CHAPTER XIII. SCHOLASTICISM AT ITS HEIGHT. § 106. Alexander of Hales.
Literature: For general works on Scholasticism see § 95. Alex. of Hales: Summa universae theologiae, Venice, 1475, Nürnberg, 1482, Basel, 1502, Cologne, 1611, 4 vols.—Wadding: Annal. Min., III.—Stöckl: Phil. des Mittelalters, II. 313–326.—K. Müller: Der Umschwung in der Lehre Soon der Busse, etc., Freib., 1892.—The Doctrinal Histories of Schwane, Harnack, Seeberg, etc., Dict. of Natl. Biogr., I. 272 sq.
The culmination of Scholasticism falls in the thirteenth century. It is no longer as confident in the ability of reason to prove all theological questions as it was in the days of Anselm and Abaelard a hundred years before. The ethical element comes into prominence. A modified realism prevails. The syllogism is elaborated. The question is discussed whether theology is a science or not. The authority of Aristotle becomes, if possible, more binding. All his writings have become available through translations. The teachings of Averrhoes, Avicenna, and other Arabic philosophers are made known. The chief Schoolmen belong to one of the two great mendicant orders. To the Franciscan order belonged Alexander of Hales, Bonaventura, Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon, and Raymundus Lullus. Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas were Dominicans. All these men had to do with the universities.
Alexander of Hales (Halesius or Halensis), called by his pupils the Irrefragable Doctor—doctor irrefragabilis — and the king of theologians—monarcha theologorum — was born at Hales, Gloucestershire, England, and died in Paris, 1245. After reaching the dignity of archdeacon, he went to Paris to prosecute his studies. He entered the order of St. Francis, 1222, and was the first Franciscan to obtain the degree of doctor and to teach in the University of Paris, which he continued to do till 1238.
Alexander was the first Schoolman to whom all the writings of Aristotle were accessible. His chief work, the System of Universal Theology, was completed by one of his pupils, 1252.9 His method was to state the affirmative and negative of a question 1470and then to give the solution. In worldly things, knowledge proceeds from rational conviction; in spiritual things, faith precedes knowledge. Theology is, therefore, rather a body of wisdom—sapientia —than a science—scientia; not so much knowledge drawn from study as knowledge drawn from experience. 1471 Alexander had a most important part in the definition of some of the characteristic mediaeval dogmas, which passed into the doctrinal system of the Roman Catholic Church. He declared for the indelible character of baptism and ordination. By elaborate argument he justified the withdrawal of the cup from the laity and stated the new doctrine of penance. He is especially famous for having defined the fund of merit—thesaurus meritorum — the vicious doctrine upon which the practice of distributing and selling indulgences was based. He was one of the first to make the distinction between attritio or imperfect repentance, due to fear, timor servilis, and contritio or perfect repentance based upon higher motives. In all these matters he had a controlling influence over the later Schoolmen. 1472 § 107. Albertus Magnus.
Literature: Works. Complete ed. by, Jammy, Lyons, 1651, 21 vols.; revised by Augusti Borgnet, 38 vols. Paris, 1890. Dedicated to Leo XIII., containing a Life and valuable indexes. The De vegetabilibus, ed. by Meyer and Jessen, Berl., 1867.—Com. on Job, ed. by M. Weiss, Freib., 1904.—Fullest monograph J. Sighart: Alb. Mag., sein Leben und seine Wissenschaft, Regensb., 1857, based upon the compilation of Peter de Prussia: Vita B. Alb., doctoris magni ex ordine Praedicatorum, etc., Col., 1486.—Sighart gives a list of the biogr. notices from Thomas of Chantimpré, 1261.—d’Assaily: Alb. le Grand, Paris, 1870.—G. von Hertling: Alb. Mag., Beiträge zu s. Würdigung, Col., 1880; Alb. Mag. in Gesch. und Sage, Col., 1880, and his art. in Wetzer-Welte, I. 414–419.—Ueberweg-Heinze.—Stöckl, II. 353–421.—Schwane, pp. 46 sqq. etc.—Preger: Deutsche Mystik, I. 263–268.—Harnack, Seeberg.
The most learned and widely read man of the thirteenth century was Albertus Magnus, Albert the Great. His encyclopaedic attainments were unmatched in the Middle Ages, and won for him the title, Universal Doctor—doctor universalis. He was far and away the greatest of German scholars and speculators of this era.
Albert (1193–1280) was born at Lauingen in Bavaria, studied in Padua, and, about 1223, entered the order of the Dominicans, influenced thereto by a sermon preached by its second general, Jordanus. He taught in Freiburg, Hildesheim, Strassburg, Regensburg, and other cities. At Cologne, which was his chief headquarters,3he had among his pupils Thomas Aquinas. 1474 He seems to have spent three years in teaching at Paris about 1245. In 1254 he was chosen provincial of his order in Germany. Two years later we find him in Rome, called by Alexander IV. for counsel in the conflict over the mendicant orders with William of St. Amour.
He was made bishop of Regensburg, an office he laid down in 1262. 1475 His presence at the council of Lyons, 1274, is doubtful. 1476 One of his last acts was to go to Paris and defend the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, after that theologian’s death. He died at the age of eighty-seven, in Cologne, where he is buried in the St. Andreas Church.
Albert was small of stature and the story is told of his first appearance in the presence of the pope; that the pope, thinking he was kneeling, bade him stand on his feet. A few years before his death he became childish, and the story runs that the archbishop, Siegfried, knocking at the door of his cell, exclaimed, "Albert, are you here?" and the reply came, "Albert is not here. He used to be here. He is not here any more." In early life, Albert was called the dumb ox on account of his slowness in learning, and the change of his intellectual power was indicated by the bon mot. "Albert was turned from all ass to a philosopher and from a philosopher to an ass." In 1880, the six hundredth anniversary of his death, a statue was erected to his memory at his birthplace.
Albertus Magnus was a philosopher, naturalist, and theologian; a student of God, nature, and man. He knew no Greek, but was widely read in the Latin classics as well as in the Fathers. He used the complete works of Aristotle, and was familiar with the Arabic philosophers whom at points he confuted. 1477 He also used the works of the Hebrews, Isaac Israeli, Maimonides, and Gabirol. 1478 His large indebtedness to Aristotle won for him the title, Aristotle’s ape,—simia Aristotelis — but unjustly, for he often disagreed with his teacher. 1479
He traversed the whole area of the physical sciences. No one for centuries had been such a student of nature. He wrote on the vegetable kingdom, geography, mineralogy, zoology, astronomy, and the digestive organs. The writings on these themes are full of curious items of knowledge and explanations of natural phenomena. His treatise on meteors, De meteororibus, for example, which in Borgnet’s edition fills more than three hundred pages (IV. 477–808), takes up at length such subjects as the comets, the milky way, the cause of light in the lower strata of air, the origin of the rivers, the winds, lightning, thunder and cyclones, the rainbow, etc. In the course of his treatment of rivers, Albert speaks of great cavities in the earth and spongy regions under its flat surface. To the question, why the sun was made, if the prior light was sufficient to render it possible to speak of "morning and evening" on the first days of creation, he replied, "that as the earlier light amply illuminated the upper parts of the universe so the sun was fitted to illuminate the lower parts, or rather it was in order that the day might be made still more bright by the sun; and if it be asked what became of the prior light, the answer is that the body of the sun, corpus solis, was formed out of it, or at any rate that the prior light was in the same part of the heavens where the sun is located, not as though it were the sun but in the sense that it was so united with the sun as now no more to be specially distinguished from it."0
Albert saw into a new world. His knowledge is often at fault, but sometimes his statements are prophetic of modern discovery. For example, he said that the poles of the earth were too cold to be inhabited. He knew about the sleep of plants and many of the laws of the vegetable world. He was indefatigable in experimentation, the forerunner of the modern laboratory worker, and had much to do with arsenic, sulphur, and other chemical substances. He knew about gunpowder, but got his knowledge from others.1 The succeeding age associated his name, as also the name of Roger Bacon, with magic and the dark arts, but probably without sufficient reason.
The world has had few such prolific writers as Albertus Magnus. In Borgnet’s edition of thirty-eight volumes, there are, excluding, the valuable indexes, no less than 27,014 pages of two columns each. These writings may be said to take up not only every topic of physical knowledge but to discuss every imaginable subject in religion and philosophy. His activity combined the travail of the original thinker with the toil of the compiler. Twelve volumes in Borgnet’s edition are devoted to philosophy and the natural sciences, one to sermons, one to a commentary on Dionysius the Areopagite, ten to commentaries on books of the Old and New Testaments, and fourteen to theology. He freely used some of his predecessors among the Schoolmen as Anselm, Bernard, and Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, as well as the Fathers and the Greek and Arabic philosophers.
Albert’s chief theological works are a Commentary on the Sentences of the Lombard, a Study of Created Things 1482and an independent summa of theology, which was left unfinished, and stopped with the discussion of sin. These three works, in many subjects of which they treat, run parallel. But each is fresh, elaborate, and has its own peculiar arrangement. The Study of Created Things, or System of Nature is an attempt, whose boldness has never been exceeded, to explain the great phenomena of the visible universe above and below, eternity and time, the stars and the motion of the heavens, angels and devils, man, his soul and body, the laws of his nutrition, sleep, reason, intellect, and other parts of his constitution, and events to which he is subject.
Albert’s commentaries cover the Psalms in three volumes, the Lamentations, Daniel, the Minor Prophets, Baruch, the Gospels, and the Apocalypse. His commentary on the Worthy Woman of Proverbs 31:10–31 is drawn out to two hundred pages of two columns each.
