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Not even the briefest sketch of medieval philosophy can dispense with a preface. Superfluous as it may seem to enquire what is meant by the "Middle Ages", and again by "philosophy", neglect of these elementary questions has often led to misunderstanding of those still shadowy centuries which lie between antiquity and ourselves. Precisely when and why the Middle Ages were first so designated it might be hard to decide. The presumption of some affinity between the ancient and modern world is tolerably clear, but when this vague resemblance is tried by a variety of tests, the grounds for affirming it become more and more obscure. And since our business here is only with philosophy, it may be well to assert at once that the ancient status of philosophy has never been reproduced. To the Greeks, from the days of the half-legendary Pythagoras, philosophy meant the adoption of a considered way of life which was not the common way of the world, and did not coincide with observance of the law. On the one side were the authority of custom and the religion of the State; on the other curiosity and criticism, the impulse to search for the hidden meaning of things and to establish a link between knowledge and life. The original freedom of Greek philosophy must indeed be largely attributed to the inseparable alliance between the Pagan State and the Pagan religion. For the official religion of the Greeks (as of the Romans) was founded on no articulate theology and embodied in no visible Church. The only theologians of early days were the poets. They at least gave an account of the gods, in the form of scandalous stories; and with them, therefore, rather than with popular piety, the philosophers were moved to quarrel when they too began to examine the cosmos and to meditate upon the agency of the gods. Then it was that "theology," in the predestined sense of that ominous word, cast its first deep shadow across the life of man. In answer to poetic travesties of the divine nature, Plato lightly sketches his "outlines of theology," with their innocent appearance and their promise of unending dispute. Aristotle in his turn, for all his reticence on the subject of the gods, gives "theology" as an alternative name for the "first philosophy," which posterity was to know as "metaphysics." Whatever name be preferred, the momentous fact is that monotheism, as an intellectual and moral doctrine, arose in philosophical circles beyond the range of civic religion, and without reference to the authority of the State.

The original stamp of philosophy was preserved with some difficulty in the respectable circumstances of the Academy and the Lyceum. The danger now was that a brotherhood of seekers after truth would degenerate into a school of dialecticians. Philosophy languishes sadly as the trade of professors and the sport of impertinent boys. From this fate it was partly delivered in Greece by the march of political events. When the career of Alexander put an end to the reality of the city-state, without providing a substitute, less attraction was found henceforward in the political life and more, therefore, in the theoretic. At the same time, philosophy began to be Hellenistic rather than Hellenic. Zeno of Citium was a portent of many things, and the tenets of Stoicism, though they rang a little hollow at times, sounded further abroad than the voice of the town-crier in Aristotle's diminutive metropolis. Philosophy grew daily more like a religion, a refuge for the disconsolate and a guide for the perplexed. Now when there is one religion derived from a philosophical valuation of life, and another bound up with the State but unsupported by theology, we have before us all the elements of a revolution which sooner or later will overturn the world. What delayed the catastrophe in the ancient world was the scorn of philosophers for the vulgar and the indifference of the State to theological speculation. It remains to consider briefly the causes which brought this mutual disregard to an end.

The single object of this hasty glance at the ancient world being to secure the right line of approach to the medieval period, the story of philosophy at Rome must be passed over, until the age when the old Latin elements of culture are well nigh lost in a medley of Greek and Oriental ideas. Never, perhaps, would the fortunes of philosophy have been united with those of the imperial city but for the advent of Plotinus in the third century and the eventual adoption of Neo-Platonism as the forlorn hope of pagan civilization against the onset of the Christian Church. The story of the Church in its early generations has been related many times and with many objects. Seldom has it been presented in one of its most genuine aspects, as a struggle with rival philosophies at a time when the call to a spiritual life was audible to all serious men. When the Christian society escaped from the circle of Judaism and began to grasp the full nature of its mission, there existed only two forces sufficiently universal to compete with it for master' of the world, Greek philosophy and Roman Law. The Pagan cults cannot rank as a third and equal competitor. Neither singly nor collectively did they embody an idea capable of welding mankind into social coherence. The imperium, on the other hand, the whole majestic apparatus of law and sovereignty, was a visible bond of union, and behind it lay, to all appearance, irresistible force. Yet in the end it was to prove easier for a Christian to mount the throne of the Caesars than for the new doctrine of the Logos to prevail against its philosophical rivals. The last and greatest victory of the Church was over Neo-Platonism, when the spoils of the vanquished passed to the camp of the victor, to be handed down as part of the armor of faith.

