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3. The Revival of Science.4040See the histories of philosophy by Ueberweg, Erdmann and Stöckl; Prantl, Gesch. der Logik Bd. II.-IV.; Bach, l.c., I. and II.; Reuter, Gesch. der Aufkl. I. and II.: Löwe, Der Kampf zwischen dem Nominalismus und Realismus, 1876; Nitzsch, Art. Scholastische Theologie in der R.-E., XIII.2, p. 650 ff., where in p. 674 ff., the literature is noted. Dilthey, Einl. in die Geisteswissensch. I. Denifle, 1.c.; Kaufmann, l.c., p. 1 ff.; Denifle in the Archiv f. Litt.-u. Kirchengesch. des Mittelalters, I. and II.; v. Eicken, l.c., p. 589 ff.

Theologians and philosophers have vied with one another in endeavouring to find a specific definition of Scholasticism, and to differentiate what this term is meant to denote, from the theology and philosophy of the old (Greek) Church on the one hand, and from modern science on the other. These efforts have led to no accepted result; nor could they lead to any such, for Scholasticism is simply nothing but scientific thought. That this thought was governed by prejudices,4141The fundamental prejudice, which, however, Scholasticism shared with the theology of antiquity, and unfortunately also of modern times, was that theology is cognition of the world, or that it has to verify and complete cognition of the world. If it is said to-day that it has to supplement it, seeing that it steps in where knowledge fails, modesty has extorted the expression, but the same thing is still meant. and that from these it in some respects did not free itself at all, and in some respects freed itself only slowly, is shared by the science of the Middle Ages with the science of every age. Neither dependence on authorities, nor the preponderance of the deductive method, was specially characteristic of Scholasticism; for science in fetters has existed in every period — our descendants will find that present-day science is in many respects not controlled merely by pure experience — and the dialectico-deductive method is the means that must be used by all science that has the courage to emphasise strongly the conviction of the unity of all that is. But it is not even correct to say that within mediæval science that method prevailed alone, or chiefly. The realism that was represented by Albert and Thomas, acting upon impulses received 24from Augustine, made excellent use of experience, and Scotism and Nominalism in particular are partly based on the empiric method, though as compared with the deductive, Duns may have found fault with this method as confused. What is of importance here is only this, that the observation of the external world was extremely imperfect, that, in a word, natural science, and the science of history did not exist, the reason being that men knew how to observe spirit, but not how to observe things of sense.4242Yet even this does not apply to the whole of Scholasticism. Especially in its later period, it pointed also to the book of nature. But least of all must Scholasticism be reproached with treating “artificial,” “fabricated” problems. On its premises they were not artificial, and if they were boldly wrought out, it was only a proof of scientific energy.

The Scholasticism of the Middle Ages, then, was simply science, and it is merely perpetuating an unwarranted mistrust when it is thought that this part of the general history of science may be designated by a special name.4343Kaufmann remarks correctly, p. 5: “There still attaches to the term Scholasticism something of the hatred and contempt which the Humanists poured upon it.” This hostile spirit is, no doubt, intelligible, inasmuch as Scholasticism still threatens our present-day science. Yet in more recent years a complete change of judgment has appeared, which comes to the help of the Pope in his renewed recommendations of St. Thomas. Indeed, in the effort to be just, the once disparaged Scholasticism is beginning to be extravagantly belauded, as is shown by the pronouncement of a very celebrated jurist. With this praise the circumstance may also have some connection, that the Schoolmen are now being read again, and readers find to their surprise that they are not so irrational as had been believed. The strongest contribution to the glorification of Thomas has been furnished by Otto Willmann in the second volume of his “Gesch. des Idealismus” (1896). Here Idealism and Thomism (of the strictest type) are simply placed on a level. Nominalism is the corrupt tree, which can hear no good fruit, and is to be regarded, moreover, merely as an episode, as a nubicula; for since its rising, the sun of the Thomist Realism has been always in the heavens, and has given warmth to every century. The real enemy of Thomas and of Idealism is Kantianism, which has slowly prepared itself, that, on its assuming its perfect form, it may forthwith be assailed and overthrown by the true Idealism. Protestantism is viewed as the continuation of monistic Mysticism (!), because it (v. the strict determinism) does not take account of the causes secundh. So Thomism alone, sans phrase, is the saviour of the holy things of humanity! Augustinianism at the same time still finds recognition here, but yet it is still no completed system; it only represents the way to the right one. As if science in general had not its stages, as if the mediæval stage was distinguished from the rest by its unparalleled and culpable obscurity! On 25 the contrary, it may rather be said that Scholasticism furnishes a unique and luminous example of the fact that thought finds its way even under the most adverse conditions, and that even the gravest prejudices that weigh it down are not heavy enough to quench its life. The science of the Middle Ages gives practical proof of eagerness in thinking, and exhibits an energy in subjecting all that is real and valuable to thought, to which we can find, perhaps, no parallel in any other age.4444We may say, indeed, with the poet about that age: “Everything now aims at fathoming man from within and from without; truth, where hast thou an escape from the wild chase?”