Theology, Albert defined to be a science in the truest sense, and what is more, it is wisdom. 1483 It is the practical science of those things that pertain to salvation. The being of God is not susceptible of positive a priori proof. It may be proved in an indirect way from the impossible absurdities which would follow from the denial of it. 1484 The existence of God is not, properly speaking, an article of theology, but an antecedent of all articles. In his Summa he quotes Anselm’s definition. "God is greater than anything else that can be conceived." The objection was made to it that what is above what can be conceived we cannot grasp. He answers the objection by showing that God can be known by positive affirmation and by negation. The cosmological proof was most to Albert’s mind, and he argued at length the proposition that motion demands a prime mover. Matter cannot start itself into motion. 1485
The Trinity is matter of revelation. Philosophy did not find it out.6 Albert, however, was not prevented from entering into an elaborate speculative treatment of the doctrine.
Following Augustine, Anselm, and Richard of St. Victor, he argued for the procession of the Spirit from the Son as well as from the Father as a necessity, 1487and laid stress upon love as the chief principle within the sphere of the persons of the godhead.
The usual scholastic list of questions about the angels, good and bad, is treated by Albert with great exhaustiveness. A number of angels, he decides, cannot be in one and the same place at the same time, not because of the spatial inconvenience it might seem to imply, but on account of the possibility of the confusion of activity it might involve. He concludes it to be impossible for an angel to be in more than one place at the same time. He discussed at length the language and vocal organs of the angels. 1488 Especially elaborate is his treatment of the fall, and the activity and habitation of Lucifer and the demons. In pruriency he is scarcely behind some of the other Schoolmen. Every possible question that might occur to the mind had to be answered. Here are some of the questions. "Do the lost sin in hell?" "Do they wish any good?" "Is a smoky atmosphere a congenial element for the demons?" "What are the age and stature of those who rise from the dead?" "Does the sight of the pains of the lost diminish the glory of the beatified?" To this last question he replied that such sight will increase the joy of the angels by calling forth renewed thanks for their redemption. 1489 The serious problem of what it was into which the devil fell occupied Albert’s careful and prolonged argumentation several times. 1490 The views of the Universal doctor on demonology will be taken up in another chapter. In another place also we shall speak of his answer to the question, what effect the eating of the host has upon a mouse.
The chief and ultimate cause of the creation of man is that he might serve God in his acts, praise God with his mouth, and enjoy God with his whole being. A second cause is that he might fill up the gaps left by the defection of the angels. 1491 In another place Albert explains the creation of man and angels to be the product of God’s goodness. 1492
Of all the panegyrists of the Virgin Mary before Alphonso da Liguori, none was so fulsome and elaborate as Albert. Of the contents of his famous treatise, The Praises of Mary,—de laudibus B. Mariae Virginis, 3— which fills eight hundred and forty-one pages in Borgnet’s edition, a synopsis is given in the section on the Worship of Mary. In the course of this treatment no less than sixty different passages from the Canticles are applied to Mary. Albert leaves her crowned at her assumption in the heavens. One of the questions this indefatigable theologian pursued with consequential precision was Eve’s conception before she sinned.
As for the ecclesiastical organization of the Middle Ages, the pope is to Albert God’s viceregent, vested with plenary power. 1494
Albert astounds us by the industry and extent of his theological thought and labor and the versatility of his mind. Like all the Schoolmen he sought to exhaust the topics he discusses, and looks at them in every conceivable aspect. There is often something chaotic in his presentation of a theme, but he is nevertheless wonderfully stimulating. It remained for Albert’s greater pupil, Thomas Aquinas, to bring a clearness and succinctness to the statement of theological problems, theretofore unreached. Albert treated them with the insatiable curiosity of the student, the profundity of the philosopher, and the attainments of a widely read scholar. Thomas added the skill of the dialectic artist and a pronounced practical and ethical purpose.
§ 108 Thomas Aquinas. Literature: I. Works.—U. Chevalier: Répertoire under Thomas Aq., pp. 1200–1206, and Supplem., pp. 2823–2827. — S. Thomae Aquinatis Doctoris Angelici opera omnia, jussu impensaque Leonis XIII., P. M., edita, Romae ex typographia polyglotta S. C. de Propaganda Fide, vols. 1–11, 1882–1902, to be completed in 25 vols. For this edition, called from Leo’s patronage editio Leonina, a papal appropriation has been made of 300,000 lire. See vol. I., p. xxv.—Older edd., Rome, 1570, 18 vols. by order of Pius V., and Venice, 1592–1594; Antwerp, by C. Morelles, 1612 sqq., 18 vols.; Paris, 1660, 23 vols.; Venice, 1786–1790, 28 vols.; with 30 dissertations by B. M. de Rubeis, Naples, 1846–1848, 19 vols.; Parma, 1852 sqq.; Paris, 1871—1880, 33 vols. by Fretté and Maré.—The Summa theologica has been often separately published as by Migne, 4 vols. Paris, 1841, 1864; *Drioux, 15 vols. Paris, 1853–1856; with French trans., and 8 vols. Paris, 1885. Among the very numerous commentators of the Summa are Cajetan, d. 1534, given in the Leonine ed., Melchior Canus, d. 1560, Dominicus Soto, d. 1560, Medina, d. 1580, Bannez, d. 1604, Xantes Moriales, d. 1666, Mauritius de Gregorii, d. 1666, all Dominicans; Vasquez, d. 1604, Suarez, d. 1617, Jesuits. The most prolix commentaries are by barefooted Carmelites of Spain, viz. the cursus theologicus of Salamanca, 19 vols. repub. at Venice, 1677 sqq., and the Disputationes collegii complutensis at Alcala in 4 vols. repub. at Lyons, 1667 sqq. —See Werner: D. hl. Thomas, I. 885 sqq.—P. A. Uccelli’s ed. of the contra Gentiles, Rome, 1878, from autograph MSS. in the Vatican, contains a facsimile of Thomas’ handwriting which is almost illegible.—Engl. trans. of the Aurea Catena, Oxford, 1865, 6 vols., and the Ethics by J. Rickaby, N. Y., 1896.—Fr. Satolli, in Summam Theol. d. Th. Aq. praelectiones, Milan, 1884–1888.—L. Janssen: Summa Theol. ad modum commentarii in Aquinatis Summam praesentis aevi studii aptatam, Freib. im Br., 5 vols. 1902.—La théol. affective ou St. Th. d’Aq. médité en vue de prédication, by L. Bail, Paris, 12 vols.
II. Lives, etc.—The oldest Life is by William de Thoco, who knew Thomas personally, reprinted in the ed. Leonina, vol. I. Documents in Chartularium parisiensis.—F. B. de Rubeis: De gestis et scriptis ac doctrina S. Th. Aq. dissertationes crit. et apolog., reprinted in the Leonina.—P. A. Touron: Paris, 1737.—J. Bareille: 1846, 4th ed. 1862.—*Karl Werner, Rom. Cath. Prof. at St. Pölten, Austria: D. heilige Th. von Aquino, 5 vols. 1858–1859, Regensb. Learned, exhaustive, but ill digested.—R. B. Vaughan Rom. Cath. abp. of Sydney: Life and Labors of St. Th. of Aquino, 2 vols. Lond., 187I-1872, based on Werner.—Cicognani: Sulla vita de S. Tomasio, Engl. trans., 1882.—P. Cavenaugh: Life of Th. Aq., the Angelic Doctor. N. Y., 1890.—Didiot: Le docteur angélique S. Th. d’Aq., Bruges, 1894.—Jourdain: Le Phil. de S. Th. d’Aq., 2 vols. Paris, 1861.—*F. X. Leitner: D. hl. Th. von Aq. über d. unfehlbare Lehramt d. Papstes, Freib., 1872.—J. J. Baumann: D. Staatslehre des hl. Th. von Aq., Leip., 1873.—Schötz: Thomas Lexicon (explanation of technical terms), Paderb., 1881.—Eicken. D Philos. d. Th. von Aq. und. d. Kultur d. Neuzeit:, Halle, 1886, 54 pp.; also Th. von Aq. und Kant, ein Kampf zweier Welten, Berlin, 1901.—*F. H. Reusch, Old-Cath.: D. Fälschungen in dem Traktat des Th. von Aq. gegen die Griechen, München, 1889.—F. Tessen-Wesiersky: D. Grundlagen d. Wunderbegriffs n. Th. von Aq. Paderb., 1899, p. 142.—J. Guttmann: D. Verhältniss des Th. von Aq. zum Judenthum und zur jüdischen Literatur, 1891.—Wittmann: D. Stellung d. hl. Th. von Aq. zu Avencebrol, Münster, 1900.—De Groot: Leo: XIII. und der hl. Th. von Aq., Regensb., 1897.—M. Grabmann: D. Lehre d. hl. Th. v. Aq. v. d. Kirche als Gotteswerk, Regensb., 1903.—J. Göttler: D. hl. Th. v. Aq. u. d. vortridentin. Thomisten ueb. d. Wirkgn. d Busssakramentes, 1904.—Stöckl: Philos. d. Mittelalters, II. 421–728. The Histt. of Doctr. of Schwane, Harnack, III. 422–428, etc., and Loofs, pp. 284–304.—Lane-Poole: Illustrations etc., pp. 226 sqq.—Baur: D. Christl. Kirche des M. A., 312–354. —The art. in Wetzer-Welte, XI. 1626–1661.—T. O’Gorman: Life and Works of St. Th. Aq. in Papers of Am. Soc. of Ch. Hist., 1893, pp. 81–97.—D. S. Schaff: Th. Aq. and Leo XIII. in Princeton Rev., 1904, pp. 177–196.—Art. Th. Aq. and Med. Thought. in Dubl. Rev. Jan., 1906.
