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His two

Modis and

they afford

of the final results of scholastic

CHAP. III. De Triplici Theologia or in the De Monte Contemplationis; but in two of Gerson's shorter and comparatively unknown treatises, De treatises, the De Modis Significandi, and the De Concordia DeConcordia. Metaphysicæ cum Logica, we have a valuable exposition of the state of metaphysical science at Paris at this period, and an incontrovertible proof of the progress which that science had made since the time of Abelard. In the fifty propositions into which each of these treatises is divided, the nominalistic conclusions are stated with a conciseness and clearness that far exceed what is to be found in any other writer of the century; it may not indeed be easy to shew any appreciable advance upon the views arrived at by Occam; but it is certainly a noticeable fact that those views are here reiterated with emphasis by one who had filled the office of chancellor in the same university that had seen the writings Illustration of the Oxford Franciscan given to the flames. It is to be noted also, as perhaps the most significant feature, that the metaphysics. nominalistic doctrines are here identified with the real meaning of Aristotle, while the positions of the realists, from Amalricus down to John Huss, are exhibited as instances of philosophic error'. The distinction to be observed between metaphysics and logic, on which Occam had insisted, is also asserted with even yet greater distinctness. It belongs to the metaphysician alone, says Gerson, to investigate the essences of things; the logician does not define the thing, but simply the notion'; his object being, in more modern phraseology, 'to produce distinctness in concepts, which are the things of logic.' The theory to which the realists had adhered with such tenacity, that in some yet to be discovered treatise of the Stagyrite would be found the necessary exposition of the functions of logic as concerned with the definition of things themselves3, is here given to the winds; and the position taken up by Occam with reference to theology is sanctioned by the greatest authority of the fifteenth century.

1 Opera, ed. Dupin, Iv 826, 827.
2 Sumatur ex his distinctionibus
hæc unica, quod consideratio rei, ut
res est, spectat ad metaphysicam.
Consideratio vero rei, ut tantummodo

signum est, præsertim in anima, spectat ad grammaticam vel logicam.' Ibid. IV 829.

3 Dean Mansel, Artis Logica Rudimenta, p. 40, note ".


Such then was the harvest which scholasticism finally reaped CHAP. III. in the fields of philosophy! After the toil of centuries it had at last succeeded in bringing back to view the original text of the great master, which the vagaries of mediæval speculation had well-nigh obliterated'.

little more


view of the

logic to

But it is not the nominalist only that appears in these These results pages; the mystic and the theologian are also discernible. than a return The grand old mediæval conception of theology, as the science of Aristotle. of sciences, struggles for expression. Theology or rather ontology, in Gerson's view, is not necessarily a terra incognita for the intellect because not amenable to the reasonings which belong to the province of the dialectician. Even,' he Gerson's says, 'as the sculptor reveals the statue in the block' (a simile relations of borrowed from his favorite Dionysius) 'not by what he brings theology. but by what he removes,' even so the divine nature is to be apprehended by the man, only as he ceases to be the logician and soars beyond the region of the Categories! Of the disputes of the theologians Gerson appears absolutely weary; affirming that it were better controversy should cease altogether than that discords like those which he had witnessed should continue to scandalise alike the faithful and the infidel.

The date of the composition of these two treatises ex

1 A recent critic however sees in Gerson's treatise something more than a mere restoration of Aristotelian thought. The metaphysical philosophy of the Middle Ages, with its dominating controversy between realism and nominalism, that is, between metaphysic mixed with ontology and metaphysic pure, is a painful working back to the point of view which Aristotle occupied, and a rediscovery of his meaning. But at the same time it was a reproduction of his meaning in a new and original mould, so that the form was simpler and clearer, and the contradictions which Aristotle's system contained, in its combination of ontology with metaphysic, were brought to view. This was a great step in advance, although no one as yet arose capable of introducing a principle

of solution for these contradictions.
Jean Charlier de Gerson's work, De
Modis Significandi and De Concordia
Metaphysicæ cum Logica, may be
taken as an exponent of the results
obtained by Scholasticism; and it is
surprising to see the close agreement
between it and modern Kantian, and
therefore also of much post-Kantian,
philosophy. It is the result of pre-
vious philosophy, and the seed of
modern philosophies.' Shadworth
H. Hodgson, Time and Space, p. 532.