Hence it is useless to direct one’s ingenuity to answering the question as to what kind of science presents itself in Scholasticism; we have simply rather to inquire into the conditions under which scientific thought was placed at that time. Not equally useless, but vaguely treated, is the academic question, much discussed and marked by confusion and wearisomeness, with regard to the relation of Scholasticism to Mysticism.4545On Mysticism, see the works which Karl Müller has cited in his krit. Uebersicht (Zeitschr. f. K.-Gesch. VII., p. 102 ff.). Above all the numerous works of Denifle and Preger (Gesch. der deutschen Mystik I., II.) have to be consulted; as also Greith, Die deutsche Mystik im Predigerorden, 1861. For the earlier Mysticism, cf. the monographs on Anselm, Bernard, and the Victorinians. If by Scholasticism there is understood (though this is arbitrary) “the hand-maid of hierarchism,” or, with sudden change of front, the “construction of systems without concern for the needs of the inner life,” or the “rationalistic craving for proof,” and if Mysticism is then placed alongside as the free pectoral theology, then the most beautiful contrasts can be drawn — Hagar and Sarah, Martha and Mary. But with little trouble Scholasticism and Mysticism can, on the other hand, be resolved into each other, and a daring dialectic performance can be carried on with these terms, which does honour to the acuteness of the author, but which has only the disadvantage that one is as wise after, as before, the definitions have been given. The thing to be dealt with here is simple. Scholasticism is science, applied to religion, and — at least, till the time when it underwent self-disintegration — science setting out from the axiom, that all things are to be understood from theology, that all things therefore must be 26traced back to theology. This axiom regularly presupposes that the thinker feels himself to be in entire dependence on God, that he seeks to know this dependence ever more deeply, and that he uses every means for the strengthening of his own religious life; for only in the measure in which he finds, and knows himself to be, under and in God, is he made capable of understanding all else, since, of course, to understand things means nothing else than to know their relation to the One and All, or to the Author (i.e., in both cases, to God). From this it follows at once that personal piety is the presupposition of science. But in so far as personal piety at that time was always thought of as contemplation of the relation of the ego to God accompanied by asceticism,4646Piety is, above all, not the hidden temper of feeling and will, from which spring love to one’s neighbour, humility and patience, but it is growing cognition, begotten of steadfast reflection on the relation of the soul to God. Mysticism is the presupposition of Scholasticism; in other words, mediæval science bases itself on piety, and on piety, too, which is itself contemplation, which lives therefore in an intellectual element. From this it follows, that this piety itself prompts to thought; for the strong impulse to become acquainted with the relation of one’s own ego to God necessarily leads to the determination of the relation of the creation, of which one knows himself to be a part, to God. Now, where this knowledge is so pursued that insight into the relation of the world to God is sought for solely or chiefly with the view of understanding the position of one’s own soul to God, and of inwardly growing through such understanding, we speak of Mystic theology.4747How largely dependent on Scholasticism the later Mystic theology in particular was; or, more correctly, how identical the two were, has been shown especially by the works of Denifle (against Preger in the histor. polit. Blattern, 1875, p. 679 ff., and on Master Eckhart in the Archiv f. Litt.-u. K.-Gesch. des Mittelalters II. Bd.). But where this reflex aim of the process of knowledge does not present itself so distinctly, where, rather, the knowledge of the world in its relation to God acquires a more independent objective interest,4848It is only a question of difference of degree; very correctly Karl Müller says (Zeitschr. f. K.-Gesch. VII., p. 118): “The character of mediæval piety always expresses itself, more or less, even in the theoretic discussions of Scholasticism, because among the representatives of the latter the entire half of the way of salvation is dominated throughout by the interests and points of view of Mysticism, this circumstance having a connection with their monastic training and education. As soon as these men come to deal in their theoretical discussions with the appropriation of salvation, they bring along with them the presuppositions of their practical Mysticism.” the term Scholastic theology 27is employed. From this it appears that we have not before us two magnitudes that run parallel, or that, forsooth, collide with each other, but that Mystic theology and Scholastic theology are one and the same phenomenon, which only present themselves in manifold gradations, according as the subjective or objective interest prevails.4949Even in Nitzsch’s determination of the relationship (l.c., pp. 651 ff., 655) I cannot find a clearing up, while in Thomasius-Seeberg the distinct vision of the matter is completely obscured by a mass of details. Nitzsch first accentuates strongly the formalistic character of Scholasticism, then, with a view to understanding Mystic theology, points to its origin, the Pseudo-Dionysian doctrine, and now concludes: “It is obvious that this theology of the soul, of feeling, and of direct intuition is fundamentally distinct from the Scholastico-dialectic theology.” But the assertion that the Scholastic theology is formalistic is scarcely cum grano salis correct, as will appear more clearly below. How can one call a mode of thought formalistic which takes the greatest interest in relating everything to a living unity? And if the means employed cannot secure the proposed end (as we think), have we therefore a right to reproach these scholars with a merely formalistic interest in things? But, further, the Pseudo-Dionysian theology is as much the presupposition of Scholasticism as of Mysticism, and that which Nitzsch calls “theology of the soul, of feeling, and of direct intuition” plays in both the same part, as alpha and omega, while the Mystic theology certainly keeps manifestly to its point of departure throughout the whole alphabet, the Scholastic, on the other hand, apparently forsakes it, but in the end (doctrine of the way of salvation) always returns to it, thereby showing that it has never really lost sight of it. The former interest was so little lacking even to the most distinguished Schoolmen that their whole theology can be unhesitatingly described as also Mystic theology — for Thomas, Mysticism is the starting-point and practical application of Scholasticism — and, on the other hand, there are theologians who are described as Mystics, but who, in the strength of their desire to know the world, and to understand in a systematic way the Church doctrine, are not a whit behind the so-called Schoolmen. But in saying this the further position is already stated, that a specific difference between the scientific means had likewise no existence. Here also it is simply a question of shade (nuance). The view of the God in whom, and from whom, all things must be understood, was given by the Church tradition. But in this view also subjective piety was 28trained. The formal shaping elements were likewise everywhere the same. Inasmuch as the scientific means were derived entirely from the same three sources, the authoritative dogma, inner experience, and the traditional philosophy, any differences that would be more than varieties cannot be made out (a greater or less passing into the background of logical formalism, a preference for inner observation over authoritative tradition5050Scholasticism shares with Mysticism the “finis,” and Mysticism uses essentially the same means as Scholasticism.).