In an altar piece by Traini, dating from 1341, in the church of St. Caterina, Pisa, Thomas Aquinas is represented as seated in the centre with a book open before him. At the top of the cloth the artist has placed Christ, on one side of him Matthew, Luke, and Paul and on the other, Moses, John, and Mark. Below Thomas Aquinas, and on the left side, Aristotle is represented standing and facing Thomas. Aristotle holds an open volume which is turned towards the central figure. On the right hand Plato is represented, also standing and facing Thomas with an open volume. At the foot of the cloth there are three groups. One at each corner consists of monks looking up admiringly at Thomas. Between them, Averrhoes is represented reclining and holding a closed book. This remarkable piece of art represents with accuracy the central place which has been accorded to Thomas Aquinas in the mediaeval theology. Arabic philosophy closes its mission now that the great exponent of Christian theology has come. The two chief philosophers of the unaided reason offer to him the results of their speculations and do him homage. The body of monks admire him, and Christ, as it were, commends him.
Thomas Aquinas, called the Angelic doctor,—doctor angelicus, — 1225–1274, is the prince of the Schoolmen, and next to St. Augustine, the most eminent divine of the Latin Church. He was a man of rare genius, wisdom, and purity of life. He had an unrivalled power of orderly and vigorous statement. Under his hand the Scholastic doctrines were organized into a complete and final system. He expounded them with transparent clearness, and fortified them with powerful arguments derived from Scripture, tradition, and reason. Mystical piety and a sound intellect were united in him. As compared with many of the other Schoolmen, notably with Duns Scotus, Thomas was practical rather than speculative. Popes and councils have repeatedly acknowledged his authority as a teacher of Catholic theology. Thomas was canonized by John XXII., 1823, and raised to the dignity of "doctor of the church," 1567. In 1879, Leo XIII. commended him as the corypheus and prince of all the Schoolmen, and as the safest guide of Christian philosophy in the battle of faith and reason against the sceptical and revolutionary tendencies of the nineteenth century,5who "set to rest once for all the discord between faith and reason, exalting the dignity of each and yet keeping them in friendly alliance." In 1880 this pope pronounced him the patron of Catholic schools. In the teachings of Thomas Aquinas we have, with one or two exceptions, the doctrinal tenets of the Latin Church in their perfect exposition as we have them in the Decrees of the council of Trent in their final statement.
Thomas of Aquino was born about 1220 in the castle of Rocca Sicca—now in ruins—near Aquino in the territory of Naples. Through his father, the count of Aquino, he was descended from a princely house of Lombardy. His mother was of Norman blood and granddaughter of the famous Crusader Tancred. At five the boy was sent to the neighboring convent of Monte Cassino from which he passed to the University of Naples. In 1243 he entered the Dominican order, a step his family resented. His brothers who were serving in the army of Frederick II. took the novice by force and kept him under guard in the paternal castle for more than a year. Thomas employed the time of his confinement in studying the Bible, the Sentences of the Lombard, and the works of Aristotle.
We next find him in Cologne under Albertus Magnus. That great Schoolman, recognizing the genius of his pupil, is reported to have said, "He will make such a roaring in theology that he will be heard through all the earth." 1496 He accompanied Albertus to Paris and in 1248 returned to Cologne as teacher. He again went to Paris and won the doctor’s degree. William de St. Amour’s attack upon the monastic orders drew from him a defence as it also did from Bonaventura. Thomas was called to Anagni to represent the case of the orders. His address called forth the commendation of Alexander IV., who, in a letter to the chancellor of the University of Paris, spoke of Thomas as a man conspicuous by his virtues and of encyclopaedic learning. In 1261, Thomas left the teacher’s chair in Paris and taught successively in Bologna, Rome, and other Italian cities. Urban IV. and Clement IV. honored him with their confidence. The years 1272–1274 he spent at Naples. He died on his way to the oecumenical council of Lyons, March 7, 1274, only forty-eight years of age, in the Cistercian convent of Fossa Nuova near Terracina. Dante and Villani report he was poisoned by order of Charles of Anjou, but the earliest accounts know nothing of this. The great teacher’s body was taken to Toulouse, except the right arm which was sent to the Dominican house of Saint Jacques, Paris, whence, at a later date, it was removed to Rome.
The genuine writings of Thomas Aquinas number more than sixty, and fall into four classes. The philosophical works are commentaries on Aristotle’s Ethics, Metaphysics, Politics, and other treatises. His exegetical works include commentaries on Job, the first fifty-one Psalms, Canticles, Isaiah, the Lamentations, the Gospels, and the Epistles of Paul. The exposition of the Gospels, known as the Golden Chain,—aurea catena, 1497— consists of excerpts from the Fathers. A number of Thomas’ sermons are also extant. The apologetic works are of more importance. The chief among them are works designed to convince the Mohammedans and other unbelievers, 1498and to promote the union of the Greeks and Latins, and a treatise against the disciples of Averrhoes. 1499
Thomas’ works on dogmatic theology and ethics are the most important of his writings. The earliest was a commentary on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard. Here belong Expositions of the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the decalogue, the Angelic salutation, and the sacraments. Thomas gave his first independent systematic treatment of the entire realm of theology in his Compendium theologiae. The subject was presented under the heads of the three cardinal virtues,—faith, hope, and charity. His master-work is his Summa theologica which he did not live to finish and which is supplemented by compilations from the author’s commentary on the Lombard. Thomas also made important contributions to the liturgy and to hymnology. In 1264 at the request of Urban IV., he prepared the office for the festival of Corpus Christi, in which were incorporated the Pange lingua, Lauda Sion, and other hymns.0
With Augustine and John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas shares the distinction of being one of the three master theological minds of the Western world. What John of Damascus did for the theology of the Greek Church, that Thomas did for the theology of the mediaeval Church. He gave to it its most perfect form. His commanding eminence rests upon his clearness of method and his well-balanced judgment rather than upon his originality of thought.1 He was not a great scholar and, like Augustine, he knew no Hebrew and little Greek. Abaelard Bonaventura, and Albertus Magnus seem to show a wider familiarity than he with the ancient authors, patristic and profane, but they differ widely. He leaned much upon Albertus Magnus. 1502 Albertus had an eye more for the works of nature, Thomas for moral action. As was the case with the other Schoolmen, so Thomas had as his chief authorities Augustine and Aristotle, quoting the latter as "the philosopher." He was in full sympathy with the hierarchical system and the theology of the mediaeval Church and at no point out of accord with them.
The Summa theologica, true to its author’s promise, avoids many of the idle discussions of his predecessors and contemporaries. 1503 The treasures of the school and Church are here gathered together, sifted, and reduced to an elaborate but inspiring and simple structure. The three books treat respectively of God, man, and the Redeemer, the sacraments being included under the last head. The matter is disposed of in 518 divisions, called questions, and these are divided into 2652 articles. Each article states the negative and positive sides of the proposition under discussion, the arguments for and against it, and then the author’s solution. The same uniform threefold method of treatment is pursued throughout. This method would become insufferably monotonous but for the precision of Thomas’ statement and the interest of the materials. Each article is a finished piece of literary art. Here is an example on the simplicity of God. 1504 The question is asked whether God is body, utrum Deus sit corpus. In favor of an affirmative reply is: 1. The consideration that God seems to have a body, for a body has three dimensions, and the Scriptures ascribe to God, height, depth, and length, Job 11:8. 2. Whatever has a figure, has a body. God seems to have a figure, Gen. 1:26, for He said, "Let Us make man in our image." 3. Everything that has parts, has a body. A hand, Job 40:4, and eyes, Ps. 25:15, are ascribed to God. 4. God has a seat and throne, Isa. 6:1. 5. God has a local termination which men may approach, Ps. 24:5.
But on the other hand must be noted what is said in John 4:24, "God is Spirit." The absolute God, therefore, is not a body. 1 No body moves that is not before moved and God is the first mover. 2. God is the first entity, primum ens. 3. God is the noblest among entities.
The answers to the objections are: 1. That the Scripture passages, attributing to God bodily parts, are figurative. 2. The expression "image of God" is used simply to indicate God’s superior excellency over man and man’s excellence over the beasts. 3. The ascription of corporeal senses, such as the eye, is a way of expressing God’s intelligence.
Theological speculation is, with Thomas, not an exhibition of theological acumen, but a pious employment pursued with the end of knowing and worshipping God. It is in keeping with this representation that, on his way to Paris, he is reported to have exclaimed, he would not give Chrysostom on Matthew for all the city. It is also related that during his last years in Naples the Lord, appearing to him, asked what reward he desired, for he had written well on theological questions. Thomas replied. "None other, Lord, but Thyself."
Thomas made a clearer distinction between philosophy and religion, reason and revelation, than had been made before by any of the Schoolmen. The reason is not competent by its own powers to discover the higher truths pertaining to God, such as the doctrine of the Trinity. 1505 The ideas which the natural mind can reach are the praeambula fidei, that is, the ideas which pertain to the vestibule of faith. Theology utilizes the reason, not, it is true, to prove faith, for such a process would take away the merit of faith, but to throw light on doctrines which are furnished by revelation. 1506 Theology is the higher science, both because of the certainty of its data and on account of the superior excellence of its subject-matter. 1507 There is no contradiction between philosophy and theology. Both are fountains of knowledge. Both come from the same God.
