Page images

b. 1221. d. 1274.

ence to Aristotle.

CHAP. L The Irrefragable Doctor, for so he was named, died in the Averroistic year 1245, and his followers appear to have adopted yet bolder of the early doctrines. The tendency in Averroes towards investing ab

stract notions with objective reality appears to have exercised

a strong fascination over the mysticism that characterised the Bonaventura, earlier Franciscan school. Bonaventura, indeed, the disciple

of Alexander Hales, presents a marked exception: but in him

the spirit of St. Francis glowed with an ardour that bore him live month for above the arena of human philosophy and controversial zeal.

Even now, as we turn the mystic pages of the Itinerary of the Mind towards God, we recognise the deeply emotional nature, the fervour of soul, that belonged to the great orator who thrilled with his dying eloquence the august Council of the western Church at Lyons; we are conscious of the aspirations of the pilgrim, who, with but a languid glance for the questions that divided the schools and surged round the papal chair, pressed on to where, beyond the mists of time, and the wandering gleams of philosophy, he seemed to discern the shining bulwarks of the celestial city'.

It probably marks the general success that was held to the Arguinment have attended the efforts of Aquinas to discriminate between

the doctrines of the Greek philosopher and his Arabian commentators, that while Roger Bacon writing in the year 1267, was able to say that the Aristotelian natural philosophy and metaphysics, which for forty years had been contemned and vilified, were now recognised at Paris as 'sound and useful doctrine,' we find Etienne Tempier, two years later, condemning no less than thirteen of the most notable Averröistic opinions; and we may well understand that the blow thus given to the Franciscan party considerably diminished

Temporary suc of

l'Université de Paris.' Ibid. 259.
Roger Bacon reproduces this tradition
of his order: see Opus Majus, passim.
According to Bulæus, Hales was the
first to comment on the Sentences :-
• Primus autem e theologis nostris
M. Petri Lombardi Sententias com-
mentariis illustrasse dicitur Alexan.
der Alensis, factus deinde Minorita,
cujus exemplum imitati Albertus Mag-
nus et Thomas Aquinas theologiæ

scholasticæ regnum longe amplifica-
runt.' 111 657.

1 'Saint Bonaventura dédaignait Aristote et sa cabale... nous serons peu curieux de rechercher quelle opi. nion il lui a plu d'exprimer incidemment, avec le laissez-aller de l'in. différence, sur les grands problèmes du peripatétisme.' Hauréau, Phil. Scholastique, 11 219.

their prestige. It will be worth while to note how the uni- CHAP. I. versity had fared since the time of its memorable secession. When the students and professors returned from Angers Return of the and Rheims they found the chairs of instruction occupied Paris, 1281. by the Mendicants, and it was only by the exertions of Gregory ix on their behalf that they were reinstated in their privileges. For twenty years a hollow peace was preserved, Rivalry during which the jealousies and rivalry thus evoked con- Seculars and tinued to increase, and at last broke out into open hostility cants. when, one of the students having been killed in an encounter with the citizens, the new orders refused to make common cause with the university in obtaining redress. The university appealed to the Pope, and Innocent IV published his famous bull whereby the mendicant orders were subjected to the episcopal authority'. His death, occurring in the following month, was attributed to the prayers of the Dominicans. His policy was altogether reversed by his successor, Alexander IV, who, to use the expression of Crevier, was intent throughout his pontificate upon tormenting the university of Paris. The Mendicants were restored to their former privileges, and the old warfare was renewed with increased violence. It was at this crisis that William St. William St. Amour, standing forth as the champion of the university, assailed the new orders with an eloquence rare in the hostile camp. In his Perils of the Last Times, he denounced them His Perils as interlopers into the Church, unsanctioned by apostolic authority, equally wanting in honesty of purpose and in credentials for the high functions they assumed. Aquinas replied in his treatise Contra Impugnantes Dei Cultum et Religionem, and William St. Amour was finally arraigned before the archbishop of Paris on the charge of having published a libel defamatory of the Pope. When however the

Amour, d. 1272.


1.It is a characteristic trait of these Paris quarrels, that they were mainly caused by the wilful course of the Dominicans in the great secession of 1229. This measure had been decreed by a great majority of the Masters, but the Dominicans disobeyed it, in order to get scholastic

affairs into their own hands during
the absence of all other academicians.
Naturally this was resented keenly,
and produced deep distrust. Their
submission to all university regula-
tions was now exacted with increased
severity.' Huber's English Univer.
sities, by Newman, 11 119.

between the

CHAP. I. intrepid champion of the university appeared, ready to attest

his innocence by solemn oaths over the relics of the holy martyrs, the students who accompanied him made such an imposing demonstration, that the archbishop deemed it prudent to dismiss the charge. A few years later the Dominicans attained their end. The Perils of the Last Times was burnt in the presence of the Pope at Anagni, and William St. Amour was compelled to retire into exile,-a retirement from which, notwithstanding the efforts of the university on

his behalf, he was not suffered again to emerge'. Rivalry But while the cause of the Mendicants was thus triumphDominicans ant, disunion begun to spring up between the two orders. The Franciscans. fame of Albertus and Aquinas, the latter the chosen coun

sellor of royalty, and the prestige of the Dominicans, aroused the jealousy of the Franciscans, rankling under the rebuke which their Averröistic sympathies had incurred. They begun, not unnaturally, to scan with critical eye the armour of the great Dominican for some vulnerable point; nor had they long to seek ; the teaching of the Stagirite proved but slippery ground from whence to assail the heresies of the Arabians. It formed one of the most notable divergences from Aristotle in the philosophy of Averröes, that while the latter accepted the distinction to which we have already adverted, of matter and form as representative of the principle of potential and actual existence, he differed from his teacher in regarding form as the individualising principle.