Yet it is said that great inner antagonisms entered into mediæval science. Anselm and his opponents are pointed to, Bernard and Abelard, the German theologians of the fourteenth century and the Churchmen who pronounced them heretics, and from the contrasted positions in these cases the formula is framed, that here Mysticism is in conflict with Scholasticism. Differences certainly there are here; but that stock controversial term throws a very uncertain light on them. Above all, the phenomena here gathered together can by no means be united in one group. But before we deal with them, it will be well to answer the main question stated above, under what conditions the scientific thought of the Middle Ages was placed, or, let us say, how it developed itself, and what were the concrete factors which determined it (in the way of advancing or retarding), and thereby gave it its peculiar stamp. From this inquiry the proper light will naturally be thrown upon these “antagonisms” which are erroneously represented when they are described as a struggle of two opposing principles.

The Middle Ages received from the ancient Church not only the substantially completed dogma, but also — as a living force — the philosophy, or say, the theology which had been employed in the shaping of dogma, and together with this also a treasury of classical literature, which had little or no connection with the philosophy and the dogma, but which answered to an element in the antique view of life in Italy and Byzantium that had never quite disappeared. These three things constituted the legacy of the old world to the new. But they already contained in them all the contrasts that came to view in the inner life of the Middle Ages, when consciousness of that inheritance had been awakened. 29These “antagonisms” were as actively at work in the Greek Church from the days of Origen and Jerome as they afterwards were in the Mediæval Church. In this sense all scientific developments of the West in the Middle Ages were simply a continuation of what the Greek Church had already partly passed through, and was partly still continuing to pass through in feeble movements. The difference consisted only in this, that in the West everything gradually developed itself to a higher degree of energy; that the Church, as the visible commonwealth of God on earth, impressed its stamp on all secular life, taking even science into closer connection with itself, giving it a higher flight, and at the same time requiring it by its authority to adopt juristic thought; and finally in this, that from Greek science Augustinianism was absent.

We have remarked above that along with the substantially completed dogma the Middle Ages received from antiquity the related philosophy or theology. But this very circumstance introduced strain: for while this theology was certainly “related,” yet as certainly also did it contain, as a living force, elements that were hostile to dogma, whether we think of Neoplatonism or Aristotelianism. It is well known that in the Greek Church, from the fifth and sixth centuries, both schools worked upon dogma, and that “heresies” to the right and left were the result (pantheism and tritheism, spiritualistic Mysticism and rationalistic Criticism), and that then, from the Justinian age, the Scholasticism evolved itself which found the via media between the Areopagite and John Philoponus.5151v. Vol. IV. p. 232 f. of this work.

In the theological science of John of Damascus there presents itself the reconciliation of dogma with Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism.5252Vol. IV. p. 264 f.; see also p. 331 ff. Here the former plays the principal part in the principles, the latter in the working out; for with the help of dialectic distinction one can remove all difficulties and contradictions that emerge. But the independent force of the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian philosophies was not broken by the harmonising. The books in which they were contained continued to be read, and thus in Byzantium the strain did not cease. Mystic 30theology was further cultivated, Aristotle was studied, and although the acts of aggression always grew feebler, both of them threatened the Church with its dogma, the Church that was meanwhile growing more powerless in the embraces of the State. There were the further circumstances that memories of the theologically unconcerned age of antiquity had never died out, that a certain worldly culture, indifferent to religion, and often indeed degenerating into barbarism, still survived, which was strong enough to hinder the Eastern Church from ever making even an approach to the carrying out of its ideals and aims in secular life and secular culture. From the days of the Alexandrian Theophilus monks and pious laymen might lament over the godlessness of the ancient literature and wish it in hell, but no one was able either to banish it, or to purify it, and bring it entirely into the service of ecclesiastical science.

If we pass now to the Carlovingian period, i.e., to the first epoch of scientific advance in the West, we find exactly the same elements side by side, only with one important addition (Augustinianism). There is an eager endeavour to become acquainted with the traditional dogma and to think it out, and, as the Adoptian controversy shows, there is at the same time a surrender to entire dependence on the Greeks. In the writings of Boethius and Isidore there is possessed a source, rich enough for that period, from which the dialectic science of method may be learned. As the work of John Scotus shows, the Neoplatonic Mysticism had already become known to the West from the writings of Dionysius and Maximus; besides this, however, it was represented in a theistic setting, and with incomparable attractiveness, by Augustine. Finally, the ancient literature (poets and historians) was sought out, and through contact with Italy there arose the seductive pictures of a blithesome life that had never altogether vanished.

But the forces which the West had at its command at that time were still too weak to admit of working independently with the capital that had been inherited. To become familiar with Augustine and Gregory I., to understand the christological speculations of the Greeks, and to master the simplest rules of logic and method — that was the real task of the period. What was 31attempted beyond this, Scotus excepted, was a feeble renaissance: indeed the union of the antique with the theological at the court of Charles the Great has something childish. This union therefore was soon dissolved again. Not for the first time under Louis the Pious, but as early as the last years of Charles I. himself, the ascetic thought of the ancient Church asserted its influence even in science. And so it continued to be afterwards; we can observe indeed, on till the thirteenth century, a steady increase of aversion to the antique, while, no doubt, some bold spirits sought more than before to learn from it. In theory secular studies were discarded. Ancient literature was regarded as a source of temptations. All science which did not place itself under theology, i.e., which did not refer everything to the knowledge of God, was held to be pernicious, nay, to be a seduction of the devil. But as what is characteristic, in all fields, of the mediæval view of the world consists in this, that it aims at uniting the ununitable, and requires that negation of the world shall be attained in the form of dominion over it, so we observe here also that what is rejected is again adopted. Ancient literature and philosophy were certainly employed as a formal means of culture, and with a view also to the refutation of pagans, Jews, and heretics, and to a fathoming of the divine mysteries. It was to some extent the same persons who rejected them in the end, who on their slow, toilsome journey to the summit made use of them. And where they were different persons, yet there was at bottom between the two an elective affinity; for all thinkers who came to be influential, though some of them may appear to us “illuminists” (Aufklärer) and others traditionalists, were dominated by the same fundamental thought of tracing back all things to God and understanding them from Him. And when in the end the Church released Aristotle and allowed full use to be made of him, that was not done by way of yielding to outward constraint, but because the Church theology was now strong enough to master this master, and because he could furnish it with the most effectual help against the dangers of a bold idealism which threatened dogma. Though the schools, the universities, might not be ecclesiastical institutions in the strict sense of the term, science 32was ecclesiastical, theological. There was no lay science. The thought of such science was for that age equivalent to paganism and nihilism.