As between the Scriptures and the Fathers, Thomas makes a clear distinction. The Church uses both to arrive at and expound the truth. The Scriptures are necessary and final. The testimony of the Fathers is probable. Thomas’ controlling purpose is to properly present the theology of the Church as he found it and nothing more. 1508
Philosophy and theology pursue different methods in searching after truth.9 In philosophy, knowledge based upon the visible creation goes before faith. In theology, or the doctrina fidei, faith looking to God as He is in Himself, precedes knowledge. The existence of God is not exclusively a matter of faith. It has been demonstrated by philosophers by irrefragable proofs. Anselm’s ontological argument, Thomas rejected on the ground that a conception in the mind—esse intellectu — is something different from real existence—esse in re. He adduced four cosmological arguments, and the argument from design. 1510 The cosmological arguments are: 1. Motion presupposes an original mover. 2. An infinite series of causes, it is impossible to conceive. Therefore, there must be a First Cause. 3. The conditional demands that which is absolute, and 4. that which is imperfect implies that which is perfect as its standard. As for the teleological argument, objects and events have the appearance of being controlled by an overruling design as an arrow being shot by an archer. 1511
Creation was not a necessity for God on account of any deficiency within Himself. It was the expression of His love and goodness. With Aristotle, Thomas agrees that by the natural reason the world cannot be proved to have had a beginning.2 The first four things to be created were the realm of spirits, the empyrean, time, and earthly matter. The garden of Eden was a real place. Geographers do not locate it. It is secluded by the barriers of mountains, seas, and a certain tempestuous region. 1513
In discussing the origin of evil, Thomas says that, in a perfect world, there will be all possible grades of being. The weal of the whole is more important than the well-being of any part. By the permission of evil, the good of the whole is promoted. Many good things would be wanting but for evil. As life is advanced by corruption in the natural world, so, for example, patience is developed by persecution.
The natural order cannot bind God. His will is free. He chooses not to work contrary to the natural order, but He works outside of it, praeter ordinem.4 The providence of God includes what to us seems to be accidental. The man digging finds a treasure. To him the discovery is an accident. But the master, who set him to work at a certain place, had this in view.
From the divine providence, as the starting-point, the decree of predestination is elaborated. Thomas represented the semi-Pelagian standpoint. The elect are substituted for the angels who lost their first estate, 1515even as the Gentiles were substituted for the Jews. The number of the elect is unknown, but they are the minority of the race. Reprobation is not a positive act of God. God’s decree is permissive. God loves all men. He leaves men to themselves, and those who are lost, are lost by their own guilt. God’s decree of election includes the purpose to confer grace and glory.
In his treatment of the angels, Thomas practised a commendable self-restraint, as compared with Bonaventura and other Summists.
When he takes up man, the Angelic doctor is relatively most elaborate. In the discussion of man’s original condition and his state after the Fall, many questions are proposed which dialectical dexterity must answer in view of the silence of Scripture. Here are examples. Could Adam in his state of innocence see the angels? Did he have the knowledge of all things? Did he need foods? Were the children born in his state of innocence confirmed in righteousness and had they knowledge of that which is perfect? Would original sin have passed down upon Adam’s posterity, if Adam had refused to join Eve in sinning? 1516
Thomas rejected the traducian view as heretical, and was a creationist.7 Following Peter the Lombard, he held that grace was a superadded gift to Adam, over and above the natural faculties and powers of the soul and body. 1518 This gift disposed man to love God above all things. 1519
Man’s original righteousness, but for the Fall, would have passed down upon Adam’s posterity. The cause of sin was an inordinate love of self.0 Original sin is a disorder of the moral constitution, and shows itself in concupiscence, that is irrational desire. It has become a fixed condition of the race, a corrupt disposition of the soul,—habitus corruptus,—just as sickness is a corrupt condition of the body. The corruption of nature, however, is partial,—a wound, not a total deadness of the moral nature.
Thomas approaches the subject of Christ and redemption by saying that "our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has shown us the way of truth in himself, the way by which we are able to attain through resurrection to the beatitude of immortal life." 1521 Three main questions are taken up: the person of the Saviour, the sacraments, which are the channels of salvation, and the goal or immortal life. The Anselmic view of the atonement is adopted. The infinitude of human guilt makes it fitting that the Son of God should make atonement. God was not, however, shut up to this method. He can forgive sin as He pleases. Thomas takes up all the main data of Christ’s life, from the conception to the crucifixion. Justification is not a progressive process, but a single instantaneous act. 1522 Faith, working by love, lays hold of this grace.
Scarcely any teaching of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas arouses so much revolt in the Christian theology of this age as the teaching about the future estate of unbaptized children dying in infancy. These theologians agree in denying to them all hope of future bliss. They are detained in hell for the sin of Adam, being in no wise bound to Christ in His passion and death by the exercise of faith and love, as the baptized and the patriarchs of the Old Testament are. The sacrament of faith, that is, baptism, not being applied to them, they are forever lost. Baptism liberates from original sin, and without baptism there is no salvation. 1523
The doctrine of the sacraments, as expounded by Thomas, is, in all particulars, the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Christ won grace. The Church imparts it. The sacraments are visible signs of invisible things, as Augustine defined them. The number is seven, corresponding to the seven cardinal virtues and the seven mortal sins. They are remedies for sin, and make for the perfecting of man in righteousness.4 The efficacy lies in a virtue inherent in the sacrament itself, and is not conditioned by faith in the recipient. Three of the sacraments —baptism, confirmation, and ordination—have an indelible character. Every conceivable question pertaining to the sacraments is taken up by Thomas and solved. The treatment of baptism and the eucharist occupies no less than two hundred and fifty pages of Migne’s edition, IV. 600–852.
Baptism, the original form of which was immersion, cleanses from original sin and incorporates into the body of Christ. Children of Jews and infidels are not to be baptized without the consent of their parents. 1525 Ordination is indispensable to the existence of the Church. In the Lord’s Supper the glorified body of the Redeemer is wholly present essentially, but not quantitatively. The words of Christ, "This is my body" are susceptible of only one interpretation—the change of the elements into the veritable body and blood of Christ. The substance of the bread undergoes change. The dimensions of the bread, and its other accidents, remain. The whole body is in the bread, as the whole body is also in the wine. 1526
Penance is efficacious to the removing of guilt incurred after baptism. Indulgences have efficacy for the dead as well as the living. Their dispensation belongs primarily to the pope, as the head of the Church. The fund of merit is the product chiefly of the superabounding merit of Christ, but also of the supererogatory works of the saints.7
In regard to the Last Things, the fire of hell will be physical. The blessed will be able to contemplate the woes of the lost without sorrow, and are led, as Albertus had said, by the sight of these woes to praise God supremely for their own redemption. Their beatitude is not increased by this vision. The body of the resurrection will be the same, even to the bowels.8
In his consideration of ethics, Thomas Aquinas rises far above the other mediaeval writers, and marks an epoch in the treatment of the subject. He devotes to it nearly two hundred questions, or one-third of his entire system of theology. Here his references to the "philosopher" are very frequent.9 It is Thomas’ merit that he proceeds into details in analyzing the conduct of daily life. 1530 To give an example, he discusses the question of drunkenness, and, with Aristotle, decides that it is no excuse for crime. 1531 Thomas, however, also allows himself to be led into useless discussions where sophistry has free play, as when he answers the questions, whether a "man should love his child more than his father," or "his mother more than his father."
Thomas opens his ethical treatment with a discussion of the highest good, that is, blessedness,—beatitudo,—which does not consist in riches, honor, fame, power, or pleasure. 1532 Riches only minister to the body, and the more we have of them, the more are they despised, on account of their insufficiency to meet human needs; as our Lord said of the waters of the world, that whoever drinks of them shall thirst again, John 4:13. Blessedness consists in nothing else than the vision of God as He is in Himself. 1533 Satisfaction is a necessary concomitant of blessedness, as warmth is a concomitant of fire.
The virtues are the three religious virtues infused by God,—faith, hope, and love; and the four philosophical or cardinal virtues,—prudence, righteousness, endurance, and continence. These are treated at great length. 1534 The ethical sections conclude with discussions bearing on the habits of the clerical profession. In committing the same sins as laymen do, clerics sin more grievously. "Ought they to live of alms?" This and a multitude of other questions of the same kind are handled with all gravity and metaphysical precision. The essence of Christian perfection is love. 1535
In his theory of Church and State also Thomas did not rise above his age.6 He fixed the theological statement concerning the supremacy of the spiritual realm, the primacy of the pope, and the right to punish heretics with death. His views are laid down in his Summa, and in three other writings, on the Rule of Princes, 1537the Errors of the Greeks, and the contra Gentes. Thomas’ argument is that the State exists to secure for man the highest end of his being, the salvation of his soul, as well as for his material well-being in this life. He shows no concern for the separate European states and nationalities. 1538 As the head of the mystical body of Christ, the pope is supreme over the civil estate, even as the spiritual nature is superior to man’s physical nature. Christian kings owe him subjection, as they owe subjection to Christ himself, for the pope is Peter’s successor and the vicar of Christ. 1539 The monarchia Christi has taken the place of the old Roman imperium.
As for the Church itself, Rome is the mistress and mother of all churches. To obey her is to obey Christ. This is according to the decision of the holy councils and the holy Fathers. 1540 The unity of the Church presupposes a supreme centre of authority. 1541 To the pope, it belongs to determine what is of faith. Yea, subjection to him is necessary to salvation. 1542 High churchmanship could no further go.