Aristotle had declared it to be matter, and in this he was The philo- implicitly followed by Aquinas. The individualising ele

ments in Sokrates said the Dominican, are hæc caro, hæc ossa; if these be dissolved the Universal, Sokratitas, alone

Aquinas attacked by the Francis cans.

1 'L'Université regretta infiniment son absence, et elle n'omit rien de ce qui pouvait dépendre d'elle pour obtenir son retour à Paris. Déli. berations frequentes, mortifications procurées aux Mendians ennemis de ce docteur, députations au pape : tout fut inutile.' Crevier, 11 27. The whole history of the conflict between William St. Aviour and his opponents, which we cannot further follow, forms a

significant episode. His genius and eloquence had the remarkable effect of winning the sympathies of the lower orders to the university cause, and we are thus presented with the somewhat singular conjunction of the Pope, the Crown, and the new Orders on the one side, and the university in league with the commonalty on the other. See Bulæus, III 317, 382,

their attack.

remains. Theology, as with Roscellinus, here again supplied CHAP. I. the readiest refutation, and from thence the Franciscans drew their weapons. If matter, they asked, be indeed the principium individuationis, how can the individual exist in the nonmaterial world ? Such a theory would limit the power of the Creator, for He could not create two angelic natures, if the individualising element were lacking. In fact, the whole celestial hierarchy concerning which the Pseudo-Dionysius expounded so elaborately, threatened to vanish from appre- success or hension. The reply of the Franciscans was eminently successful, for it enlisted the sympathies of the Church. In vain did Albertus hasten from Cologne to the assistance of his illustrious disciple; in vain did Ægidius at Rome bring forward fresh arguments in support of the Aristotelian doctrine. The teaching of Aquinas had been found in alliance with heterodoxy, and within three years after his death we find the doctrine he had supported selected for formal condemnation. A simultaneous movement took place, at Paris under Etienne Tempier, in England under Kilwardby, archbishop of Canterbury, having for its object the repression of philosophic heresies; and a long list of articles summed up the doctrines of Averröes for renewed condemnation; the Franciscans however found no little consolation in the fact that three of the articles were directed contra fratrem Thomam'.

Aquinas had died in the year 1274, and contention, at Death of Paris, was for a brief season hushed amid the general sense Aquinas. that a great light had been withdrawn from the Church. We are not ignorant,' said the rector of the university, writing in the name of all the masters, that the Creator, having as a signal proof of his goodness given this great doctor to the world, gave him but for a time, and meanwhile if we may

[ocr errors]

1 M. Renan very justly observes that the majority of the articles condemned represented the tenets of scepticism; and that this incredulity is evidently associated by Etienne Tempier with the study of the Arabian philosophy, but he has failed to note the rebuff inflicted upon the Dominicans. Of the three condemn

ed articles, the principal is as follows: •Item, quia intelligentiæ non habent materiam, Deus non potest plures res ejusdem speciei facere, et quod non est in angelis, contra fratrem Thomam.' See Hauréau, Philo. sophie Scholastique, il 216. Renan, Averroès et l'Averroïsme, p. 278. Bulæus, ini 433.

CHAP. I trust the opinion of the wise of old, divine wisdom placed him upon earth that he might explain the darkest problems of nature.' The Dominicans were as sheep having no shepherd, and when the teaching of their leader encountered the deliberate condemnation of the Church, the blow was felt by the whole order. The exultation of their rivals was proportionably great; the name of the Angelic Doctor began to be mentioned in terms of small respect; and at length, in 1278, it was deemed desirable to convene a Council at Milan His authority for the purpose of re-establishing his reputation. The priors the Church. of the different monasteries were invited to give their cooperation, and, in the following year, a resolution passed at Paris pronounced 'that brother Thomas of Aquino, of venerated and happy memory, having wrought honour to his order by the sanctity of his life and by his works, justice demanded that it should be forbidden to speak of him with disrespect, even to those who differed in opinion from his teaching'.' This movement appears to have had the designed His canoni effect. From the end of the thirteenth century the Dominicans, who had themselves been threatened by schism, rallied unanimously to the defence of their illustrious teacher. His canonization, in the year 1323, placed his fame beyond the reach of the detractor; and years before that event his great countryman and disciple had with raptured eye beheld him, pre-eminent in that bright band,


Far di noi centro e di se far corona,

which shone with surpassing lustre among the spirits of the blest. The position thus assigned him among the teachers of the Church the Angelic Doctor still retains; his fame, if temporarily eclipsed by that of Duns Scotus and Occam, was more extended and enduring than theirs; and Erasmus, standing half-way between the schoolmen and the Reformers, declared that Aquinas was surpassed by none of his race, in

1 Hauréau, Philosophie Scholasti-. que, 1 217. Bulæus, III 448.

2 Dante, Paradiso, x 64. The whole of the speech of Aquinas, in the fol

lowing passage, is interesting as an illustration of the comparative estimation in which the chief doctors of the Church were then held.

« PreviousContinue »