Philosophy and Theology

To set Christianity among the philosophies is not fanciful, so long as we bear in mind that philosophy meant to the Greeks a way of life belonging to a particular society. When we read in the Acts of the Apostles how Paul had once persecuted "this way", or how the convert was taken to be further instructed in "the way", we hear a language long familiar to Hellenes and easily intelligible to educated Romans. Where the Christian way differed patently from the others was in making its first appeal to the simple and in its frank abhorrence of popular religion. For these reasons it figures in Roman authors as a kind of odium humani generis long before it was counted worthy of intellectual opposition. But by the age of Plotinus and Porphyry that phase was concluded. Christianity had now taken its place as one of the proffered ways of salvation, just as Gnosticism of a kind was a second, and Neo-Platonism a third. In the school of Plotinus we see the climax of the tendency to theologize philosophy, and thus to fashion an exalted religion far removed from the superstitions of the vulgar. To this conclusion ancient philosophy had grown steadily nearer, and this was its final legacy to the Church. No greater fiction, then, can well be alleged as history than the assertion that the Middle Ages corrupted the nature of philosophy by confusing it with theological doctrine. On the contrary, the attempted distinction between theology and philosophy was a characteristic medieval invention. For not until the last days of Paganism did the occasion for such discrimination arise. For philosophy, as for political history, the arresting figure of Julian is full of significance. Sagacious enough to learn from the Church the secret of victory, he sought to create a bond between the religion of the many and the lofty speculations of the few. He failed because Neo-Platonism, however refined as theology, possessed no means of translating itself into a rule for the humble. Its solitary implement, already dull and rusty, was the allegorising of fable and myth. But the multitude, as Plato had foreseen, could not be saved by hidden meanings. When we read the last book of the last Ennead, we understand how the new faith may have failed to touch Plotinus; but when we set the unvarnished story of the Gospel side by side with any Pagan allegory, the contrast is almost painfully absurd. Nevertheless, we may learn from the story of Julian that, as Pagan philosophy had grown ever more theological, so the Pagan State, under a Neo-Platonist Emperor, might almost have assumed the character of an authoritative Church. To look at the same facts from the Christian point of view, we see how the Church, by her double victory over the imperium of Rome and the philosophy of Greece, committed herself to the two great enterprises of the Middle Ages, the search for a distinction between philosophy and theology, and the search for a way of reconciling the temporal with the spiritual power. As soon as those two problems are in being, we may know, in fact, that the Middle Ages have begun. To the Middle Ages, also, it fell to discover, through much toil and tribulation, that fundamentally the two problems are one.

For the student of philosophy the result of the successive blows which shattered the Roman Empire is almost wholly comprised in the division of civilization into eastern and western halves. A prophet in the age of Marcus Aurelius, or even of Trajan, might well have foretold a time when Hellenism would have completely submerged the Latin elements of culture carried westward by victorious generals as far as the British Isles. Whether such a prophecy would ever have been fulfilled it is idle to speculate. The fact remains that it was not. For the various reasons narrated by historians there came the great reaction, when the tide of Hellenism rolled back eastwards, bearing with it the treasures of culture as well as the imperial throne. Even the greatest of Roman products, jurisprudence, appeared to forsake its proper home; and while the great codification was being accomplished at Byzantium, Roman Law in the West was becoming an adjunct of persons rather than the voice of an independent and sovereign society. In this cleavage of East and West there was, nevertheless, a kind of historical justice. For between the Greek and the Latin there was, and is, a deep and abiding antagonism. The enthusiasm of Roman authors for Hellenic models disguised that truth for antiquity, as the ambiguity of the term "classical" has often obscured it for ourselves. Yet the fact persisted, and one clear function of the Middle Ages was to make a new revelation of latinitas, barely possible until the superior light of Hellas was at least partially eclipsed. The contrast, perpetually recurring in medieval authors, between Graeci and Latini does not rest upon differences of nationality or race. The true line of demarcation was always the grammatical or literary language. The Latini were simply the miscellaneous assemblage of peoples who used Latin as their vehicle of literary expression; a similar interpretation must be given to Graeci; and for the same reason, when we arrive in due course at the philosophers of Islam, the single and sufficient excuse for calling them "Arabs" will be that their works were composed in the Arabic tongue. These divisions must not, however, be interpreted too narrowly. They stood less for the interruption of colloquial intercourse than for wide intellectual schisms and radical diversities of mind. Nothing proves this better than a scrutiny of the several occasions, from the ninth to the thirteenth century, when some Greek author was newly translated into Latin. We then learn that the famous Graccia capta ferum..., however true in antiquity, became conspicuously false in the medieval centuries. The truth was rather that each translated Greek became in his turn the captive of latinitas. He entered a world where the very terminology was steeped in Latin associations, and where there flourished a spirit of auctoritas as alien from the traditions of Hellas as the Summa of Aquinas from the dialogues of Plato. To mark the stages in medieval philosophy as a series of Greek invasions is not unscientific; but we have always to add that the result was rather to enlarge a Latin structure than to remodel it on pure Hellenic lines.

