also scriptural. The NT says there are “many mansions” in God’s house (John 14:2).
For some saints and (often) ascetic mystics, heaven may be partially experienced as a blessed union with God, united as ‘husband and wife.’ This may involve beholding the “face” and being “illumined” by the glory of God to become like an angel (Matthew 22:30, Mark: 12:25), “neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28).
For many good and honorable worldly persons, heaven is usually seen as a blissful, carefree environment where one reunites with deceased friends and loved ones.
The Islamic Koran speaks of a land of “flowing, crystal streams” that awaits God’s elect. Some criticize Islam for having a simplistic view of heaven, while others say that the Koranic view is allegorical.
Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism all affirm heavens, although not as permanent abodes. By and large, the heavens of Asian religion are taken as stepping stones for the reincarnating soul whose ultimate aim is to achieve the unity of atman-brahman (Hinduism), nirvana (Buddhism) and jin (liberation in Jainism).
Many schools of Buddhism don’t posit any soul whatsoever, only the illusion of a soul.This matters if one it to see heaven as a union of the personal, created self, with the creator. In Buddhism the self just disappears once one realizes it never was. What happens after – experientially speaking – depends on which Buddhist school one believes in.
Contemporary reports about the existence and character of heaven come from those who’ve undergone Near Death Experiences (NDE).
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung had a NDE but he didn’t experience heaven in the traditional Christian sense (Jung’s father was a Lutheran pastor). In his Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963), Jung describes dying as something like “stepping out of a tight-fitting shoe.” He says that after seeing the Earth from space and feeling a deep serenity, Jung was resuscitated and unhappily returned to his body.
Some believe that aliens (ETs) are indistinguishable from angels. But most religious and spiritually-minded people do not uncritically believe that ET’s derive from heaven. The cosmic heavens of astronomical observations, they say, are of a far lower order than the heaven experienced by bona fide saints. Likewise, angels are often said to reside in an entirely different order of reality than the observable universe.
Heaven is also said to lie beyond and above the so-called ‘astral’ realms where New Age enthusiasts tell us that energy beings apparently exist. Some pro-ET figures like Rael believe that angels and aliens are highly similar, if not identical.
The celebrated mythographer, Joseph Campbell, argues in The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1968) that “heaven doesn’t exist” because it would take too long for the Virgin Mary, travelling at the speed of light, to get there. Here Campbell, despite his impressive erudition, entirely misses the point that heaven is a different reality, beyond and above the observable universe and its apparent laws of time and motion.
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The Just War doctrine relates to the notion that, in certain circumstances, war may be ethically justified for reasons of personal, national or religious self-defense. This has nothing to do with a disturbed individual taking on the role of “savior” of humanity through horrific and irrational acts of violence, as we’ve recently seen, for instance, in Norway.
With no direct New Testament scriptural support for the idea of a Just War, Catholic Tradition endorses it. St. Augustine supports the Just War on the basis of numerous holy wars portrayed in the Old Testament. The Middle Ages endorsed it in the Inquisitions. And the most recent Catholic Catechism cites St. Thomas Aquinas, who condones killing as a legitimate form of self defense, be that personal or national (1995: p. 604).
The contemporary understanding of the Just War speaks to the organized killing, when absolutely necessary, of other human beings on the wrong side of the religious or political fence. All peaceful solutions have failed, the enemy poses some kind of grand scale threat and there’s a reasonable expectation of victory. Most theologians, for instance, would agree that Hitler and the Nazi’s simply had to be stopped.
Similarities and Differences in non-Christian Religions
In Islam, the notion of Jihad might point to a uniquely Islamic understanding of a kind of ‘Just War’ doctrine (although it would not be called a Just War because that is a uniquely Christian concept). And in Hinduism, the Baghavad-Gita endorses killing in keeping with one’s moral duty to uphold the apparently sacred dharma. While it may be hard for many to see what these two forms of war have to do with self-defense, an intellectual argument could probably be made within each religion to try to convince others that these kinds of war are about self-defense. One, of course, doesn’t have to agree. And God knows the truth of the matter.
Meanwhile, Buddhist scriptures speak of peace and non-violence, and Buddhism is often hailed as a non-violent path. But Moojan Momen points out that scriptural, philosophical and folkloric justifications for violence exist in the Buddhist tradition (Moojan Momen, The Phenomenon of Religion: A Thematic Approach, Oxford: Oneworld, 1999, p. 410). Bernard Faure also says that Buddhist doctrine has often been adapted to justify war (Bernard Faure, “Buddhism and Violence,” Sangam.org, December 6, 2003). And John Ferguson draws on scripture, legend and history to outline five justifications for war in the Buddhist tradition (War and Peace in the World’s Religions, London: Sheldon Press, 1977, pp. 55-57).
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Medieval is a term that usually but not always describes a period of European history. Historical references are sometimes made, for instance, to Medieval India. So this makes the term a bit difficult to define.
The term is also difficult to define because it may be determined by various criteria. Are the dates for the Medieval period set by achievements in art, economics, technology, standard of living, morality, social issues or critical thinking?
Also called the Middle Ages, the Medieval period is generally seen as running from about 1000 CE to 1500 CE, a time when a relative few kings, notables, literati and Church leaders had a firm, exploitative and sometimes ruthless grip on the masses. As for the people who made up the masses, they for the most part were of dramatically lower economic and educational status.
Some say the Middle Ages differ from the Medieval period, with the former beginning about 600 CE. Others use the terms interchangeably, with the Medieval period also beginning in 600 CE or 1000 CE. And yet some see the Medieval period beginning somewhere between the Council of Nicea (313 CE) and the Sack of Rome (410 CE), and extending to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE.
The term ‘Middle Ages’ was first used in the 16th century by Renaissance writers describing the period from 600 CE to about 1400 CE because they viewed their own civilization as a reinstatement and elaboration of themes prevalent in ancient Greece and Rome.
Recent views of the Medieval period, whatever it may be, question the idea that it was backward. Several innovations were made, although they were not necessarily as dramatic, technologically speaking, as they were within the periods before and after medieval times. Medieval theologians such as Duns Scotus, William of Ockham and St. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, came up with some of the most amazingly subtle thinking, on a variety of topics, known to mankind. Likewise, Christian polyphonic devotional music underwent dramatic innovations during this time.
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Churchmen-scholars in the Middle Ages who engaged in elaborate theological issues and debates.
Although the scholastics never asked “how many angels can stand on the head of a pin,” this question is often used to lampoon the usefulness of their thought.
The influential scholastic St. Thomas Aquinas adapted into a Christian framework arguments from the Greek, pre-Christian Aristotle, whose works were translated from Greek to Latin by Arab scholars.
After a some kind of direct encounter with God near the close of his life, Aquinas apparently said that his voluminous writings were like a “house of straw.” Nevertheless, his arguments, many of which seem to be constructed in ancient and medieval modes of understanding, are often cited to illustrate Catholic teachings.
Arguably the abstract intellectualism and intense quibbling of the scholastics lost sight of Christian teaching, which in essence is quite simple–i.e. love God and one another. And for one person to believe he can definitely speak about God, no matter how cleverly, may also be viewed as a bit arrogant.
» Anselm (St.), William of Ockham, Henry of Ghent
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