In his declarations about heresy and its treatment, Thomas materially assisted in making the persecution of heretics unto death the settled policy of the Church and the State. At any rate he cleared away all objections as far as it was possible to clear them away. Heresy, as has already been said, he taught, is a crime to be punished like coin-clipping. No one may be compelled to enter the Church, but once having entered it and turned heretic, he must, if necessary, be forced by violent measures to obey the faith—haeretici sunt compellendi ut fidem teneant. It will thus be seen from this survey, which is supplemented in the chapters on the sacraments, the future state and Mariology, that the theology of the Angelic doctor and the theology of the Roman Catholic Church are identical in all particulars except the immaculate conception. He who understands Thomas understands the mediaeval theology at its best and will be in possession of the doctrinal system of the Roman Church.
Thomas Aquinas was elevated by the Dominican order to the position of authoritative teacher in 1286. His scholars were numerous, but his theology was not universally accepted.
Some of his statements were condemned by the University of Paris as early as 1277, and about 1285 William of Ware, 1543trained at Oxford, which was a citadel of the Franciscans, wrote against the eminent Dominican. Soon after the death of the Franciscan Duns Scotus, the differences between him and Thomas were emphasized, and involved the two orders in controversy for centuries. No less than eighty-six theological differences between these two teachers were tabulated. 1544
The theology of Thomas Aquinas controlled Dante. The first printed commentary on the Summa was written by Cardinal Cajetan, Venice, 1507–1522. The Thomists lost by the decree of the immaculate conception of Mary, 1854. That doctrine had been the chief bone of contention between them and the Franciscans. The decision of Leo XIII., making Thomas’ theology and philosophy the standard for all Catholic teaching, has again, as it were, equalized matters.
The Protestant Reformers, in their indignation against the Scholastic theology, could not do justice to Thomas Aquinas. Luther went so far as to call his Summa the quintessence of all heresies, meaning papal doctrines. He spoke of him as "the fountain and original soup of all heresy, error, and Gospel havoc, as his books bear witness."5 "You are much to be condemned," Luther said to Prierias. "for daring to obtrude upon us, as articles of faith, the opinions of that sainted man, Thomas, and his frequent false conclusions." On one occasion, he compared Thomas to the star of the book of Revelation which fell from heaven, the empty speculations of Aristotle to the smoke of the bottomless pit, the universities to the locusts, and Aristotle himself to his master Apollyon. 1546
Such polemic extravagances have long since yielded to a more just, historical estimate of this extraordinary man. Thomas merits our admiration by his candor and clearness as a systematic theologian, and by his sincerity and purity as an ethical thinker. In the great fundamentals of the Christian system he was scriptural and truly catholic. His errors were the errors of his age above which he was not able to rise, as three centuries later the clear and logical Protestant theologian, John Calvin, was not able in some important particulars to rise above the beliefs current in his time, and that in spite of his diligent study of the Scriptures and wide acquaintance with their teachings.
The papal estimate, as given expression to in the encyclicals of Leo XIII., is a practical denial of any progress in theology since the thirteenth century, and in effect ignores the scientific discoveries of ages. From the standpoint of an unalterable Catholic orthodoxy, Leo made no mistake in fixing upon Thomas Aquinas as the model expounder of Christian doctrine. Protestants differ, regarding no theologian since the Apostles as infallible. They have no expectation that the Schoolman’s argumentation will settle the theological and religious unrest of these modern days, which grows out of biblical theories and scientific and religious studies of which that great teacher never dreamed, and worldwide problems which never entered into his mind.
The present age is not at all concerned with many of the curious questions which Thomas and the other Schoolmen proposed. Each studious age has its own problems to settle and its own phases of religious doubt to adjust its fundamental teaching to. The mediaeval systems can no more be expected to meet the present demands of theological controversy than the artillery used on the battlefield of Crécy can meet the demands of modern warfare.7 The rights of private judgment are being asserted more and more, and, as there is some reason to suppose, even within the pale of the Roman communion. In the broader communion of the whole Church, we are glad to think that both Leo XIII., the wise pope, and Thomas Aquinas, the clear-eyed Schoolman, occupy a high place as members of the company of the eminent Churchmen of all ages; but this is not because they were free from mistakes to which our fallible human nature makes us subject, but because in the essential matters of the Christian life they were expounders of the Gospel.
§ 109. Bonaventura.
Literature: Works. —edd. Strassburg, 1482; Nürnberg 1499, 4 vols.; Rome, 1588–1596, 8 vols. Lyons, 1668, 7 vols. Venice, 1751, 13 vols.; Paris, A. C. Peltier, ed., 1864–1871, 15 vols., and Quaracchi, 1882–1902, prepared by the Franciscans. —B. Bonelli: Prodromus ad omnia opp. S. Bon., Bassani, 1767. —W. A. Hollenberg: Studien zum Bon., Berlin, 1862.—A. M. da Vicenza: D. heil. Bon., Germ. trans. from the Italian, Paderborn, 1874.—J. Richard: Etude sur le mysticisme speculatif de S. Bon., Heidelberg, 1869.—A trans. of the Meditations of Bon. on the Life of Christ by W. H. Hutchings, London, 1881.—A. Margerie: Essai sur la Phil. de S. Bon., Paris, 1855.—J. Krause: Lehre d. heil. Bon. über die Natur der geistl. und körperl. Wesen, Paderborn, 1888.—L. de Chérancé: S. Bonaventure, Paris, 1899.—Stöckl, II. 880–915.—The Doctrinal Histories of Schwane, etc.—Preger: Deutsche Mystik, I. 51–43. For other Lit. see Potthast, II. 1216.
Contemporary with Thomas Aquinas, even to dying the same year, was John Bonaventura. Thomas we think of only as theologian. Bonaventura was both a theologian and a distinguished administrator of the affairs of his order, the Franciscans. The one we think of as precise in his statements, the other as poetical in his imagery. Bonaventura 1221–1274, called the Seraphic doctor,—doctor seraphicus,—was born in Tuscany. The change from his original name, John Fidanza, was due to his recovery from a sickness at the age of four, in answer to the intercession of Francis d’Assisi. When the child began to show signs of recovery, his mother exclaimed, O buon ventura, good fortune! This is the saint’s own story. 1548
The boy entered the Franciscan order, 1238. After having spent three years in Paris under Alexander of Hales, the teacher is reported to have said, "in brother Bonaventura Adam seems not to have sinned." He taught in Paris, following John of Parma, on John’s promotion to the office of general of the order of the Franciscans, 1247. He lived through the conflict between the university and the mendicant orders, and in answer to William de St. Amour’s tract, de periculis novissimorum temporum, attacking the principle of mendicancy, Bonaventura wrote his tract on the Poverty of Christ.9
In 1257, he was chosen head of the Franciscan order in succession to John of Parma. He took a middle position between the two parties which were contending in the Franciscan body and has been called the second founder of the order. By the instruction of the first Franciscan general council at Narbonne, 1260, he wrote the Legenda S. Francisi, the authoritative Franciscan Life of the saint.0 It abounds in miracles, great and small. In his Quaestiones circa regulam and in letters he presents a picture of the decay of the Franciscans from the ideal of their founders. He narrowly escaped being closely identified with English Church history, by declining the see of York, 1265. In 1273 he was made cardinal-bishop of Albano. To him was committed a share in the preparations for the council of Lyons, but he died soon after the opening of the council, July 14, 1274. The sacrament of extreme unction was administered by the pope and the funeral took place in the presence of the solemn assembly of dignitaries gathered from all parts of Christendom. He was buried at Lyons. 1551 He was canonized in 1482 and declared a "doctor of the church," 1587.
Gerson wrote a special panegyric of Bonaventura and said that he was the most profitable of the doctors, safe and reliable in teaching, pious and devout. He did not minister to curiosity nor mix up secular dialectics and physics with theological discussion. 1552 Dante places him at the side of Thomas Aquinas,
"who with pure interest
Preferred each heavenly to each earthly aim." 1553
These two distinguished men will always be brought into companionship.4 Stöckl, the historian of mediaeval theology, calls them the illuminating stars on the horizon of the thirteenth century. 1555 Neither of them rose so high above his contemporaries as did Bernard a hundred years before. But both cast lustre upon their age and are the most illustrious names of their respective orders, after Francis and Dominic themselves. Thomas had the keener mind, excelling in power of analysis. Bonaventura indulged the habit of elaboration. The ethical element was conspicuous in Thomas, the mystical in Bonaventura. Thomas was the more authoritative teacher, Bonaventura the more versatile writer. Both were equally champions of the theology and organization of the mediaeval Church.
Bonaventura enjoyed a wide fame as a preacher. 1556 He was also a poet, and has left the most glowing panegyric of Mary in the form of psalms as well as in prose.