The Carolingian Renaissance. John the Scot

After two or three of the darkest centuries in European history the Carolingian renaissance offers a glimmer of daylight. With Charles the Great we see Europe awaking to the consciousness of ignorance and to the need of regaining touch with the past. When Alcuin (ob. 804) was summoned from England to reform the methods of school instruction, he revived the old curriculum of the seven liberal arts, the famous Trivium and Quadrivium, and thus incidentally renewed the study of dialectic, the most durable element in European education. By his own writings, and still more by his pupils, his educational influence was spread widely abroad. An attempt has been made to claim more for him. He has been hailed as the father of Scholasticism (most ambiguous of titles), or at least as the progenitor of philosophy in France. It is more than doubtful, however, if the claim can be upheld. The circle of Charles the Great caught eagerly at the threads of tradition and found novelty enough in ideas far from original. Philosophy itself was a name that stood for the general culture of the liberal arts, or sometimes for dialectic in particular, rather than for the apprehension of grave intellectual problems. In spite, therefore, of the noble work of Alcuin, and in spite of the encyclopedic learning of his pupil Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mayence, and, as he has well been styled, primus praeceptor Germaniae, it is not unfair to judge that no figure of high import for philosophy emerges before the astonishing Johannes Scottus Eriugena, court-philosopher and even, if tales be true, court-jester to Charles the Bald.

The entrance and exit of this mysterious Irishman are swift and histrionic. Appearing suddenly from one wing, he remains on the stage of France just long enough to derange the plot and bewilder the actors, before he vanishes on the other side and is lost in "confused noise without." Long afterwards we learn from William of Malmesbury that the noise was caused by his English scholars, who were busy murdering their master with the points of their pens. Uncertainty about his origin and end is, however, of small consequence. His works are with us, and the occasion of his first and last appearance in the ecclesiastical drama is notorious. Gottschalk, a man of noble birth and a reluctant follower of St Benedict, had extracted from the study of St Augustine a doctrine of "double predestination," which ensured the damnation of the wicked no less firmly than the salvation of the good. Whatever the logical difficulty of evading that conclusion, the moral danger of fatalism was so plainly threatened by it that Hincmar, the powerful and restless Archbishop of Rheims (ob. 882), was roused to vigorous action. The unhappy monk was indicted, condemned, imprisoned, and finally harried into his grave. But Gottschalk or his opinions, did not lack supporters. Assailed from many sides by weighty rebukes, Hincmar judged it expedient to add reason to force, and in a rash moment entrusted to John the Scot the task of demolishing Gottschalk's position. The result was (in the year 851) the treatise on Predestination, which defeated not only Gottschalk but Hincmar and all parties concerned.

The knowledge of Greek, now a rare accomplishment, which John brought with him from Ireland, stood for more than linguistic proficiency. His philosophy is a genuine derivation from Greek sources. Pagan and Christian, and must be interpreted rather by the ideas of the fifth century than by later developments of medieval thought. In the De Praedestinatione, it is true, he affects to rely solely on Latin authors; whence it has been doubtfully inferred that he had not yet acknowledged the sway of the Pseudo-Dionysius. A more likely explanation is found in the controversial character of the work. John's business was to turn against Gottschalk the authorities, especially Augustine, to whom he had appealed. With an ingenuity almost too subtle he carries out this programme, yet only on the surface. The force and substance of his argument belong to Neo-Platonism. Either, therefore, he was already familiar with the Areopagite, or he must in some other way have mastered a body of doctrine akin to the philosophy of Proclus. In any case, the refutation of Gottschalk depends entirely on an account of the Divine Nature developed by Plotinus and his school out of elements originally supplied by Plato. The essence of God, His will, and His intellect, are one pure and indivisible substance identical with goodness. From his eternal perfection no effects but what are good can proceed. If the will of the Creator is the necessity of the creature, yet that will is the pure expression of liberty, and man's necessity is but the appetite for goodness, in which human liberty essentially consists. How, then, shall we distinguish the good from the bad? And how leave room for the freedom of decision upon which moral responsibility depends?. John firmly maintains the reality of liberum arbitrium, and denies that God compels any man to be either good or bad; but the critical question evidently is whether the existence of evil in any real sense can be allowed. Boldly and variously as John wrestles with his problem, he never wavers in his belief that evil is pure negation. Sin, death, and eternal punishment he sees as indivisible links in a chain, but God neither knows nor wills them. What God foreknows he predestinates; whence, if he is said to foreknow evils without predestinating them, this can only be a modus locutionis, designed to stimulate us to deeper understanding of the truth. Foreknowledge itself is but a metaphor; for priority in time has no meaning in relation to God, in whose life is neither past nor future, but only the eternal now.

