« PreviousContinue »
b. 1033 (?).
as a theolo
Occam, and Estius are scarcely inferior in their zeal as DuCTION. expositors. The Church, in gratitude for the signal service he had rendered, long celebrated the memory of Peter Lombard by an annual commemoration in his honour, and even in Protestant communions, those who could so far divest themselves of the prejudices of association as to realise the standpoint from whence those labours were conceived, have borne emphatic testimony to their merit.
Round the authoritative utterances of the Sentences grew up the dogmatic theology of succeeding generations,—the theology of the schoolman, trained and trammelled over a rigid network of dialectics, where the flower often lost its perfume and the fruit perished. It was well for the faith of those ages that, before the prevailing method had driven life, warmth, and sensibility from out the pale of belief, a thinker St Anselm. of a different school from that of Peter Lombard arose to d. 1109. transmit a loftier tradition. It may be doubted whether even the Sentences more strongly affected the habits of His influence religious thought for the next three centuries than did the ginn. writings of St. Anselm. Whatever of emotion trembles on the lips of the later schoolmen,-Bonaventura, Lincolniensis, or Gerson,—whatever of theological speculation still flung its plummet into depths which defied the subtlety of the dialecticians—owed its inspiration, to a great extent, to the author of the Proslogion. And yet Anselm was no mere enthusiast; he was rather the metaphysician, indignantly repudiating the shackles which the new logic was casting around enquiries which he regarded as the highest activity to which man could aspire. His argumentation, for the most part, is equally removed from the puerilities of the schools and from the inconclusive rhapsodies of the mystic. In his writings the spirit of St. Augustine lives again, and it was indeed, in all probability, chiefly through the influence of the English archbishop that the genius of the African Father retained its hold upon the western Church. The Credo ut intelligam became the key-note to all that was most noble in the belief of the Middle Ages ; and modern speculation, wearying of the endless search for mental assur
ance in the phenomena of the external world, has more than once returned to this subjective testimony, to reconstruct,with a more elaborate synthesis, it is true, but on the same foundation,-the edifice of faith'.
Our retrospect has now brought us to the threshold of the thirteenth century. We have endeavoured to trace out the chief elements and tendencies in the thought and culture that preceded that eventful age, and more especially to bring out in their true importance and relations questions with respect to which, as it has appeared to us, the interpretations of certain writers have been defective or erroneous : and while the necessity for brevity has perforce diminished the value of our enquiry for those to whom the field is new, and its interest for those to whom it is known, we may yet hope that we have succeeded in indicating the more important materials for a more lengthened investigation.
1 La nouveauté de cette théologie vient de ce qu'elle est une application au dogme, non de la logique, mais de la métaphysique; non de la dialectique d'Aristote, mais de la dialectique de Platon. C'est donc tout ensemble exagérer et méconnaître le rôle d'Anselme que de l'appeler un des createurs de la scolastique. Il faudrait au moins faire une distinction que les critiques omettent trop souvent, entre la philosophie sco. lastique et la théologie scolastique.
Anselme n'appartient pas à la première; il a peu fait pour elle, quoi. qu'il ait certainement sa place marquée dans la philosophie proprement dite; et pour la seconde, il est venu au moment ou elle se formait. Il n'a pas été sans influence sur sa forma. tion, mais il n'en a pas précisément déterminé le caractère. Il ne tendait pas à la faire scolastique, mais philosophique. Il voulait fonder la philosophie du dogme.' Rémusat, St Anselm de Cantorbéry, p. 478.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY ERA.
In our introductory sketch we have essayed to point out CHAP. I. some of the more important data on which, up to the period when the University of Cambridge first greets the research of the historian, our estimate of the culture, the philosophy, and the mental characteristics of the preceding centuries must rest. Of both the darkness and the dawn which belong to this era it seems fittest to speak in less general and unqualified language than has often been employed. The darkness, great as it undoubtedly was, had still its illumination; the dawn was far from steady and continuous, but rather a shifting, capricious light, often advancing only. again to recede. We have seen how imperfect was the knowledge of the literature of antiquity to which the student, in those times, was able to attain, and how limited was the circle to which what survived of that literature was known; how, amid the fierce shocks and dark calamities that prevailed, the conceptions of the theologian were narrowed and overshadowed by one dread conviction; how, as some sense of Recapitulasecurity returned, and the barbarian acknowledged a stronger Introductory arm, learning again took heart, and minds began once more to enquire, to speculate, and to theorise ; how scepticism, with weapons snatched from the armoury of paganism, assailed the doctrines of the Church ; how the study of law followed upon the return of external order; how the political exigencies of Rome led her to impose on Europe a code
Fabulous character of the early accounts of bridge.