From the Carlovingian period a chain of scientific tradition and schools of learning extends into the eleventh century;5353Berengar was a disciple of Fulbert of Chartres (ob. 1028); the latter had studied under Gerhert. but a continuous increase of scientific activity cannot be ascertained, and even the greatest masters (Gerbert of Rheims) did not produce effects that were epoch-making. Not till the middle of the century was the advancement begun that was followed by no further declension, and the thread formed that was not again to break. The inner rise of the Church was unquestionably the determining cause of this upward movement of science, although we are surprised at meeting quite at the beginning with a trained skill in dialectic for which we had not been prepared, and which must have gone on developing in the dark ages (saculum obscurum) in spite of their darkness. But how could the inner revival of the Church have continued without results for science? The Church conceived itself at that time as spiritual power, as the power of the supersensuous life over the sensuous; the subject of science was the supersensuous; science, therefore, was challenged by this revival! But even the science which revels in the transcendental, and which readily attaches itself to revelations, cannot deny its character as science. Even where it is, and wishes to be, the handmaid of revelation, it will always embrace an element by which it offends the faith which desires rest; it will exhibit a freshness and joy which to devoutness appears as insolence; nay, even when it knows itself to be one with the Church in its starting-point and aims, it will never be able to deny a negative tendency, for it will always be justified in finding that the principles of the Church suffer deterioration in the concrete expressions of life, and are disfigured by superstition.

In the dazzling light in which Reuter, the marvellous master of that literature, has presented the conflicts between young mediæval science and the men of the Church (Berengar and Lanfranc, Anselm and his opponents, Abelard and Bernard), 33the persons engaged appear like spectral caricatures. Because this scholar tries to find “negative illuminism” everywhere in the movements, things are deprived of their proportion, and the common ground on which the combatants stand almost entirely disappears. With wonder and astonishment we see one Herostratus after another cross the stage, surrounded by troops of like-minded disciples; the “primacy of infallible reason” is set up by them, after they have destroyed authority; the antitheses become as abrupt as cliffs, and frightful chasms open up. But the biographer of these heroes, so far as he does not charge them with hypocrisy, must himself regularly acknowledge in some stray turn of thought, that they stood in closest connection with their age and with their opponents, that their enormously magnified performances were of a much more modest kind, and that the great illuminists were obedient sons of the Church. In opposition to this representation we follow out the hints given above, in order to elucidate and understand these struggles.

In the higher rise of science three things were involved: the penetrating more deeply into the Neoplatonic-Augustinian principles of all theology, the dialectic art of analysis, and, united with both, a certain knowledge of the ancient classics and of the Church Fathers. As regards those principles, it was the spirit of the so-called Platonic Realism that prevailed. By means of it, as it had been derived from Augustine and from dogma itself, and from a hundred little sources also, dogma — but the world, too, as well — came to be understood, and all things came to be known from and in God. Till the beginning of the twelfth century this Platonic Realism, with its spiritualistic sublimating tendency and its allegorical method, reigned pretty much unbroken. It reigned all the more securely, the less a conception of it had as yet been consciously formed (as a theory of knowledge).5454Till far on in the twelfth century the scholars were not first philosophers and then theologians; they possessed as yet no philosophic system at all; their philosophy rather was quite essentially dialectic art; see Deutsch, Abælard, p. 96: “The relation of philosophy to theology in the initial period of Scholasticism was essentially different from what it was at its maturity. In the earlier period a proper philosophic system, a view of the world developed on different sides, had as yet no existence. Only logic was known with some completeness . . .but, as a distinct discipline, metaphysic did not yet exist for the philosophers of that period. What they had of it consisted in single propositions, partly Platonic, partly Aristotelian. . . . Only when the Aristotelian writings became known in the second half of the twelfth century did the West learn to know a real philosophic system.” It 34was peculiar to it that it set out from faith, and then made itself master of dogma in the way in which dogma had formerly arisen (“credo ut intelligam” — this position of Augustine was not merely reasserted by Anselm, but was willingly assented to by all Church thinkers of the period). But it was, further, peculiar to it that it took a flight beyond dogma. This had occurred in Greek Mysticism as well as with Augustine, and it repeated itself, without the danger being observed, from the eleventh century (and just, too, among the “most pious” philosophers). Here lay the first antagonism. As one got to understand dogma by the help of the same means by which it had arisen, that idea of the immanence of God, of all things existing in God, asserted itself, before which the historical, and dogma itself, threatened to vanish, i.e., were viewed as the final stage needing sublimation. So Origen thought, so also had Augustine felt, and had expressed it at the outskirts of his speculation,5555See Vol. V., p. 125 ff. so was it taught by the Greek Mystics.5656Hence even in the question about the universals, which was already dealt with at that time on the basis of passages from Porphyry and Boethius, the treatment was almost entirely realistic: general notions exist in and of themselves, or they exist in things as their real essence (though very different turns of thought were possible here in matters of detail; see Prantl, Gesch. der Logik, II., p. 118 ff.). Certainly there were already to be found also in this period representatives of Nominalism, according to which general notions are intellectus, or, say, only voces; indeed, it probably always existed side by side with Realism; but theology still treated it with indifference. When the Nominalist Roscellin, the teacher of Ahelard, applied the Nominalist view to the doctrine of the Trinity, he was resisted by Anselm (v. Deutsch, p. 100 f.). The latter had no doubt that those who held the universales substantiæ to be mere votes, must err from the Christian faith, and were heretics. But how did it stand with those who logically applied the substantiality of general notions? From this point, as by a circuit, a complete rehabilitation of reason could take place. After getting its dismissal at the beginning — revelation decides and authority — reason was now the means for removing out of the way whatever hindered the thought of the absoluteness, the immutability and immanence of God. It neutralised miracle, in order to give expression to the strict uniformity of the operation 35of the All-One; it neutralised even the history of salvation, and history in general, or transformed it into the circulating course

