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CHAP. 11. form of realism still prevailed, though the theory of Uni
versals as objective existences was abandoned. “It is possible,' he says, that in order to be consistent with a revealed religion, nominalism requires a definite boundary to be drawn between the provinces of religion and philosophy, and to this the whole genius of scholasticism is opposed. But this at least is certain, whatever be the cause, that almost all the religious life, and even all that was continuous in the intellectual life of the middle ages, belonged to one or other of the various shades of realism. In the latter half of the fourteenth century, whatever there was among the clergy, either of such religious feeling or of intellectual activity, was to be found, speaking broadly, among the secular priests. As a body, therefore, they were naturally realists'.' It is evident, indeed, that if nominalism, in a form incompatible with the scholastic method, had become predominant to the extent that some authorities have represented, the result must have inevitably led to a comparative neglect of those writers in whom that method is the all-prevailing characteristic, but a very imperfect acquaintance with the studies of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries suffices to shew us that such was not the case. The pretensions of scholasticism were lowered, but its policy was the same. The provinces of reason and faith may have been no longer regarded as conterminous, but logic was still the weapon that the theologian most relied upon in controversy, and its popularity was undiminished in the schools.
If proof were required of our statement, we could scarcely adduce better evidence than is afforded by the great treatise of Thomas Bradwardine, archbishop of Canterbury,—the De
Causa Dei, and the rapid and permanent success that it His trentise obtained. This treatise, addressed ad suos Mertonenses, may
be regarded as one of the chief sources of the Calvinistic teaching, so far as it has found expression, of our English Church; founded for the most part on the work of Angustine, it aims at developing, by a series of corollaries from two
Thomas Bradwardine. d. 1349.
1 Introd. to Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. lii.
main propositions, the reasoning against Pelagianism. The CHAP. II.
• But what that God forwot most needes be
But by necessité condicionel.'
1 A good outline of the general scope of the work will be found in Dean Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, IV 87–92: and a careful study of it in Lechler's De Thoma Bradwardino Commentatio : Lipsiæ, 1862. Savile looks upon Bradwardine's method as unique: 'Itaque primus, quod sciam, et solus hanc viam tentavit in Theologicis, ut filo Mathematico Theologica contexeret, ponendo scilicet primo loco duas hypotheses quasi principia, et ex iis proxima quæque demonstrando, et corollaria deducendo, petitis etiam ex Euclide probationibus; deinceps
ex hypothesibus, et prædemonstratis reliqua omnia perpetua serie ad finem usque operis attexendo, quo fit ut conclusiones ejus cuipiam fortasse nimis alte petitæ videantur. Quodsi in lemmatibus et propositionibus non semper axplßelav illam mathematicam potuit usquequaque assequi, meminerit lector non id auctori im. putandum, sed subjectæ, quam tractat, materiæ.' Præf. Lectori.
2. Fuit hic liber, statim atque editus est, tanto omnium doctorum exceptus applausu, ut per omnes fere bibliothecas totius Europæ describe. retur.' Ibid.
CHAP. II. Sir Henry Savile,-one of the latest of that eminent scholar's services to literature,-appearing as a folio of some 900 pages; and even so late as the last century, Dean Milner deemed it deserving of a lengthened and scrupulous analysis. In the account of Bradwardine which Savile prefixes to his edition, he extols in language of some exaggeration the learning of his author, who, he says, solidam ex Aristotelis et Platonis fontibus hausit philosophiam. What kind of philosophy Bradwardine was likely to have imbibed as that of Aristotle, we have already seen; as for Plato, there is no evidence in the De Causa Dei that the author had ever had access to any of that philosopher's writings except the old translation of the Timaus by Chalcidius. At the same time it must be admitted that his references to ancient authors are surprisingly numerous and extend over a wide afforded by range. His pages bristle with quotations from Ptolemæus, the learning Cyprian, Lactantius, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, Boethius, Seneca, Cassiodorus, Isidorus, Hermes, Johannes Scotus, the Pseudo-Dionysius, Damascenus, Bede, Anselm, Grosseteste, Avicenna and Averröes. Even had he at that time attained to the dignity of the archbishopric, his literary resources would appear far beyond what we should look for at this period. Our knowledge of the facts of his life offer however an adequate explanation of this erudition; for we know that Bradwardine had access to the library of the author of the Philobiblon.
of the age.