To do justice to the argument in a few lines is impossible, but its two-edged character and its threat to the orthodox view of sin and punishment will easily be detected. The whole tone of the reasoning, too, must have been foreign to John's contemporaries, who can hardly have failed to see how little he trusted to familiar authorities, and how much to arguments derived from none knew where. It is a mistake, however, to lay as much emphasis as some modern writers have done on John's identification (in the first chapter) of vera philosophia with vera religio. In itself this was no startling novelty, nor was it a mere ruse of debate for John to quote the precedent of Augustine. Verus philosophus est amator Dei was Augustine's summary of the aim of philosophy: the test by which he had tried Socrates and Plato, and found them not far from the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus far, in fact, John was expressing a sound historical judgment on the meaning of philosophy in the past. It is further to be observed that the word is religio, not theologia. A simple identification of philosophy with theology is far from his intention. Broadly speaking, theologia always signifies for him some measure of the divine illumination not vouchsafed outside the Catholic Church. Johannes theologus is his title for the author of the Fourth Gospel, and all theologi belong to a privileged class, from which many philosophi would be excluded. Thus philosophi saeculares is a name for the Pagan sages, and inanis philosophia serves to describe the practice of Jews and heretics, who cling to the letter of the scriptures and pay no heed to the spirit. On the other hand, philosophia in its widest sense can cover the entire search for wisdom, of which theology is the highest but not the only part. No greater libel, certainly, can be fastened on John the Scot than to represent him as dressing up in the garb of Christianity some Pagan philosophy in which alone he believed. No vestige of such an intention can be traced in his pages. He is ardently, almost passionately, Christian. What his feelings would have been had he learned that "Dionysius" was an author never heard of before the sixth century, and, possibly, a pupil of Proclus(ob. 485), it is vain to conjecture. As it is, he had probably never heard of Proclus, nor ever read a word of Plotinus. Plato he counts the chief of philosophers — the merest commonplace in Christian writers down to the end of the twelfth century — but from the Platonic secta he more than once dissociates himself, and never would he have dreamed of making Plato the equal, in his theological knowledge, of the Greek Fathers, or Dionysius, or Augustine.

Some caution is needed, again, in describing his view of reason and authority. For while it is common to quote from him such sayings as auctoritas ex vera ratione processit, ratio vera nequaqnam ex auctoritate, it is no less common to ignore the qualifications of the context, and to omit altogether many other passages of a very different color. Ratio itself is a difficult and ambiguous term. Sometimes it comprehends all the operations of the mind; sometimes it means only the discursive, dialectical reason, which stands on a permanently lower level than intellectus sive animus sive mens. The last thing John would suggest is that reason, in this narrower sense, can find out and interpret the ways of God. His point is rather that auctoritas is valuable only in so far as it represents what the intellect of saintly theologi has revealed. Reason itself demands our reverence for what is above reason; it does not, however, demand blind subservience to patristic utterances, or to the bare letter of the Scriptures, any more than it encourages us to put our trust in petty dialectic. To force him into a rigid dilemma of reason and authority is likely to be an anachronism only less regrettable than the proposal to enlist him on the side of the Nominalists or the Realists. A mind like his refuses to be imprisoned in any such antithesis. What he believes in is the illumination of the mind with a heavenly radiance, as easily dimmed by ratio in one way as by auctoritas in another.

The charge of Pantheism

The traditional accusation against the De Divisione Naturae — surely one of the most remarkable books in the world — is that of Pantheism. The charge would be more convincing if its authors would sometimes go so far as to tell us what Pantheism means. Presumably, it implies at least some kind of identification or confusion of God with His creatures, some materialisation of the Divine Nature, with loss of transcendence and the Creator's prerogative. Now in the De Divisione Naturae there is a rich abundance of statements that seem to point in that direction. Yet no one, it is reasonable to suggest, who has striven to master the book as a whole, with due appreciation of its earlier sources, will judge "Pantheism "to be other than an idle and empty description of the doctrines set forth by John the Scot. The universe, as he conceived of it, is one stupendous yet graded theophania. God is in omnibus and supra omnia, revealed in all His creatures, yet eternally transcending them all. They who declare that God is thus degraded below Himself must be prepared to deny that Jesus was God as well as man. For man is the officina omnis creaturae, the perfect microcosm; whence the Incarnation reveals, in a single flash, the whole relation of God to the universe, even as the resurrection of Christ displays in a moment the reditus or reversio of all things to God. John himself was well aware of the danger to which he exposed himself. Anticipating the charge of Pantheism, he strove by many illustrations and analogies to accommodate his high and difficult thoughts to men of ruder understanding. In this he did not succeed. When not wholly neglected, his book was usually suspect. After lying comparatively dormant for more than three centuries, it was brought into fresh notoriety by the heretical Amalric of Bene. A preliminary condemnation at Paris in 1210 was followed in 1225 by the sentence of Honorius III, who ordered all discoverable copies to be committed to the flames. Upon this, perhaps, the fairest comment is that, if Amalric and his friends had read John as carelessly as some of his modern critics, the action of Honorius may easily be excused.