of the operative Being that is, was, and shall be; it neutralised, finally, the creature. The “illuminist” of the eleventh and twelfth centuries would still have to be found who did not play his “illuminist” part under the influence of this mysticism, who did not likewise take the “credo ut intelligam” as his starting-point. Though, like Berengar, he might compare the literally understood Jewish law with the laws of the Romans, Athenians, and Spartans in order to give the palm to the latter, though like Abelard, he might unite into one the history of salvation and general history in the “philosophy of religion on a historic basis” — this was still done on the understanding that there was to be absolute validity obtained for all that the Church offered of material content, by means of sublimating (allegory); it was done in the name of the conception of God and of the theology which prevailed also among the opponents, so far as they thought at all, and these latter started back before conclusions which Justin, Origen, and the great group of Greek and Latin Fathers had long before drawn.5757The inquiry would be interesting and important that would lead us to determine whether, and through what channels, the older Pre-Jeromic Church literature influenced Scholasticism; e.g., are the agreements of Abelard with Justin and Origen accidental, or only indirect, or direct? That the Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache continued to have influence admits of proof. Contradictions within tradition, between the older and the later, and again between tradition (the sacred canons) and Scripture had already been discovered in the Gregorian period, and up to a certain point had been admitted (see Mirbt, Augustine, p. 3 f.); but Abelard was the first to emphasise the importance of these contradictions, while on the other hand, certainly, he began to have an inkling of what his contemporaries were far from thinking of, namely, that errors promote the progress of truth. So it was not that principle stood opposed to principle, but the amount of application was disputed5858It surely does not require to be specially noted, that no teacher of importance in this period drew all the conclusions of Platonic Realism (as little as Augustine did). They lay only on the horizon of their view, and were touched on in passages here and there. Till Abelard taught him better, William of Champeaux, it is true, seems to have asserted the full immanence of the generic notion, conceived of substantially, in every individual, a view which must necessarily have led to the doctrine of the one latent substance, and of the negating of all that is individual as mere semblance or mere contingency. This doctrine certainly lay on the outskirts of the view then taken of the world, and made its appearance in Mysticism as the expression of pious contemplation, afterwards even as a theoretic conviction. On Abelard’s having the credit of discarding it see below. — unless we should have to regard as the real principle 36of mediæval ecclesiastical theology, lack of thought, or blind surrender. But that was not what the Church Fathers taught, nor was it what the Church itself wished when it again conceived of itself as spiritual power in the eleventh century. How slight really is the distinction between Berengar and Anselm as theologians! It often entirely disappears; for how far were those represented as wild destroyers from drawing the conclusions in their totality, and from repeating, say, the thoughts of Erigena! They were not innovators, but restorers; not a trace is to be found in them of negative illuminism.

In the Greek Church Aristotelianism had made its appearance when dogma and speculation could no longer be reconciled, and it rendered the Church invaluable service as the Horos which kept the Sophia of the Mystics from plunging into the abyss of the primeval Father. But along with these services it had at the same time brought at first unpleasant gifts in addition. While it checked unrestrained idealism, and at the same time set to work to make paradoxical and burdensome formulæ tolerable by means of distinctions, it also subjected to revision formulæ that collapsed as soon as their basis of Platonic Realism was taken from them. This Aristotelianism, which was so necessary, but of which there had been such bad experiences, as it appeared in John Philoponus and other Greeks, not to speak of the old Antiochian School, was known also to those in the West, through Boethius, and from other sources (in a poor enough form, no doubt, more directly as logical method), and long before had concluded (in the case of Boethius himself, e.g.), an irregular marriage with the Neoplatonic doctrine of principles. To the spirit of the West, which had more of understanding than of reason, and, as juristic also, constantly strove after distinctions, this Aristotelianism was congenial. From it there developed “dialectic,” at first, too, as scientific art. And as this scientific art always encourages insolence and pride where it is held to be the sum of all wisdom, so was it at the beginning of the Middle Ages. The schooled “ dialecticians” of the eleventh 37century looked proudly down on the obscurantists who did not understand art, while these again became concerned about the traditional Church doctrine, although the operations of the youthful science only seldom touched the kernel of things, unless it was that one here and there ventured too far with his art in regard to dogmas that stood in the centre of vision (doctrines of the Trinity, of the two natures, of the Eucharist), and, anticipating the later Nominalism, or recalling unpleasant facts in the history of tradition, served up a questionable attempt at solving the trinitarian problem (tritheistic, Sabellian), or approached too near the old Adoptianism, or threw doubt on the current opinion about the external miracle in the Eucharist. In this way the first conflicts arose, which were lacking in real sharpness, however, because the dialectic itself stood in league with Platonic Realism, and at bottom did not know very often what it really wanted. At the same time it must not be denied, that wherever the understanding is brought in, it will assert its own rights and will overleap the limits of a purely formal activity. But it is shown, e.g., by the science of Anselm, how peacefully, under certain conditions, dogma, Platonic Realism, and dialectic harmonised.