Of his theological writings the most notable is his Commentary on the Sentences of the Lombard. 1557 His Breviloquium and Centiloquium are next in importance. The Breviloquium, 1558which Funk calls the best mediaeval compend of theology, takes up the seven chief questions: the Trinity, creation, sin, the incarnation, the grace of the Holy Spirit, the sacramental medium, and the final state. The Preface gives a panegyric of the Scriptures and states the author’s views of Scriptural interpretation. Like all the Schoolmen, Bonaventura had a wide acquaintance with Scripture and shows an equipoise of judgment which usually keeps him from extravagance in doctrinal statement. However, he did not rise above his age and he revelled in interrogations about the angels, good and evil, which seem to us to be utterly trivial and have no bearing on practical religion. He set himself to answer more than one hundred of these, and in Peltier’s edition, his angelology and demonology occupy more than two hundred pages of two columns each. 1559 The questions discussed are such as these: Could God have made a better world? could He have made it sooner than He did? can an angel be in several places at the same time? can several angels be at the same time in the same place? 1560was Lucifer at the moment of his creation corrupt of will? did he belong to the order of angels? is there a hierarchy among the fallen angels? have demons a foreknowledge of contingent events? 1561 Descending to man, Bonaventura discusses whether sexual intercourse took place before the fall, whether the multiplication of men and women was intended to be equal, which of the two sinned the more grievously, the man or the woman.
Bonaventura differs from Thomas in giving proof that the world is not eternal. The mark of a foot, which represents created matter, is not of the same duration as the foot itself, for the mark was made at some time by the foot. And, following Plato as against Aristotle, he declared that matter not only in its present form but also in its essence is not eternal. The world is not thinkable without man, for it has all the marks of a habitation fitted up for a human being. Christ would not have become incarnate without sin.
In the doctrine of the immaculate conception, Bonaventura agreed with Thomas in denying to Mary freedom from original sin and disagreed with his fellow Franciscan, Duns Scotus, whose teaching has become dogma in the Roman Catholic communion.
It is as a mystic and as the author of the life of St. Francis, rather than as a dogmatician that Bonaventura has a characteristic place among the Schoolmen. 1562 He evidently drew from the mystics of St. Victor, used their terminology 1563and did not advance beyond them. His mysticism has its finest statement in his Journey of the Mind to God. 1564 Upon this pilgrimage of the soul to the highest divine mysteries, no one can enter without grace from above. Nor can the journey be continued without earnest prayer, pure meditation, and a holy life. Devout prayer is the mother and beginning of the upward movement towards God. Contemplation leads us first outside ourselves to behold the works of God in the visible world. It then brings us back to consider God’s image in ourselves arid at last we rise above ourselves to behold the divine being as He is in Himself. 1565 Each of these activities is twofold, so that there are six steps in the progress of the soul. In the final step, the soul contemplates the Trinity and God’s absolute goodness.
Beyond these six steps is the state of rapture, the ecstatic vision, as the Sabbath day of rest followed the six days of labor. The doorway to this mystical life is Christ. The experience, which the soul shall have hereafter, is an ocean of beatific ecstasy. No one can know it but the one who receives it; he only receive it who desires it; be only desire it who is inflamed by the baptizing fire of the Holy Spirit. It is a grace not a doctrine, a desire not a concept, a habit of prayer not a studious task, a bride not a teacher. It is of God not of man, a flame of ardent love, transferring us into the presence and being of God. 1566 As in the case of Bernard, so also in the case of Bonaventura, this mystical tendency found expression in devout hymns.
§ 110. Duns Scotus. Literature: Works.—Complete ed. by Luke Wadding, 12 vols., Lyons, 1639, with a Life by Wadding, and the glosses of Hugh MacCaghwell (Hugo Cavellus, d. 1626), abp. of Armagh, Maurice O’Fihely, abp. of Tuam, etc. *New ed., 26 vols., Paris, 1891–1895, with some changes.—The Opus Oxoniense, Vienna, 1481, ed. by MacCaghwell together with the Reportata Parisiensia and Quaestiones Quodlibetales and a Life, Antwerp, 1620.—The Quaestiones Quodlibet., Venice, 1474, 1505, Paris, 1513.—The Logical Treatises were publ. at Barcelona, 1475, Venice, 1491–1493, and ed. by O’Fihely, 1504.—Duns’ system was expounded by Angelo Vulpi in Sacr. theol. Summa Joan. Scoti, 12 vols., Naples, 1622–1640. For biogr. and analytic works publ. before 1800, see Rigg in Dict. Of Natl. Biog. XVI. 216 sqq.—Baumgarten-Crusius: De theol. Scoti, Jena, 1826.—Schneid: D. Körperlehre des J. Duns Sc. und ihr Verhältniss zum Thomismus und Atomismus, Mainz, 1879.—*C. Werner: J. Duns Sc., Vienna, 1881, also S. Thomas von Aquino, III, 3–101.—Kahl: D. Primat des Willens bei Augustinus, Duns Sc. und Des Cartes, Strassb., 1886.—*R. Seeberg: D. Theologie des J. Duns Sc., Leip., 1900; also his art. in Herzog, 3d ed. and his Dogmengesch., II. 129 sqq.—Renan: art. Scotus, in Hist. Lit. de France, vol. XXV.—*Döllinger: art. in Wetzer-Welte, X. 2123–2133.—J. M. Rigg: in Dict. Natl. Biog., XVI. 216–220.—*Schwane: Dogmengesch., pp. 74–76, etc.—Harnack: Dogmengesch., III. 459 sqq.—*A. Ritschl: Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung, I. 58–86; Gesch. des Pietismus, I. 470.—P. Minges: Ist Duns Scotus Indeterminist? Münster, 1905, p. 139.—The Histt. of Philos. The last of the scholastic thinkers of the first rank and the most daring of mediaeval logicians is John Duns Scotus. With his death the disintegration of scholastic theology begins. This remarkable man, one of the intellectual prodigies of the race, may have been under forty years of age when death overtook him. His dialectic genius and ingenuity won for him the title of the Subtle doctor, doctor subtilis. His intellectual independence is shown in the freedom with which he subjected his predecessors to his searching and often sophistical criticisms. Anselm, the St. Victors, Albert the Great, Bonaventura, Thomas Aquinas, Henry of Ghent, and other Schoolmen he does not hesitate to mention by name and to assail their views. The discussions of Thomas Aquinas are frequently made the subject of his attack. Duns became the chief theological ornament of the Franciscan order and his theology was defended by a distinct school, which took his name, the Scotists. This school and the Thomists, who followed the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, are the leading schools of theology produced in the Middle Ages and came into violent controversy.
Duns’ mind was critical rather than constructive. The abstruseness of his style offers difficulties almost insuperable to the comprehension of the modern student. 1567 He developed no complete system. 1568 It was his characteristic to disturb faith and to open again questions to which Thomas Aquinas and other Schoolmen were supposed to have given final statements. The sharp distinction he made between faith and knowledge, dogma and reason, and his use of the arguments from silence and probability, undermined confidence in the infallibility of the Church and opened the way for the disrepute into which scholasticism fell. Duns denied that the being of God and other dogmas can be proved by the reason, and he based their acceptance solely upon the authority of the Church. The analytic precision, as well as lucid statement of Thomas and Peter the Lombard, are wanting in the Subtle doctor, and the mystical element, so perceptible in the writings of Anselm, Thomas, and Bonaventura, gives way to a purely speculative interest.
What a contrast Duns presents to the founder of his order, Francis d’Assisi, the man of simple faith and creed, and popular speech and ministries! Of all the Schoolmen, Duns wandered most in the labyrinth of metaphysical subtleties, and none of them is so much responsible as he for the current opinion that mediaeval theology and fanciful speculation are interchangeable terms. His reputation for specious ratiocination has given to the language the term, "dunce." 1569
Of his personal history scarcely anything is known, and his extensive writings furnish not a single clew. Even the time and place of his entering the Franciscan order cannot be made out with certainty. The only fixed date in his career is the date which brought it to a close. He died at Cologne, Nov. 8, 1308. The date of his birth is placed between 1265–1274.0
England, Scotland, and Ireland have contended for the honor of being the Schoolman’s native land, with the probability in favor of England. Irishmen since the fifteenth century have argued for Dun, or Down, in Ulster. Scotchmen plead for Dunse in Berwickshire, while writers, unaffected by patriotic considerations, for the most part agree upon Dunstane in Northumberland.1 The uncertain tradition runs that he studied at Merton College, Oxford, and became teacher there on the transfer of William of Ware to Paris. In 1304, he was in the French capital, where he won the doctor’s degree. In 1308, be was transferred by the general of his order to Cologne, where he died soon after. The story ran that he was buried alive. 1572 In 1707, the Franciscans tried in vain to secure his canonization. A monument, reared to Duns in the Franciscan church at Cologne, 1513, bore this inscription:—
Scotia gave me birth, England nursed me,
Gaul educated me, Cologne holds my ashes. 1573
Among the stories told of Duns Scotus is the following, behind which more wisdom hides than is found in whole chapters of his labored discussions. On one occasion he stopped to speak to an English farmer on the subject of religion. The farmer, who was engaged in sowing, turned and said: "Why do you speak to me? If God has foreknowledge that I will be saved, I will be saved whether I do good or ill." Duns replied: Then, if God has foreknowledge that grain will grow out of this soil, it will grow whether you sow or withhold your hand. You may as well save yourself the labor you are at."
The works of Duns Scotus include commentaries on Aristotle, an extended commentary on the Sentences of the Lombard, called the Opus oxoniense, his theological lectures delivered at Paris, known as the Reportata parisiensia4and his Quaestiones quodlibetales, being sundry discussions on theological and philosophical problems. A commentary on Genesis and one on the Gospels, sermons and other writings of doubtful or denied authenticity are ascribed to Duns. 1575
In philosophy Duns was a moderate realist. The universals are not intellectual fictions, fictiones intellectus. Our ideas presuppose their reality.6 The universal is gotten by abstraction and by noting points of agreement in individuals, and in a certain sense it is a creation of the mind. The individual has its individuality, or haecceitas, not by reason of its differentiation from something else but by its own real essence, or quidditas. A stone is an individual by reason of something positive, intrinsic within itself. The individual is the final form of being, ultima realitas entis.
