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the vastness of his labours, in soundness of understanding, CHAP. I. and in extent of learning.
The Summa of Aquinas has still its readers; but his subsequent commentaries on Aristotle are deservedly neglected, and the his teaching. crudeness of the reconciliation which he sought to find between pagan philosophy and Christian dogma startled even the orthodox into dissent as the true thought of the Stagirite became more distinctly comprehended. The devout have repudiated his dangerous temerity; the sceptical, his indifference to radical inaffinities. Even in the Church which canonized him there have been not a few who have seen, in the fallacious alliance which he essayed to bring about, the commencement of a method fraught with peril to the faith and with disquiet to the believer. More than a century after his death, Gerson, Criticisms of the chancellor of the university of Paris, and long the reputed author of the Imitatio Christi, declared that Bonaventura, as non immiscens positiones extraneas vel doctrinas sceculares dialecticas aut physicas terminis theologicis obumbratas more multorum, was a far safer guide, and abjured both the Aristotelian philosophy and the attempted reconciliation. Cardinal Alliacus stigmatized the teachers of the new learning Cardinal as false shepherds, and Vincentius Ferrerius complacently called to recollection the saying of Hieronymus, quod Aristoteles et Plato in inferno sunt. Hermann, the Protestant Hermann, editor of Launoy, denounced with equal severity, at the commencement of the eighteenth century, this male sanum philosophiæ Peripateticæ studium, and declared it would have been well had the schools confined themselves to the limits marked out by Boethius and Damascenus, since they had retained scarcely a vestige of true theology. Immodicus Peripatetico philosophiæ amor, wrote Brucker a few years later, Brucker, virum hunc superstitioso obsequio philosopho addictum reduxit, ut theologiæ vulneribus quæ præpostera philosophiæ commixtio inflixerat, nova adderet vulnera, sicque sacram doctrinam vere faceret philosophicam, immo gentilem'. Still heavier falls the censure of Carl Prantl, who indeed has treated both Albertus Prantl, and Aquinas with unwonted harshness, even denying to the
1 Hist. Phil, 805.
men of the
CHAP. I. latterall merit as an originalthinker, and affirming that it could
only be the 'work of a confused understanding,' 'to retain the Aristotelian notion of substance in conjunction with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, or to force the Aristotelian
ethics into the garments of Christian moral philosophy?' Difficulty of It is however scarcely necessary to observe that censures of the School- such as these are strongly opposed to the prevailing sentiperiod.
ments of the Church before the Reformation, and it is easy to understand that, contrasted with the ultra Nominalistic excesses into which the later schoolmen were hurried, the position of Aquinas may have appeared one of comparative safety,—the true Aristotelian mean between unreasoning faith and unrestrained speculation. His repudiation of Averröes was not improbably the salvation of his own authority, for in the history of the Italian universities we have ample evidence that the apprehensions of the Church with respect to the tendencies of the Arabian philosophy were justified by the sequel, and Petrarch has left on notable record some of the traits of that coarsely materialistic spirit, which, taking its rise in the teaching of Avicenna and Averroes, boldly flaunted its colours, in his own day, at Padua and at Venice If again, we pass from the rebuke of the theologian to that of the philosopher, it is but just to remember the multiplicity of the material that Albertus and his disciple found claiming their attention and the vastness of the labours they thus incurred. Theirs was the novelty, the obscurity, the confusion; theirs the loose connotation, the vague nomenclature, the mistiness of thought, through which mainly by its own exertions scholasticism was to arrive at firmer ground. On them it devolved at once to confront the infidel and to appease the bigot, to restore philosophy and to guard the CHAP. I. faith; and if they failed, it must be admitted that their very failures guided the thinkers of the succeeding age; that the paths they tracked out, if afterwards deserted for others, still led to commanding summits, whence amid a clearer air and from a loftier standpoint their followers might survey the unknown land'.
1 Geschichte der Logik, 111 108.
· Petrarch even went so far as to compose a treatise entitled De sui ipsius et multorum aliorum ignorantia, having for its object the rebuking of the pert scepticism which was rife among the young Venetians. In his intercourse with them he tells us that he found them intellectually and studiously inclined, but their devotion, under the teaching of Averröes,
to the natural sciences, and the open ridicule with which they assailed the Mosaic account of the Creation, effectually checked much sympathy between him and them. He was wont to tell them that he considered it of more importance to explore the nature of man than that of quadrupeds and fishes. See Ginguéné, Hist. Litt. d'Italie, Tom. II p. 35. Tiraboschi, V 45.
It remains to say a few words respecting the develope- Technical ment given by Aquinas to the dialectical method. In his Aquinas. commentaries on Aristotle, he followed, as we have already seen, the method of Averroes, but in those on the Sentences, and in the Summa, he followed that of Peter Lombard. It marks, however, the controversial tendency of the period, that while Lombardus authoritatively enunciated the distinctio, Aquinas propounded each logical refinement as a quæstio. The decisions of the Master were, indeed, as judicially pronounced as before, but the change from a simple contrasting and comparing of different authorities to a form which seemed to invite the enquirer to perpetual search rather than to a definite result, was obviously another advance in the direction of dialectics. The objections which, as we have already seen, had been taken by the Prior of St. Victoire to the original method, became more than ever applicable; for though the treatment of Aquinas might seem exhaustive, the resources of the objector were inexhaustible.