The false dawn of the Carolingian renaissance faded all too soon into a second spell of darkness. Knowledge of Greek and the power of comparing eastern with western traditions John the Scot did not bequeath to the following generations. His translations of Dionysius and Maximus Confessor — sad examples of the verbum de verba method — may well have been unintelligible, while his commentaries or glosses on Martianus Capella and Boethius would distinguish him less clearly from other men. Disordered and confused by the trend of political events, the Latin world relapsed into the confinement of a narrow circle of authors conned over and over again, yet often imperfectly known and understood. It is possible, however, to draw too wide an inference from the poverty of a philosophical library. Paucity of materials alone will not account for mental stagnation. To interpret the intellectual condition of the Middle Ages we must look rather to the vast transformation of the world, as the notion of a civitas Dei gradually supplanted the ideals of Pagan society. In the eyes of Augustine the secular power, no less than the heathen religion, still belongs to the civitas impiorum; to possess and wield it can never be the ambition of the Church. Philosophy again, the property of the Greeks, though far superior to an idolatrous religion, is only an imperfect alternative to the Christian life. But the course of history was too strong for these older partitions and antagonisms. Before the end of the fifth century Pope Gelasius I was making his memorable pronouncement: duo quippe sunt quibus principaliter mundus hic regitur, auctoritas sacrata pontificum et regalis potestas. This royal or imperial power was henceforward to be no Babylonish relic, but a necessary element in the life of a single, all-embracing society. However delegated or dispersed among princes, the temporal sovereignty must remain the sword of the spiritual, the instrument for extending and protecting the Kingdom of God upon earth. Authority of all kinds was gradually concentrated, until the thought of a philosophy unrelated to dogmatic propositions became as intolerable as the pretence of any secular power to stand outside the Church. The Creed and the Scriptures became the official source alike of law and of wisdom. The vis coactiva was now the appurtenance of knowledge, the knowledge divinely imparted to the Christian society. In such a society (no matter how much the papal theory was disputed) the weight of tradition could not fail to be overwhelming. From heresy to schism was now the briefest of steps, and novelty had always to justify itself. "Many men", says John the Scot, "are roused from slumber by heretics, that they may see the day of the Lord and rejoice." No shrewder judgment could be passed on the history of medieval philosophy. For most of the greater changes were due less to original speculation, or even to the acquisition of new materials, than to the suspicion of heresy. Opinions denounced at first were often enough accepted on second thoughts. The power of adapting and absorbing fresh ideas never wholly ceased to operate, but all was governed by the general assumption that unchanging truth was already revealed. Meanwhile, the habit of deference to tradition was extended, almost unwittingly, to such records of Pagan knowledge as fortune had preserved. None would have ranked a Greek philosopher with the Scriptures, but when reverence for the past was combined with lack of critical power, the result was to establish certain books or authors in a position not easy to shake.

Medieval knowledge of Plato and Aristotle

Some of the medieval limitations we may briefly illustrate by glancing at the sources of their acquaintance with Aristotle and Plato. The first name to be honoured is Boethius. To his translations of the Categories (with the Isagoge of Porphyry) and the De Interpretatione together with his own commentaries and logical treatises, was due virtually the whole knowledge of Aristotle accessible to medieval students from the sixth century to the middle of the twelfth. Boethius had intended to introduce the whole of Aristotle to the Latins, and some confusion has been caused by the more than doubtful ascription to him of translations of the rest of the Organon, the De Anima, and the Metaphysics. It is fairly certain, however, that before the age of John of Salisbury Aristotle was directly represented only by two of his minor logical works, supplemented by a few fragments of information gathered from various sources. An important consequence, too often overlooked, was the restriction of his authority to a very narrow sphere. In dialectic he was admittedly the master, but in philosophy as a whole the evidence is incontestable that Plato occupied the highest place in general esteem. And yet, when we turn to the medieval knowledge of Plato, we may well be surprised at his lofty position. For nothing of his actual writings could be studied in Latin but a fragment of a single dialogue, the Timaeus.