Theology is a practical science and its chief value is in furnishing to the will the materials of faith to lighten it on the path of virtuous action.
The Scriptures contain what is to be believed, but the authority of the Church establishes what these truths are. Articles of faith are to be accepted, not because they are demonstrable by reason. Reason is unreliable or, at best, obscure and many truths it cannot prove, such as the soul’s immortality, the unity of God, and transubstantiation. A doctrine such as the descent into hell, which is not found in the Scriptures is, nevertheless, to be accepted because it is found in the Apostles’ Creed. Other truths the Church possesses which are not found in the Scriptures. Our belief in the Scriptures rests ultimately on the authority of the Church. 1577 The doctrines in which Duns differed most from his predecessors were the doctrines of God and transubstantiation. In his treatment of God, Duns shows himself to be the most positive of determinists. The controlling element in the divine nature is the will of God, and to submit to the will of God is the highest goal the human will can reach. Here he differs widely from Thomas Aquinas, who places God’s intelligence above His will. The sufficient explanation of God’s action is His absolute will. 1578 God is good because God wills to be so. The will of God might have made what is now bad good, had God so chosen. He can do all things except what is logically absurd. 1579 He could have saved Judas after he was condemned, but He cannot make a stone holy or change an event which has already happened.
The will of God determines the salvation of men. The predestination of the elect is an act purely of God’s determination. The non-elect are reprobated in view of their foreseen demerit. On the other hand, Duns seems to hold fast to the doctrine that the elect merit the eternal reward by good works. Without attempting to exhaust the apparent contradiction between divine foreordination and human responsibility, he confesses the mystery attaching to the subject. 1580
Sin is not infinite, for it is connected with finite beings. Original righteousness was a superadded gift, forfeited through the first sin. Eve’s sin was greater than Adam’s, for Adam shrank from offending Eve—Eve sought to be equal with God. Man’s freedom consists in his ability to choose the contrary. Original sin consists in the loss of original righteousness which Adam owed to God.1 Sin does not pass down to Adam’s descendants by way of infection. Duns separated from Augustine in denying the doctrine of moral inability, the servum arbitrium. It belongs to the very nature of the will to be free. This freedom, however, the will can lose by repeated volitions. Sin is inherent in the will alone, and concupiscence is only an inclination of the will to desire objects of pleasure immoderately. 1582
The ultimate questions why God permitted evil, and how He could foreknow evil would occur without also predetermining it, find their solution only in God’s absolute will. God willed, and that must suffice for the reason.
The infinite value of the atonement likewise finds its explanation in the absolute will of God. Christ died as a man, and for that reason his merit of itself was not infinite. An angel, or a man, free from original sin, might have made efficient atonement if God had so willed. Nothing in the guilt of sin made it necessary for the Son of God to die. God determined to accept Christ’s obedience and, in view of it, to impart grace to the sinner. Duns follows closely Anselm’s theory, whose principles he carefully states.3
In his treatment of transubstantiation, Duns vigorously attacked the view of Thomas Aquinas as a transition of the body of Christ into the bread. He argued that if there were such transition, then at celebrations of the eucharist during the three days of Christ’s burial the elements would have been changed into his dead body. To avoid this difficulty he enunciated the theory that the body of Christ, as of every man, has more than one form, that is, in addition to the rational soul, a forma mixti sive corporeitatis, which is joined to matter and constitutes it a human body. Into this corporal form of Christ, corporeitas, the elements are transmuted and this form remained with Christ’s corpse in the grave. Duns declared that the doctrine of transubstantiation cannot be proved with certainty from the Scriptures, nor at all by the reason. He then argued that it is more probable than any other theory because the Church has accepted it, and the dogma is most in keeping with God’s omnipotence. The dogma must be accepted on the authority of the Church.4
The doctrine upon whose development the Subtle doctor had altogether the most influence is the doctrine of the immaculate conception, which he taught in the form in which it was proclaimed a dogma, by Pius IX., 1854. Departing from the statements of Anselm, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventura, Duns taught that Mary was conceived without sin. His theory is presented at length in the chapter on the Virgin Mary. The story ran that, in championing this theory, at a public disputation at Paris, he controverted Thomas’ position with no less than two hundred arguments.5 Duns’ frequent attacks upon Thomas’ statements were the sufficient cause of controversy between the followers of the two teachers, and this controversy belongs to the number of the more bitter controversies that have been carried on within the Roman Catholic communion. It was a contest, however, not between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, but between two eminent teachers equally in good standing, and between the two orders they represented.
Döllinger expressed the opinion that the controversy was turned into a blessing for theology by keeping it from "stagnation and petrifaction," and into a blessing for the Church, which took under its protection both systems and kept each from arrogating to itself the right of final authority.
The common view in regard to the place of Duns Scotus in the history of doctrine is that he was a disturber of the peace. Without adding any element of permanent value to theological thought, he shook to its base the scholastic structure upon which Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, and other theologians had wrought for nearly two centuries. The opinion will, no doubt, continue to prevail that Duns was a master in intellectual ingenuity, but that his judgment was unsound. 1586 It is fair to say that Seeberg of Berlin, in his recent elaborate and thorough monograph on the theology of Duns Scotus, takes an entirely different view. To him Duns was not a disturber of theological thought, but the head of a new period of development and worthy of equal honor with Thomas Aquinas. Yea, he ascribes to him a more profound and extensive influence upon theology than Thomas exerted. He broke a new path, and "was a historical figure of epoch-making importance." 1587
By his speculative piquancy, on the one hand, Duns strengthened the desire of certain groups in Europe for a saner method of theological discussion; and on the other hand stimulated pious minds along the Rhine to search along a better way after personal piety, as did Tauler and the German mystics. The succeeding generation of Schoolmen was brought by him as their leader into a disputatious attitude. What else could be expected when Duns, contrary to the fundamental principles of Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, and other divines, did not shrink from declaring a thing might at the same time be true in philosophy and false in theology?8
Ockam, who shared Duns’ determinism, called him "the doctor of our order." In the dispute over the immaculate conception in the fifteenth century no divine was more quoted than he. A century later Archbishop MacCaghwell and other Irish theologians warmly expatiated upon his powers, wrote his biography, and edited his works.
One of the works of the Reformation was to dethrone Duns Scotus from his seat of authority as a teacher. Richard Layton wrote to Cromwell, 1535, "We have set Dunce in Bocardo and banished him from Oxford forever, and he is now made a common servant to every man fast nailed up upon posts in all houses of common easement."9 Luther called him the "most arrant of sophists," and he made him responsible for a revival of Pelagianism and exalting the consequent value of good works by emphasizing the freedom of the will and the natural powers. 1590 Duns had no presentiment of any other order than the papal and said nothing looking toward a reformation in doctrine.
Among the contemporaries with whom Duns had theological affinity were Henry of Ghent and the Englishman, Richard Middleton. Henry of Ghent, named doctor solemnis, a celebrated teacher in Paris, was born at Ghent and died, 1293, in Paris or Tournay. His Quodlibeta and Summa were published in Paris, 1518 and 1520. 1591 At points Henry combated Thomas Aquinas and prepared the way for Duns Scotus, who adopts some of Henry’s views. Henry’s discussions run far into the region of abstruse metaphysics. He leaned to Platonism and was a realist.
Richard Middleton was supposedly a predecessor of Duns at Oxford. Little is known of his life. He was a Franciscan, a scholar at Paris, and was appointed by the general of his order to examine into the doctrines of Peter Olivi, 1278–1288. He died about 1307. His commentary on the Sentences of the Lombard survived him. 1592 Middleton was known at Paris as doctor solidus. At the council of Constance he was cited as an authority against Wyclif. His name is inscribed on the tomb of Duns Scotus at Cologne, and the tradition runs that Duns was his pupil. In his teachings regarding the will, which he defined as the noblest of the soul’s faculties, he may have influenced Duns, as Seeberg attempts to prove. Middleton compared the mind to a servant who carries a light in front of his master and does nothing more than to show his master the way, while his master commands and directs as he pleases.
§ 111. Roger Bacon.
Literature: Works.—Among the early publications were Speculum alchymiae, Nurnb., 1541, Engl. trans. London, 1597; De mirabili potestate artis et naturae, Paris, 1542, Engl. trans. 1659; De retardandis senectutis accidentibus, Oxford, 1590, Engl. trans.; The Cure of Old Age and Preservation of Youth, by the great mathematician and physician, Roger Bacon, ed. by R. Browne, London, 1683; Opus majus (six books only), by Samuel Jebb, London, 1733, reprinted Venice, 1750; Opus minus and Opus tertium, with valuable Preface by J. S. Brewer, London, 1859, Rolls Series; Opus majus, with valuable Preface, by J. H. Bridges, all the seven books, 3 vols., London, 1900.
Biographical: Emile Charles: B. Bacon, sa vie, ses ouvrages, ses doctrines, Paris, 1861.—L. Schneider; R. Bacon, etc., Augsb., 1873-the Prefaces of BREWER and BRIDGES as above.—Professor R. Adamson, in "Ency. Britt." III. 218–222, and Dict. of Natl. Biog., II. 374–378. White: Warfare of Science and Theol. I. 386–393.