Yet in the twelfth century that came to be otherwise. In Abelard5959See the excellent monograph of Deutsch upon him (1883), the best book we possess on the history of the theological science of that period, distinguished pre-eminently by calmness and caution of judgment, as compared with the overstrained biographies to the right and left. In the introduction, p. 11 f., it is denied on good grounds that there was a widely prevailing negative illuminism in this period. What widely prevailed was not negative but ecclesiastical, and what was negative (frivolity of course there has been in every age; “the frivolity and avarice of the jeunesse dorée that vaunted itself in the apostolic chair up to the middle of the eleventh century”: Sackur) or expressly heretical had no widespread influence (to what extent at the time of the establishment of Clugny practical and theoretical atheism, frivolous criticism of the Bible, etc., prevailed among the West-Frankian lay circles is shown by Sackur). That to Abelard there belongs a unique position in his time, Deutsch has grounds for asserting, but he is far from characterising him simply as an illuminist. If it were necessary to describe him as such, then it would be peculiar to Catholic religion to be purely acquiescent faith — but at that time at least it certainly had not yet made that claim; then Justin, Origen, and Augustine would be “creedless free-thinkers”; then Abelard himself would be a double-tongued hypocrite, for his wish was to be a Church theologian, believing in revelation, and yet at the same time one who could give account of his faith and was capable of showing it to be plain truth. That while this was his aim he became entangled in contradictions, that in undertaking to commend religion to the understanding he frequently had more regard to the judge than to the client, was certainly not peculiar to him as a theologian! For ascertaining the theology of Abelard the sentences of his disciple, Magister Roland Alexander III. (see the edition by Gietl, 1891, and Denifle in Archiv, Vol. I., pp. 434 ff. 603 ff.) may be consulted. both the critical tendency of Platonic Realism (cf. his 38view of history) and the critical tendency of dialectic grew stronger, without his abandoning, however, in the fundamental theses, his relation of dependence on the Church doctrine. Abelard was the boldest theologian of his time, because he understood how to derive the critical side from all elements of tradition, and was really persuaded of the defectiveness just of what was held valid. His opponents of his day thought that the dangers of his science arose quite essentially from his dialectic, and, accordingly, discredited this above everything else. In point of fact, boldness in submitting particulars to the treatment of the understanding was an outstanding feature in Abelard; the understanding, too, when once released, asserted its own rights, frequently overleapt the boundaries theoretically recognised, scorned authority, and proclaimed, with the support of a certain knowledge of ancient history, the eternal right of reasonable thought as the highest court of appeal. But that the most dangerous theses of the restless scholar sprang from Platonic (Augustinian) Realism, i.e., from the fundamental view that was adhered to by one’s self, was not observed. In principle Abelard certainly moderated this view by means of his critico-dialectic reflections. He was no more a representative of thorough-going Realism. He was rather the first to introduce into epistemology a kind of conceptualism,6060How his theory of knowledge is to be understood is a disputed point among scholars (v. Deutsch, p. 104 ff.). It is certain that he held a sceptical attitude towards Platonic Realism, that he rejected it indeed, without however passing over to Nominalism. to break through the strict doctrine of immanence, and, by beginning to restore independence to the creature, to begin also to emancipate the conception of God itself from pantheism. For Abelard, the dialectic art ceases to be mere art; it begins to become a material principle, and to correct the traditional (Neoplatonic-Augustinian) doctrines of the first and last things. The paradox in Abelard’s position consists in this, that on the one hand in contemplating history he 39drew certain conclusions from the Mystic doctrine of God (cf. Justin, Origen, but also Augustine himself) more confidently than his contemporaries, while, on the other hand, he allowed sober thought to have a material influence on the view taken of ground principles. His opponents saw in him only the negative theologian. This negative theologian really laid the foundation for the classical structure of mediæval conservative theology.6161This seems paradoxical, and certainly other things come more prominently to view in Abelard at first: his genuine, unquenchable scientific ardour, his sense for the natural (sound human understanding), his ambitious striving, not devoid of vanity, his dialectic acuteness, his critical spirit, finally, the conviction animating him that the ratio has its own field of play, and that there are many questions on which it first, and it alone, must be heard (on his learning, which has often been over-rated, see Deutsch, p. 53 ff.). But on the other hand the following factors in his mode of teaching are to be noted, which obtained quite a positive importance for the time that followed (while we pass over what is an understood matter, viz., that even by him all knowledge was ultimately traced up to the revelation of God): (1) The man charged with “rationalism” has no great confidence in the capabilities of the human power of knowledge, and openly expressed this, in opposition to the self-assurance of the dialecticians and mystics; he did not possess it, but pointed to revelation, because he (2) did not regard thought and being as identical, but took up a critico-sceptical attitude towards the reigning Realism, such as was just required for the defence of the Church doctrine — as was taught by the time that followed. With this there is connected (3) that, while keeping very much on Augustine’s lines in the conception of God, he avoided those conclusions from his conception which led at one time to the assumption of a rigid, unchangeable divine working (a rigid order of nature), at another time to an unlimited arbitrariness on God’s part. This he effected by bringing in again (with Origen, partly against Augustine) very strongly though not at every point, the thought of the ethically determined character of the divine action, and of the limitation of the divine power by the notion of purpose (and so by what actually happens). With this he also drew a sharp distinction between God and the creature, and asserted the independence of the latter, corrected thereby the questionable Mystic conception of God, and prepared the way for the conception of God held by the great Schoolmen. His opponents, on the other hand, such as Hugo (and afterwards also the Lombard) adhered to that conception of God which afterwards proved more convenient in defending any kind of Church doctrine; but there is no question that Abelard was really the more positive. If he has nevertheless been classed with Spinoza, that only proves that there has been ignorance of the notion