Between the cases of Plato and Aristotle there was, however, a very wide difference. When Aristotle arrived in translations he was almost a stranger; and even when the work of Boethius had raised him to unchallenged sovereignty in the province of logic, he still was enthroned in a certain isolation, with little historical background and with no evident affinity to the Christian way of life. Platonism, on the other hand, was almost inhaled with the air. Boethius himself was a Platonist, and so was Porphyry. Augustine, too, never forgot his debt to the philosophy which had delivered him from Manichaeism and carried him a long stage on the road to Christ. To indicate all the sources of Platonism would be almost impossible. It must suffice here to notice two from outside the Christian circle, the commentary of Chalcidius that accompanied his version of the Timaeus, and the dissertation of Macrobius on the Somnium Scipionis. To class Chalcidius as non-Christian is perhaps questionable, for he was more probably a Christian than a Pagan or a Jew. His work, however, embodies very little Christian material except an extract from Origen. Dating, perhaps, from the early fourth century, it is neither independent nor critical. The substance of it, if we accept the result of Switalski's investigation, is derived from an earlier commentary, very possibly by the hand of the eminent Stoic, Posidonius. The outcome is an eclectic medley or muddle of divers authorities, gathered under the sway of the infallible Plato. The later Platonism, we must remember, was even more than eclectic. Its aim was to absorb and to reconcile, to appear as a summary of all previous Greek speculation. Much of the uncritical confusion of ideas that meets us everywhere in the Middle Ages was simply a legacy from Chalcidius and the less intelligent followers of Plotinus in the decline of the ancient world.

The Influence of Macrobius

Roughly similar qualities appear in the work of Macrobius, a writer who, late in the fifth century, had contrived to remain untouched by the Christian influence. His detachment from the Church makes it all the more interesting to discover in him that medievalism of mind so often rated as a purely Christian product. In him we have already the medieval Virgil, and along with that strange invention all the baffling mixture of science and nonsense that was to float about Europe for more than a thousand years. How medieval, too, is the deference of Macrobius to the great names of the past. Yet Macrobius is far from contemptible, and the debt of the Middle Ages to him was immense. To him was due what little was known of Plotinus, the fourfold classification of the virtues, the threefold gradation of Deus, mens, and anima, the illumination of all creatures as in an orderly series of mirrors by the unus fulgor, the descent of the soul to its material habitation, and its yearning for restoration to its eternal home. When Christians read in Macrobius of the soul's imprisonment in a vesture of clay, of its wandering on earth as a pilgrim, of heaven as the true patria, of philosophy as meditatio mortis, they caught the genuine accent of religion and welcomed Platonism as a natural ally. Actual knowledge of the original Plato Macrobius did not greatly increase. Behind the Somnium Scipionis, according to Schedler's recent enquiry, lies once more the Timaeus, as interpreted first by Porphyry and handed on by intermediate writers to Macrobius. If that be so, it helps to account for the frequent difficulty of deciding, when no names are mentioned, whether a medieval writer is using Chalcidius, or Macrobius, or sometimes the De Consolatione of Boethius. The same brand of Platonism, with the same tincture of new Pythagoreanism, is recognisable in all.

The lines of thought broadly indicated by Plato and Aristotle run through the Middle Ages. From Plato came the wider inspiration and the higher call; from Aristotle the perception of difficulties and contradictions, with the demand for dialectical skill. Nowhere, as it happens, were the defects of medieval knowledge of history more conspicuous than in this very matter of dialectic. The most learned doctors were unaware that dialectic had held in Plato's estimation a far higher place than Aristotle would allow. They did not know why Aristotle himself had sometimes preferred and sometimes rejected it, nor how far removed was his trivial use of it as an exercise for students from the profundity of his dialectical analysis of moral experience. They knew just enough to warrant the dispute whether dialectic was properly concerned with words or with things; and enough, unfortunately, to encourage a confusion of the ars disserendi with the total activity of reason. During the two dark centuries after the appearance of John the Scot dialectic was, however, the beacon. We can dimly trace the rise of factions, the growth of the contest between dialecticians and anti-dialecticians, which was to reach its climax in the age of Abelard. For the rest, the condition of Europe was unfriendly to speculation, and the flagrance of moral disorders left no leisure for adventures of the intellect.