We have already spoken of the character of the trans- Translation lations from the Greek, whereby, with the advance of the text of century, the proper thought of Aristotle began to be more clearly distinguished from that of his Arabian commentators; but wherein an extreme and unintelligent literalness often veiled the meaning and obscured the argument. It would
of the Greek
1 Prantl (Geschichte der Logik, II 118—21) enumerates thirteen distinct shades of opinion that divided the schools from the time of Roscellinus down to that of Aquinas. Few who have made the effort to grasp the distinctions on which these controversies turned, will fail to feel the force of Renan's observation: *Il est fort difficile, au milieu des querelles
qui déchiraient à cette époque le
appear that Aquinas himself towards the close of his life became aware of the unsatisfactory character of these versions, for within three years of his death he prevailed upon William of Moerbecke to undertake the production of a new version which, known as Nova Translatio, was long regarded as the standard text, and still by virtue of its scrupulous verbal accuracy possesses a value scarcely inferior to that of the best manuscripts'. The commentaries of Aquinas had, however, appeared nearly ten years before, and were consequently liable to any error which might arise from the grosser defects of the versions to which he had recourse.
The commencement and extension of the collegiate system constitutes another feature in the university of Paris affording valuable illustration of the corresponding movement in our own country. In France, as in England, the fourteenth century was the period of the greatest activity of this movement, but long before that time these institutions had been subjected to an adequate test in Paris. Crevier indeed traces back the foundation of two colleges, that of St. Thomas du Louvres and of the Danish college in the Rue de la Montagne, as far as the twelfth century; while he enumerates no less than sixteen as founded in the thirteenth century. Of these some were entirely subservient to the
The Colleges of Paris.
posed to have been founded in the twelfth century.
1. Saint Thomas d'Aquin n'a employé que des versions dérivées immediatement du grec, soit qu'il fait faire de nouvelles, soit qu'il ait obtenu des collations d'anciennes versions avec l'original, et ait en ainsi des variantes. Guillaume Tocco, dans la vie qu'il nous a laissée de ce grand docteur, dit positivement: Scripsit etiam super philosophicam naturalem et mo. ralem et super metaphysicam, quorum librorum procuravit ut fieret nova translatio quæ sententiæ Aristotelis contineret clarius veritatem.' (Acta Sanc. Antwerp, 1 665.) Jourdain, Recherches Critiques, p. 40.
2 Ibid. p. 395. Prantl, Geschichte der Logik, i 5.
3 Dans cet établissement se mani. feste l'origine de nos boursiers, qui sont de jeunes gens pauvres, auxquels le collége dont ils sont mem
bres fournit le logement et la subsig. tance, ou du moins des secours pour subsister pendant leurs études. Cette cuvre de charité n'était pas nouvelle, et il y avoit déjà longtems que le roi Robert en avoit donné l'exemple en entretenant de pauvres clercs, c'està-dire de pauvres étudians. Nous avons preuve que Louis le Jeune faisait aussi distribuer des liberalités à de pauvres écoliers par son grand aumonier. L'exemple de la munifi. cence de nos rois invita les princes, les grands, et les prélats à l'imiter. Cette bonne æuvre prit faveur, et se multiplia beaucoup pendant les trei. zième et quatorzième siècles, auxquels se rapporte l'institution de la plupart des boursiers dans notre Université,' Crevier, 1 269.
4 They are the Collége de Constantinople, des Maturins, des Bons En.
requirements of different religious orders, while others were, for a long time, little more than lodging-houses for poor students in the receipt of a scanty allowance for their support (boursiers), and under the direction of a master'. The most important, both from its subsequent celebrity and from the fact that it would appear to be the earliest example of a more secular foundation, that is to say a college for the secular clergy, was the Sorbonne, founded about the The Soryear 1250 by Robert de Sorbonne', the domestic chaplain of St. Louis. Originally capable of supporting only sixteen poor scholars, four of whom were to be elected from each ' nation, and who were to devote themselves to the study of theology, it eventually became the most illustrious foundation of the university, and formed, in many respects, the model of our earliest English colleges'. For a time, however, the modest merit of this society was obscured by the splendour of a later foundation of the fourteenth century. In the year 1305, Jeanne of Navarre, the consort of Philip The College the Fair, founded the great college which she named after the country of her birth. In wealth and external importance the college of Navarre far surpassed the Sorbonne. It was endowed with revenues sufficient for the maintenance of twenty scholars in grammar, thirty in logic, and twenty in theology, and the ablest teachers were retained as in
fans, de St. Honoré, de St. Nicholas
Latinos odium deponerent eorumque
1 Crevier, 1. 271. Le Clerc, État
9 'Homme simple dans son caractère et dans ses meurs.' Crevier.
3 . Avant Robert de Sorbonne nul collége n'était établi à Paris pour les péculiers étudians en Théologie. Il voulut leur procurer cet avantage... La pauvreté était l'attribut propre de la maison de Sorbonne. Elle en a conservé longtems la réalité avec le titre.' Ibid. 1 494, 495.