Richard of Bury, b. 1287,
There was no Grosseteste in the fourteenth century, but his love of learning and liberality in its promotion were worthily represented in Richard of Bury. The son of a Norman knight of that ancient town, Richard received his education at Oxford, where his academical distinctions were such that he was selected to fill the post of tutor to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward III. At court his position was a difficult one; for the rival parties were contending in bitter enmity. By prudent reserve until the time for action had arrived, he was however enabled to render important service to his pupil's cause. To his counsels have been attributed the deliberately concerted
rupture forced on between Edward II and his brother-in- CHAP. II. law, Charles the Fair of France. It was he who, as the His early royal treasurer in Guienne, forwarded the revenues he had experiences. collected to Isabella on her arrival in Paris; a daring step which subsequently made it necessary for him to flee for his life, from the pursuit of Edward's lieutenant, to the campanile of the Franciscans in that city. During the administration of the queen and Mortimer he appears to have retained their favour without subsequently becoming involved in their disgrace; and when the youthful Edward had shaken off their dictation it soon became apparent that his former tutor was the man whom he delighted to honour. In 1330 Richard was appointed ambassador to pope John XXII at Avignon, and the successful conclusion of the business then entrusted to his care earned for him the bishopric of Durham. The stewardship of the Palace, the keepership of the Wardrobe, and the guardianship of the Privy Seal, had already fallen in rapid succession to his lot.
There seems to be little reason for inferring that Richard His interview of Bury was a man of profound acquirements, even when at Avignon. measured by the standard of that illiterate age. Petrarch, who made his acquaintance at Avignon, describes him as a man of ardent temperament, not ignorant of literature, and with strong natural inquisitiveness into obscure and out of the way lore. The poet, indeed, flattered himself that he had found the very man to solve for him an antiquarian difficulty he was then seeking to unravel,—the geography of the Thule of the ancients, and propounded his question forthwith. We learn with regret that our eminent countryman proved no Edipus on this occasion. He took refuge in a vague vaunting of those literary stores he was then accumulating at home, and expressing his certain belief that on his return he should be able at once to find the necessary information. But though Petrarch, believing that the pressure of more important affairs might have driven the conversation from the mind of the English ambassador, wrote once and again to remind his lordship of Durham of his
Real character of his
CHAP. 11. promise, the oracle, greatly to the poet's disappointment,
preserved an obstinate silence'. From various data we may, indeed, reasonably surmise that in Richard of Bury the literary enthusiast and the bibliophilist prevailed over
the accurate scholar?; nor does the appearance of some attainments. half dozen Greek words in the Philobiblon warrant us in
concluding that the author had any extended acquaintance with the language. Our admiration will more judiciously select his really strong points :-his indefatigable efforts in rescuing valuable books from oblivion and destruction,--the genial manner, tinged with a harmless pedantry, in which he descants on the advantages of learning, and on the care, the respectful care, to which its treasures are entitled,—his princely bequest to Oxford and wise provisions for the maintenance of that bequest in its integrity,—the kindliness of his nature and his quick eye for genius, as shewn in the men who formed the literary circles which he loved to gather round him in his palace at Bishop's Auckland. Among these was Thomas Bradwardine, one of the
1 The lively manner in which Pe. trarch has related this anecdote induces me to transcribe the original Latin : - Mihi quidem de hac re cum Richardo quondam Anglorum regis cancellario, sermo non ociosus fuit, viro ardentis ingenii, nec literarum inscio, et qui ut in Britannia genitus atque educatus, abditarumque rerum ab adolescentia supra fidem curiosus, talibus præsertim quæstiunculis enodandis aptissimus videretur, ille autem, seu quia sic speraret, seu quia puderet ignorantiam fateri (qui mos hodie multorum est, qui non intelligunt quanta modestiæ laus sit, homini nato, nec nosse omnia volenti, profiteri ingenue se nescire quod nesciat) seu forte, quod non suspicor, quia hujus mihi arcani notitiam invideret: respondit, certe se dubietati meæ satisfacturum, sed non priusquam ad libros suos, quorum nemo copiosior fuit, in patriam revertisset, erat enim dum in amici. tiam ejus incidi, tractandis domini sui negotiis, apud sedem Apostolicam peregrinus ea scilicet tempestate,
qua inter præfatum dominum suum et Francorum regem primi diuturni belli semina pullulabant, quæ cruentam messem postea protulere ; necdum repositæ falces aut clausa sunt horrea, sed dum promissor ille meus abiisset, sive nihil inveniens, sive noviter injuncti pontificalis officii gravi munere distractus, quamvis sæpe literis interpellatus, expectationi meæ, non aliter quam obstinato silentio satisfecit.' Epist. de Rebus Fam. Lib. III, ed. Basil. p. 674.
2 Iste summe delectabatur in multitudine librorum. Plures enim libros habuit, sicut passim dicebatur, quam omnes Pontifices Angliæ. Et præter eos quos habuit in diversis maneriis suis, repositos separatim, ubicunque cum sua familia residebat, tot libri jacebant sparsim in camera qua dormivit, quod ingredientes vix stare poterant vel incedere nisi librum aliquem pedibus conculcarent.' W. de Chambre, Continuatio Hist. Dunelm. Surtees Society, p. 130, (quoted by Mr Macray, Annals of the Bodleian, p. 4).