of God which elsewhere prevailed in his time among Church theologians, and that just that side in Abelard’s notion of God has been emphasised which was not peculiar to him, for he sought to unite the standpoints of immanence and transcendence, while his opponents assailed him from the standpoint of the “Spinozist” notion of God. (4) As with the doctrine of God so is it with all the other doctrines of the faith: here Abelard always set out from Augustine (see Deutsch’s account), keeps essentially to his formulations, but, with more courage and confidence than the great master, fettered by his Neoplatonism, strives to free theology and the objects of faith from the embraces of a Mysticism which is ultimately philosophy of nature. The ethical interest, the assurance that what answers to the moral law is also the holy and good before and for God, dominates Abelard (hence also his special interest in moral philosophy), and so far as this interest corrected the Mystical scheme of Christian doctrine in the thirteenth century, Abelard must be thought of as the pioneer. But if in this sense it may be said that Abelard laid the foundation for the great structures of Scholasticism in the thirteenth century — not only because he was the teacher of the Lombard, nor only because he was the acutest thinker of the period, but because he was the first to attempt that amalgamation of the immanence and transcendence doctrines, and taught that lower estimation of the principles of knowledge, which became the presuppositions of ecclesiastical systems — yet it cannot be denied that the following age did not attach itself directly to him. What he found independently the following age learned from Aristotle, who became more and more known to it from the second half of the twelfth century; it learned it only indirectly, or not at all, from Abelard. But that cannot diminish his fame. He was the first to show how all Church doctrines can and must be so treated that the principles of morality (the moral law) shall have as much justice done to them in the system as the fundamental thoughts of theological speculation on nature. That he did not solve this problem no one will make the ground of a reproach, for it is insoluble. But that it must be set down as the task of all ecclesiastical science — so long as this science at all declares that its ideal is that of knowing the world — is quite obvious. The contemporaries of Abelard were not willing to learn enough from him, and that, as a rule, determines the amount of influence that belongs to a teacher. They felt repelled (1) by the still novel form of the science in general; (2) by many propositions of Abelard, which were afterwards found to be tolerable — indeed to be the only correct ones; (3) by many individual negative, or critical judgments, both in regard to history and the validity of opinion prevailing at the time, and in regard to particular ecclesiastical doctrines, of which his defensive presentation was felt to be questionable (Sabellianism in the doctrine of the Trinity, yet see Augustine; strong inner variance in the Christology, which thus approached Nestorianism, yet see likewise Augustine). (4) It must not be denied that Abelard himself injured the influence of his doctrines by many contradictions and by the immaturity of his systematising. But how much could have been learned from him; compare only his admirable discussions of love, reconciliation, and the Church! The Church had no genius between Augustine and Luther; but among the men of second rank, Abelard deserves to be named. Karl Müller (Abhandl. f. Weizsäcker 1892, pp. 308 f., 319 f.) has strongly emphasised the importance of Abelard for the ways of stating problems and for the positive views of the following period. For 40the Church dogma could not be held by the thinking mind under the entire domination of the Mystic Neoplatonic theology. Although it was by this theology that it had been chiefly elaborated, yet the Church had always reserved to itself the supra-mundane God and the independence of the creature, and had formed a set of dogmas which Platonism could only sublimate, but could not justify as the final expression of the matter itself. The Church needed, therefore, the 41help of dialectics (of sober intelligence, and of juristic acuteness directed to the given formulæ ) and of a lowering of the lofty flight of speculation, and this help Aristotelianism alone could afford it, i.e., the Aristotelianism, which was then understood as such, and which was then exercising its influence, as the view of things according to which it is held — not that the phenomenal and creaturely are the form transitorily expressing the divine — but that the supernatural God, as Creator in the proper sense of the word, has created the creature and endowed it with independence. It needed the help of Aristotelianism to defend a set of dogmas in the form in which they were already established.6262Very correctly v. Eicken l.c. p. 602: “The importance which Plato and Aristotle acquired in mediæval philosophy was really in the inverse relation to the position which the two had taken up in the history of the development of Greek philosophy. The Platonic philosophy had placed the substance of things in the general ideas, and had deduced from this assumption the transcendence of the latter, and especially of the highest idea, that is, the idea of God. But the extreme Realism of the Middle Ages adopted the Platonic doctrine of ideas, not to derive from it the transcendence of the supreme idea, but to derive rather the harmonious co-existence of all things in the supreme idea, and just with this aim before it it arrived at that doctrine of God which bore a pantheistic character, as compared with the strict transcendence of the Church doctrine. On the other hand the Aristotelian philosophy had asserted the reality of the general ideas in the individuals, with the view of refuting Plato’s transcendent doctrine of ideas. The Aristotelian Realism, however, attached itself to the Aristotelian doctrine, in order that, by guarding the substantial character of the individuals, it might prove their extra-divine subsistence, and accordingly also the divine transcendence that harmonised with the Church doctrine. This view, which quite inverted the historical and logical relation of the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies, was maintained till the close of the Middle Ages.” But still more was the “Aristotelianism” to do for it. Reason will never ultimately make a compact with authority, but the understanding will. Whoever has entered into the spirit of the All-One and embraces the doctrine of immanence, will feel himself to be as “God,” and will therefore reject all authority, of whatever kind it be. Whoever, on the other hand, feels his independence, side by side with other forms of independence, will become certain of his dependence also. He will no longer take part in the dialectic performance of exchanging his estimate of himself as the perfect nothing (as an individual) for an estimate of himself as the perfect being (as spirit); but while within certain limits, and perhaps with great 42tenacity, he will embrace a rational mode of view, he will, in that which lies beyond these limits, be ready to recognise authorities.