CHAP. I. fraught with unscrupulous fiction; how, as the spirit of
enquiry awoke and reason reasserted its claims, authority sought to define their prerogative by a more formal and systematic enunciation of traditional dogma; while, as yet, the philosopher questioned and doubted, scarcely dreaming of ultimate divergence, and the dogmatist distinguished and proscribed, equally unprescient of the contest that was yet to be.
It is at this stage in the progress of Europe that the
English universities pass from the region of mere tradition sity of Cam. to that of history. Fable indeed long beguiled the ears of
our forefathers with the story of the ancient renown of Cambridge, and within comparatively recent times an historian of repute could unsuspectingly retail from Peter of Blois, as an author of undoubted credit the details of the earliest instruction given within her precincts. The canons of a severer criticism however have swept away not only legends of Spanish founders and Athenian teachers, of Sigebert for a royal founder, of Bede and Alcuin for her earliest doctors of
divinity’, but have also pronounced Ingulphus and his conThe account tinuator alike undeserving of credit'. We are accordingly Blois now compelled to abandon, as an imaginary scene, the not un
pleasing picture wbich represents the monks sent by the abbat of Crowland to Cambridge, expounding, early in the twelfth century, in humble barns and to enthusiastic audiences, the pages of Priscian, Aristotle, and Quintilian. Our information indeed concerning the studies of both Oxford and Cambridge continues to be singularly scanty and fragmentary up to the college era; conjecture must, on many points, supply the place of facts; and it is only by a careful
1 Henry, Hist. of England, 111 438. had before given to these accounts.
· Carter, in his History of the Uni- Sir Francis Palgrave inclined to the versity of Cambridge, p. 7, gives with- belief that the Chronicle of Ingulout any apparent doubt, a letter from phus was not of older date than the Alcuin to the Scholars of Cambridge, 13th or first half of the fourteenth exhorting them to diligence in their century, and that it must be constudies! See also Lydgate's verses sidered as little better than a monk. on the Foundation of the University, ish invention, a mere historical novel;' Appendix (A),
Mr Wright regards the continuation 3 Hallam, in the later editions of attributed to Peter of Blois as equal. his Middle Ages, (see eleventh edit. ly spurious. III 421) retracted the credence he
study of the circumstantial evidence that we are enabled to CHAP. I. arrive at a sufficiently probable induction. The character of Norman inthe induction admits of being very concisely stated. It is a to the Confact familiar to the student of our early history that before the Norman victory on the field of battle at Senlac, a gentler subjugation had already been imposed. In the language of Macaulay, 'English princes received their education in Normandy. English sees and English estates were bestowed on Normans. The French of Normandy was familiarly spoken in the palace of Westminster. The court of Rouen seems to have been to the court of Edward the Confessor what the court of Versailles long afterwards was to the court of Charles the Second. To such an extent did this state of things prevail, that at one juncture it even seemed probable that the spread of Norman influences would culminate in a peaceful establishment of Norman dominion”. Such a sequel was Norman only prevented by a great national reaction; and the ques-su bile vent tion then fell to the arbitration of the sword. But when quest. a foreign dynasty had become firmly planted in our midst, it necessarily followed that these influences were still further intensified. To imitate the refinement, the chivalry, the culture of the dominant race, became the ambition of every Englishman who sought to avoid the reproach that attached to the character of a Saxon boor. Teachers from York no longer drew the outlines of education at Paris; and the great university which now rose in the latter city, to give the tone and direction to European thought, became the school whither every Englishman, who aimed at a character for learning, perforce resorted. The examples there studied and the learning there acquired were reproduced at home. The con- The Universtitution of the university of Paris formed the model on the model which that of Oxford and that of Cambridge were formed ; Cambridge. the course of study, the collegiate system, even the regulations of the Sorbonne, were imitated with scrupulous fidelity. It was not until two centuries after the Conquest that Englishmen could acknowledge these obligations without
1 Macaulay, Hist. of England, 14 12.
? Freeman's Hist. of the Norman Conquest, 11 515.