The tenth century

The tenth century is singularly barren. Scarcely a name of distinction is recorded in the annals of philosophy, save that of Gerbert of Aurillac (ob. 1003), who was raised to the Papacy as Sylvester II. Even Gerbert was more remarkable for his skill in mathematics, and for his services to humane education, than for any direct contribution to philosophy. To his pupil and patron, Otto III, he dedicated a logical text-book with the title Libellus de rationali et ratione uti and he may be the author (though the point is disputed) of a work De Corpore et Sanguine Domini. If so, we can credit him with a perception of the value of dialectic in harmonising discrepant utterances of the Fathers. Some have failed, however, to note that his most striking observation is taken directly from John the Scot. The art which divides genera into species, and resolves species into genera is not (he says) the product of human machinations, but was discovered by the wise in the very nature of things, where the Author of all the arts had placed it. This is taken verbatim from the De Divisione Naturae where it stands as a comment on the work of the Creator. Gerbert's influence, however, did not depend exclusively on his books. His distinction as a teacher is indisputable, and while his personal association was with the cathedral-school of Rheims, he became, through his pupil Fulbert (ob. 1028), the indirect founder of the more famous school of Chartres.

The attribution to Gerbert of a work on the Eucharist is, in any case, an indication of the subject which did more, perhaps, than any other in this unproductive period to stimulate curiosity and to awaken controversy about the use and abuse of dialectic. Already in the ninth century Paschasius Radbert and Ratramnus had earned some notoriety by their discussion of the Blessed Sacrament; and now a larger disturbance was created, some while after Gerbert, by the De Caena Domini of Berengar of Tours. Devout minds not unnaturally felt a strong distaste for the analysis of a mystery, but Berengar was less sensitive. He magnified the function of dialectic, and thus proved himself an imperfect scholar of John the Scot, by whom he is said to have been inspired. The most eminent critic of Berengar's "theological feet" was Archbishop Lanfranc (1005-1089), himself well reputed in dialectic but disposed to restrict the art to a subordinate position. Augustine, he allows, had thought well of it; and, lest he should seem to be afraid of Berengar's weapons, he will waive his own preference for trusting to the traditions of the Church where mysteries of the faith are concerned. He accuses Berengar of parading his skill in disputation, and suggests that a confession of ignorance is sometimes better than arrogant obstinacy. The tone of his remonstrance is dignified and sensible. He does not look on dialectic as necessarily hostile to the faith, but thinks it a perilous exercise for shallow and contentious minds.

Another contemporary name, Peter Damian (ob. 1072), deserves to be mentioned. Justly famed for his saintly life, Petrus peccator, as he styled himself, stands in the main for the monastic tendency to think more highly of practical religion than of intellectual attempts to explain and justify the faith. He wrote, however, several works of theology, in one of which, the De Divina Omnipotentia, he discusses the use of philosophy in "sacred disputations." It is here that he introduces the celebrated phrase, ancilla dominae, to denote the proper relation of dialectic to theology. Less energy, perhaps, would have been spent in remonstrance against this apparent degradation of reason, if more attention had been paid to the current usage of terms. Philosophia often means no more than dialectic, and dialectic no more than a display of captious arguments. That the Christian position as a whole (the Christian philosophy, in fact) was irrational, Peter Damian and his contemporaries would never have admitted. The antithesis of ratio and auctoritas was then far less comprehensive than the final problem, scarcely realized before the age of Aquinas, whether the independence of philosophy could be reconciled with the Catholic position. To assign to dialectic a merely ancillary office is not necessarily obscurantism. It often meant no more than the logical commonplace, that ratiocinatio presupposes the concession of premises. In a deeper sense, it meant that experience must precede the attempt to explain it, and that the testimony of many generations cannot easily be overthrown by a talent for repartee.

The work of Anselm

With the illustrious name of Anselm a new chapter begins. As a pupil of Lanfranc he belongs chronologically (103-1109) to the eleventh century, but in mind and spirit must rank as the herald of the sustained intellectual effort which culminated two centuries later in the systems of Albertus Magnus and Aquinas. For this reason he has often been saluted as the true founder of Scholasticism, a title we should bestow with greater confidence, did any definition of Scholasticism command universal assent. Unfortunately it is not so. After much pedantic and even acrimonious discussion we are left uncertain whether "scholastic" and "medieval" philosophy should be identified or clearly distinguished, whether "scholasticism" is the name of a method or of a result, whether there was one pre-eminently scholastic problem, and whether one particular solution has a right to be called scholastic. Thus is medieval philosophy, so fertile in distinctions, pursued by the shadow of itself. The wisest course, perhaps, is to stand aside from the controversy. It is agreed that the term scholasticus (applicable either to master or to pupil) meant uncommonly little; it is agreed also that the great doctors of the thirteenth century may rightly be called schoolmen. For the rest, it is enough to interpret, as best one can, the course of events.