Yet for the great inaugurator of Mediæval Scholasticism (for Anselm everything is still naive) — for Abelard, the elements were still vaguely intermingled. He set down already as force all that, in the time following, the period when Scholasticism flourished, was conceived of as mutually limiting potencies, or that then became differentiated as distinct tendencies. His contemporaries had as yet no presentiment, that an element in him which they specially censured would yet become the means of saving the Church doctrine. Orthodoxy and the Platonic Realism were still in closest union. The French Mystics declared the efforts of the “dialecticians” heretical; Aristotle was hated. When the great disciple of Abelard, Petrus Lombardus, published his Sentences, and in them fittingly placed the learning of his master at the service of the Church theology — as yet the Middle Ages had not possessed a compendium for the study of theology6363Only since Abelard’s times were there somewhat more comprehensive statements of Christian doctrine, which, besides, were still in many respects different. He himself and Hugo of St. Victor took the lead in producing them; see Abelard’s “Introductio”; faith, love, the sacraments as subjects of dogmatic. — much would not have been required for even this book to be set aside on suspicion. No doubt, this work, because, from the patristic tradition being uncertain, it still frequently adds opinion to opinion, bears the stamp of a freedom which was afterwards lost. But the mere fact that it became the authoritative compendium of the thirteenth century is a proof that on the part of the Church free inquiry, dialectic investigation, and Aristotelian philosophy were now tolerated, not because inward freedom had increased, but because the faculty had grown for making friends with these forces, and because there began to be observed what the Aristotelian method and mode of thought could do for dogma. In the second half of the twelfth century the turn round of things was already preparing itself. The “pious” theologians (the Mystics), so far as they gave themselves up to the work of expounding and establishing dogma, were forced to see that by means of thoroughgoing 43Realism contemplation might be enriched, but the objective doctrine could not be defended. The coalition of naive faith on authority with a Mysticism that, in its ultimate ground, was not without danger, came to an end. Church faith, Mysticism, and Aristotelian science formed a close alliance. On the other hand, the dialecticians, in the degree in which they passed from the Aristotelian formalism to Aristotle’s doctrine of principles (perhaps the increasing knowledge of this philosophy contributed most to this), lost that audacity which had once given so much offence, and which, certainly, had often been only a sign of playing with empty forms. No doubt in connection with this many a fresh piece of knowledge came to be lost.6464In the writings of the earlier Schoolmen, i.e., of Abelard chiefly, there are not a few thoughts that were directly fitted either to enrich or to modify dogma. But at that time the Church accepted nothing from the Schoolmen, and when it was prepared to have the doctrine interpreted to it by them, these men had no longer the freedom and boldness to say anything new to the Church. One who has much to carry gets more anxious, and moves more slowly, than one who marches under an easy burden. To this there came to be added, that from decade to decade the authority of the Church grew stronger. Though there was a growth also of opposition, which forced to anxious reflection (Mohammedans, Jews, heretics, knowledge of the ancient classics),6565What importance for Abelard the discussion with the Jew and the philosopher had may be learned from the “Dialogue” (v. Deutsch, p. 433 ff., against Reuter I., pp. 198-221.) at the end of the twelfth century the Church outshone all else with its lustre. Its rights in respect of life and doctrine became the worthiest subject of investigation and exposition. Into this task blended the other, of referring all things to God and construing the knowledge of the world as theology. The theology of the ecclesiastical facts pressed itself on the theology of speculation. Under what other auspices could this great structure be erected than under those of that Aristotelian Realism, which was at bottom a dialectic between the Platonic Realism and Nominalism, and which was represented as capable of uniting immanence and transcendence, history and miracle, the immutability of God and mutability, Idealism and Realism, reason and authority? Thus it was only 44in the thirteenth century that there made its appearance the theology adequate to the Church and its dogma, and no longer viewed with suspicion,6666The diminishing distrust of theology in contra-distinction to the former period is also to be explained from the circumstance that the general average of culture among the higher clergy became higher. The theologians of the thirteenth century were no longer confronted with so much unreason as the “dialecticians” of the eleventh century had to contend with in the wide development of the Church. after a new wave of piety (the Mendicant Orders) had imparted to it the highest measure of power of which the Catholic religion is at all capable. The fear of the Lord was also the beginning of this new wisdom. In form and contents, in its systematic method, and in the exhaustive fulness of its material, it is related to the theology of the twelfth century as, we might say, Origen was related to Clement of Alexandria. This is more than a comparison, for the course of events really repeated itself. Clement, the inaugurator, the bolder spirit, the less “enlightened,” who does not yet know that the full authority of the Catholic Church is against him; Origen, the man of system, more comprehensive, but at the same time more closely tied to the Church and its doctrine. The same relation obtained between the theologians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. (Compare, e.g., the “aggregating” character of the Sentences of Robert Pulleyn [Deutsch, p. 6 f.] with the Stromateis of Clement, and the great “Sums” of the thirteenth century with Origen’s De principiis.) In the following chapter we shall take up the thread here again. If we direct no further attention here to the Lombard, and especially to Hugo, the somewhat earlier, and, in respect of matter, the most influential theologian of the twelfth century (“a second Augustine”), the fact may serve as an excuse that the importance which the two obtained for the history of dogma appeared only at the great Lateran Council, and in the theologians of the thirteenth century. On Hugo’s Sentences see Denifle in the Archiv f. L-u. K.-Gesch. des Mittelalters III., p. 634 ff.


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