2 Sic Dionysius docet facere in
mystica theologia per exemplum de
sculptore qui facit agalma pulcherri-
mum, id est, imaginem, nihil addendo
sed removendo. Sequitur eos Domi-
nus Bonaventura, Itinerario Mentis
in Deum, eleganter valde.' Opera,
IV 827.


CHAP. III. plains their tone and invests them with additional interest. Gerson at this time was no longer chancellor of Paris. The noblest act of a far from ignoble career had made the duke these trati of Burgundy his mortal foe. In 1418 he fled from the city



under which

ses were


Cessation of

the inter

in which it is no exaggeration to say, that he had 'for a time ruled like a king. He first took refuge in Bavaria, and finally found a home in a monastery of Celestines at Lyons, of which his brother was prior. It was here that on the

eve of the Nativity, in 1426, he summed up the foregoing 'conclusions.' The medieval student loved to bring some cherished labour to its close at that sacred season of the year; and Gerson, as towards the end of life he thus enunciated his philosophical belief, glanced forward to a time, for him then very near, when these paths of thought and speculation, which now crossed each other with bewildering complexity or vanished from the mental eye in widely opposed directions, should be found harmonious and concentric; when he should discern the true reconciliation, not merely of metaphysic and logic, but of all knowledge, and see no longer as through a glass darkly2.

The intercourse between Paris and the English univertween Paris sities appears to have died out about the time of Gerson's

course be

and the

English universities.


chancellorship, and we have failed to discover any evidence that his speculations served in any way to stimulate the progress of philosophic thought in England throughout the stances that century. Over both countries the storm of war burst with about a di- peculiar severity: and when the fierce feuds of the Armagthe influence nacs and the Burgundians, the struggle between the two nations, and the Wars of the Roses were over, the supremacy of Paris as the chief seat of European learning was also at


minution of

of the uni

versity of

Paris in the



1 Prof. Maurice, Modern Philosophy, p. 49.

2 Concordia metaphysicæ cum theologia fiet, si consideretur ens simpliciter vel ens purum, vel ens universaliter perfectum, quod est Deus. Aut si consideretur generalis ratio objectalis entis. Secundum spectat ad metaphysicam: primum proprie ad theologiam, in qua Deus est subjectum. Est autem theologia

duplex, scilicet vie et patriæ. Theologia viæ respicit ens primum ut creditum cum suis attributivis non excludendo intelligentiam de multis. Theologia autem patriæ respicit ens primum ut facialiter visum et objectalitur in seipso, non in speculo vel ænigmate. Gratias ipsi qui aperuit hanc concordiam hominibus bonæ voluntatis.' Opera, iv 829, 830.



an end. It may appear but natural that such a result should CHAP. IIL have followed upon the reign of the Cabochien and the écorcheur; it may even seem a fitting nemesis for the sentence whereby the university consigned the Maid of Orleans to her fate; but so far as it is within our power to assign a cause, it would rather appear that the decline which now. came over the prestige of the university of Paris must be attributed to efforts as honorable as any which mark the history of that illustrious body. It is well known that the The great policy of the three great councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basel rested upon the recognition of one fundamental principle, the absolute authority of such assemblies over the fiat of the pope himself. At the assembling of the council of Basel however the course of events had given a different complexion to the assertion of such a principle in the eyes of different nations. The schism of the West had been brought to a termination; and the papal authority was again concentrated in a single undivided head at Rome. Englishmen accordingly no longer regarded the pope with the suspicion that had attached to the sole or rival pope at Avignon; and when the French deputies at Basel, pledged to support The policy of and carry out the policy of Gerson, demanded measures of posed at reform to which Eugenius IV refused his sanction, they found English themselves opposed by an English Ultramontane party, re- montanists. presented by John Kemp, the archbishop of York, who supported the papal supremacy. This opposition was successful. From the breaking up of the council of Basel we date a new theory of the pontifical power. The supreme pontiff no longer appeared as episcopus inter pares, but as the universal bishop, from whom all bishops in other countries received their authority and to whom they owed allegiance. The Sæculum Synodale was at an end1.