Duns Scotus was a Schoolman and nothing more. Roger Bacon, his contemporary, belongs to a different order of men, though one of the greatest theological thinkers of his age. He did not take up the great questions of theology and seek to justify them by dialectical processes. The most he did was to lay down principles for the study of theology; but it is as the pioneer of modern science and the scientific method of experiment that he has his distinguished place in the mediaeval galaxy of great minds. The fact that he had to suffer for his boldness of speech by imprisonment and enforced silence increases the interest felt in his teachings. His method of thought was out of accord with the prevailing method of his times. He was far ahead of his age, a seer of another era when the study of nature was to be assigned its proper place of dignity, and theology ceased to be treated as a field for dialectical ingenuity.
Born in Somersetshire, England, Roger Bacon, called the Wonderful doctor, mirabilis doctor, 1214(?)-1294, studied in Oxford, where he came into close contact with Robert Grosseteste and Adam Marsh, whom he often mentions with admiration. He went to Paris about 1240, continued his studies, and entered the Franciscan order. He speaks in his Opus tertium of having been engaged more than twenty years in the study of the languages and science, and spending £2000 in these studies and the purchase of books and instruments, or £600 or £700 present value. 1593 He went back to Oxford, but was recalled to Paris by his order, at the head of which Bonaventura then stood, and placed in more or less strict confinement, 1257. At first he was denied the privilege of writing, but was allowed to give instruction to young students in the languages.
Clement IV. who, before his elevation to the papal chair and as legate in England, had been his friend, requested copies of his writings. In about eighteen months, 1264–1266, Bacon prepared the Opus majus and then its two appendages, the Opus minus and the Opus tertium, and sent them to the pope. In 1268, he was again in Oxford. In 1278, he was relegated to closer confinement on account of "certain suspected " about which we are not more particularly informed, adduced by the Franciscan general, Jerome of Ascoli, afterwards Nicolas IV. He was set free again in 1292, as we know. His body lies buried in the Franciscan church of Oxford. It was said that his books were nailed to the walls of the library at Oxford and left to perish. The story may be dismissed as untrue, but it indicates the estimate put upon the scholar’s writings.
If we were to depend upon the influence he had upon his age, Roger Bacon would have no place here. At best he was thought of as a dabbler in the dark arts and a necromancer. He had no place of authority among his contemporaries, and the rarest notice of him is found for several centuries. D’Ailly, without quoting his name, copied a large paragraph from him about the propinquity of Spain and India which Columbus used in his letter to Ferdinand, 1498. It was not till the Renaissance that his name began to be used. Since the publication of his writings by Samuel Jebb, 1733, he has risen more and more into repute as one who set aside the fantastical subtleties of scholasticism for a rational treatment of the things we see and know, and as the scientific precursor of the modern laboratory and modern invention. Prophetic foresight of certain modern inventions is ascribed to him, but unjustly. He, however, expounded the theory of the rays of light, proved the universe to be spherical, and pronounced the smallest stars larger than the earth. 1594 With Anaxagoras, he ascribed the Nile to the melting of the snows in Ethiopia. 1595 He was not the inventor of gunpowder of which the Arabs knew.
Bacon’s works, so far as they are published, combine the study of theology, philosophy, and what may be called the physical sciences. His Opus majus in seven books, the Opus minus, and Opus tertium are measurably complete. Of his Scriptum principale or Compendium studii philosophiae, often referred to in the writings just mentioned, only fragments were written, and of these only portions are left. The work was intended to be in four volumes and to include a treatment of grammar and logic, mathematics, physics, and last metaphysics and morals. The Communio naturalium and other treatises are still in manuscript.
The Opus majus in its list of subjects is the most encyclopaedic work of the Middle Ages. It takes up as separate departments the connection of philosophy and theology, astronomy including geography, astrology, barology, alchemy, agriculture, optics or perspective, and moral philosophy, medicine and experimental science, scientia experimentalis.
By agriculture, he meant the study of the vegetable and animal worlds, and such questions as the adaptation of soil to different classes of plants. In the treatment of optics he presents the construction of the eye and the laws of vision. Mathematics are the foundation of all science and of great value for the Church. Alchemy deals with liquids, gases, and solids, and their generation. A child of his age, Bacon held that metals were compound bodies whose elements can be separated. 1596 In the department of astrology, in accordance with the opinions prevailing in his day, he held that the stars and planets have an influence upon all terrestrial conditions and objects, including man. Climate, temperament, motion, all are more or less dependent upon their potency. As the moon affects the tides, so the stars implant dispositions good and evil. This potency influences but does not coerce man’s free will. The comet of 1264, due to Mars, was related to the wars of England, Spain, and Italy. 1597 In the department of optics and the teachings in regard to force, he was far ahead of his age and taught that all objects were emitting force in all directions. Experimental science governs all the preceding sciences. Knowledge comes by reasoning and experience. Doubts left by reasoning are tried by experience, which is the ultimate test of truth.
The practical tendency of Bacon’s mind is everywhere apparent. He was an apostle of common sense. Speaking of Peter of Maricourt of Paris, otherwise unknown, he praises him for his achievements in the science of experimental research and said: "Of discourses and battles of words he takes no heed. Through experiment he gains knowledge of natural things, medical, chemical, indeed of everything in the heavens and the earth. He is ashamed that things should be known to laymen, old women, soldiers, and ploughmen, of which he is himself ignorant." He also confessed he had learned incomparably more from men unlettered and unknown to the learned than he had learned from his most famous teachers. 1598
Bacon attacked the pedantry of the scholastic method, the frivolous and unprofitable logomachy over questions which were above reason and untaught by revelation. Again and again he rebuked the conceit and metaphysical abstruseness of the theological writers of his century, especially Alexander of Hales and also Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. He used, at length, Alfarabius, Avicenna, Algazel, and other Arabic philosophers, as well as Aristotle. Against the pride and avarice and ignorance of the clergy he spoke with unmeasured severity and declared that the morals of Seneca and his age were far higher than the morals of the thirteenth century except that the ancient Romans did not know the virtues of love, faith, and hope which were revealed by Christ.9 He quoted Seneca at great length. Such criticism sufficiently explains the treatment which the English Franciscan received.
This thirteenth-century phiIosopher pronounced the discussion over universals and individuals foolish and meaningless. One individual is of more value than all the universals in the world. A universal is nothing but the agreement between several objects, convenientia plurium individuorum convenientia individui respectu alterius. That which is common between two men and which an ass or a pig does not possess, is their universal.
In the department of philology, 1600and in the interest of a correction of the Vulgate and a new translation of Aristotle is works, he urged the study of Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. He carried down the history of the translations of the Bible to Jerome.
He recommended the study of comparative religions which he arranges in six classes,—Pagan, Idolater, Tartar (Buddhist), Saracen, Jew, and Christian,—and concludes that there can be only one revelation and one Church because there is only one God. 1601 He finds in miracles especially the power to forgive sins, the chief proof of Christ’s divinity, and gives six reasons for accepting the testimony of the Christian writers; namely, sanctity, wisdom, miraculous powers, firmness under persecution, uniformity of faith, and their success in spite of humble origin. It is characteristic of this philosopher that in this treatment he avails himself of the information brought to Europe by William Rubruquis whom he quotes. 1602
He regarded philosophy as having been revealed to the Jewish patriarchs, and the Greek philosophy as having been under the guidance of providence, nay, as having been a divine gift, as Augustine said of Socrates.3 Aristotle is the great phiIosopher, and philosophy leads to the threshold of revealed truth, and it is the duty of Christians to avail themselves of it. 1604 As Solomon, a type of Christ, employed Hiram and other outside workers at the temple, so the Church should utilize heathen philosophers. 1605 He gives five reasons why the early Church did not make use of Greek philosophy except for the regulation of the calendar and its music, 1606a proposition which would seem very crude to the present advocates of the theory of the dependence of the Apostolic writers upon Hellenic modes of thought. Bacon magnified the supreme authority of the Scriptures in which all truth strikes its roots and which laymen should read. All sciences and knowledge are to be subordinated to the Catholic Church, which is the appointed guardian of human interests. Theology is the science which rules over all the others. 1607 It seems almost incongruous that Bacon should have brought his Opus majus to a close by arguing for the "sacrament of the altar" as containing in itself the highest good, that is, the union of God with man. In the host the whole of the Deity is contained.
The admirable editor of Bacon’s Opus majus, Dr. Bridges, has compared Bacon’s procedure to a traveller in a new world, who brings back specimens of produce with the view of persuading the authorities of his country to undertake a more systematic exploration. 1608 Without entering into the discussion of those great themes which the other Schoolmen so much delighted in, Bacon asserted the right principle of theological study which excludes from prolonged discussion subjects which have no immediate bearing upon the interests of daily life or personal faith, and pronounced as useless the weary systems which were more the product of human ingenuity in combining words than of a clear, spiritual purpose. To him Abaelard is not to be compared. Abaelard was chiefly a scholastic metaphysician; Bacon an observer of nature. Abaelard gives the appearance of being a vain aspirant after scholastic honors; Bacon of being a patient and conscientious investigator.
Professor Adamson and Dr. Bridges, two eminent Baconian scholars, have placed Roger Bacon at the side of such thinkers as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. A close student of the Middle Ages, Coulton, has recently gone so far as to pronounce him a greater intellect than Thomas Aquinas. 1609 The honor accorded to him in these recent days in circles of scientific research is as genuine as the honor given to the Angelic doctor in the Catholic communion. There is, however, danger of ascribing to him too much. Nevertheless, this forerunner of modern investigation may by common verdict, though unhonored in his own age, come to be placed higher as a benefactor of mankind than the master of metaphysical subtlety, Duns Scotus, who spoke to his age and its immediate successors with authority.