Gerson op

Basel by the



tic Sanction.

But before the council of Basel had ceased to sit, France France had secured for herself at Bourges that independence of Rome the Pragmawhich she had vainly striven to assert in the œcumenical councils. The Pragmatic Sanction, re-enacted in 1438, vested in the crown the most valuable church patronage of the king

1 Dean Hook, Lives of the Archbishops, v 216–218.


The popes avenge them

CHAP. IIL dom; it was to France far more than the statutes of Provisors and Præmunire had ever been to England; for more than half a century, says Ranke, it was believed to be the palladium of the realm'. But, in the mean time, her adselves upon herence to the policy of Gerson drew down upon the university of Paris the enmity of successive popes, who repaid the attempted limitation of their authority by a not unsuccessful Rise of new endeavour to diminish her influence and prestige. Hence

the uni

versity of



under the

papal sanction.

the encouragement now so conspicuously extended by Rome to the creation of new centres of learning. In the thirteenth century only three universities had risen on the model of that of Paris; the first half of the fourteenth century witnessed the rise of the same number; the second half, seven ; but the fifteenth century saw the creation of eighteen. We

1 Milman, Latin Christianity, Bk. XIII c. 13; Ranke, History of the Popes, I 25, 26.

2 Les différences sont encore plus frappantes si l'on examine seulement le nombre des Facultés de théologie autorisées par les papes; XIIe siècle, 1; XIVe siècle, avant 1378, 5; de 1378 à 1500, 27. Si l'on rapproche ces chiffres des événements religieux et politiques auxquels l'Université de Paris a été mêlée, on trouvera que les Universités se sont plus particu lièrement multipliées à partir du schisme, des conciles de Bâle et de Constance, de la guerre des Armagnacs et des Bourguignons, de l'invasion anglaise. On est porté à en conclure que ces événements, accomplis entre 1378 et 1430, n'ont pas été sans influence sur la multiplication des Universités. L'étude des faits confirme cette conclusion... Les papes, irrités de la conduite de l'Université de Paris dans les conciles de Constance et de Bâle, autorisèrent douze Universités nouvelles pour l'Allemagne, la Hongrie, la Suède et le Danemarck. En France même, les papes et les rois s'accorderènt pour frapper au cœur l'Université de Paris. Charles VII la détestait parce qu'elle avait été dominée par les suppôts de la nation Picarde, sujets du duc de Bourgogne. Le concile de Bâle donnait peu de satisfaction au pape Eugène IV. En 1437, ils autorisèrent tous deux la

fondation d'une Université complète à Caen, au milieu d'une des Nations les plus riches et les plus importantes de l'Université de Paris. Charles VII, reconnu roi au sud de la Loire, avait déjà autorisé une Université à Poitiers (1431). Eugène Iv accorda une Faculté de théologie à Dole (1437), et une Université complète à Bordeaux (1441). Louis XI et Pie II ne pouvaient manquer de s'entendre contre l'Université de Paris, qui contenait des sujets de Charles-le-Téméraire, et qui soutenait la pragmatique sanction. Deux Universités furent autorisées dans les deux provinces qui envoyaient le plus d'étudiants à la Nation de France, en Bretagne (Nantes, 1460) et en Berry (Bourges, 1464).' Thurot, De l'Organisation de l'Enseignement, etc. pp. 206, 208. I may observe that the foundation of the collegium trilingue at Louvain, in 1426, which is among those enumerated by M. Thurot, is hardly an illustration of his statement. It was founded under the auspices of the Duke of Brabant, and designed for all the faculties save that of theology; the primary object being to create a studium generale where the youth of the Low Countries might receive a higher instruction without resorting to Paris or Cologne, and encountering the heavy expenses and numerous temptations that beset the wealthier students in large cities. See Mémoires

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