To call Anselm an original thinker is not to deny his obligations to others. In the preface to the Monologium he protests that nothing in his doctrine is out of harmony with the Catholic Fathers, especially the Blessed Augustine. The product of his mind is, however, original inasmuch as it is the outcome of personal experience, the fruit of profound meditation upon the nature of his faith. "Enter into the cubicle of thy mind; shut out all things but God and whatsoever mav help thee to seek for Him; then close the door and seek". Thus he writes in the first chapter of the Proslogion, before expounding his proof of God's existence; and none, perhaps, who are deaf to the exhortation will feel any force in the proof. Still more clearly does he express his position in the words of the De Fide Trinitatis. The Church, he means, had not invented new intellectual instruments, but rather had proclaimed the advent of a new spiritual experience, itself the condition of understanding the meaning of life. Mere rationalism, on the other hand, could originate nothing; for reason, as discursive and critical, depends for its materials on a higher mode of experience. On this point at least Christianity was at one with Platonism, and Anselm himself is, on the whole, a kind of Platonist. His Platonism, however, is derived from Augustine, not, as some have alleged, from John the Scot; for Anselm is by no means committed to the negative theology of Neo-Platonism, which is the very essence of the Irish philosophers teaching. Well as he knows that the names we apply to the Divine Nature are but shadows and symbols, he is never possessed by that ecstasy of intellectual asceticism which glories in the denial of attributes, and pays its last tribute to omniscience by declaring that God Himself cannot know what He is.

Anselm's argument for the necessary existence of id quo maius cogitari nequit is no plea for a negative abstraction. Read in connexion with the Monologium it is seen as an attempt to clothe the One, which alone participates in nothing, but is what it is, with the attributes of an individual spirit, unbounded by space and time, yet present everywhere and always, without parts and qualities, yet containing in very essence life, salvation, beatitude, and all possible perfections. Nearest to God, and best able to serve as a mirror of His image, is mens (another link with Neo-Platonism); and since mens is the innermost nature of man, to "enter into the cubicle of the mind," shutting out all lower manifestations of being, is the true way of access. The formal weakness of the argument was at once detected by the monk Gaunilo; whose objection, however, that the transition from what exists only in intellectu to what exists also in re cannot thus be effected, leaves Anselm quite unperturbed. The pretence that the same argument might prove the existence of the most perfect island he declares to be a misapprehension of the point. If his argument can be applied to anything but the Supreme Being, he is ready to make Gaunilo a present of the island, and to promise that it shall never vanish away.

The "ontological" argument, however, was always viewed with suspicion. In this, as in some other respects, Anselm did not precisely anticipate the position of later scholastics. Even his fides quaerens intellectum does not accurately express the method of those who afterwards made a more exact distinction between truths demonstrable by reason and truths revealed only to faith. Tentative steps in that direction were taken by Anselm, but he went farther than his successors in attempting, for example, to arrive by reasoning at the doctrine of the Trinity; an image of which, following an Augustinian tradition, he discovers in the human soul. Anselm, in fact, was not directly interested in the question whether it was possible to concede to philosophy a province where certain problems could be solved by reason alone. He perceived the distinction (as he shews in the Cur Deus homo) between seeking reasons because you do not believe, and seeking them because you do; but it was the latter case that chiefly inspired his arguments, and so made him, in a certain sense, more rationalistic than those who afterwards defined their concessions to reason.

A fuller account of Anselm would refer to his theories of sense-perception, judgment, the freedom of the will, and other psychological matters. But these are of less importance in the history of his own time than his controversy with Roscelin, about whose doctrines, as it happens, Anselm is our best source of information. To call the controversy important is not for a moment to allow that the single theme of Nominalism and Realism is the clue to medieval philosophy. On the contrary, Roscelin is important because he succeeded, perhaps for the first and last time, in disturbing the ecclesiastical arena by manufacturing a heresy out of this topic of the schools. It is, in fact, one of the bewildering accidents of history that the Platonic "idea" became the basis of medieval "realism," whereas the "idealism" of Berkeley and later philosophers has nothing to do with either Plato or the medieval controversy. For in whatever sense we attribute "conceptualism" to medieval logicians, it must certainly not be in a sense that would bring them into line with an idealist philosophy never clearlv formulated before the seventeenth or eighteenth century.

Apart from the unabashed Platonists, the prevailing tendency of medieval writers was to follow Aristotle or Boethius in holding that universals could not "subsist" except in association with individual things. At the same time it was freely allowed that the intellect had the power of viewing them in abstraction from sensible things, and that the common element in things, from which we derive the notions of genus and species, was no mere fiction of the mind. What complicated the dispute between Platonists and Aristotelians was the appearance of Nominalism; and what has thrown the whole history of the subject into confusion is the belief, originating mainly with some distinguished French scholars, that the war of Nominalists and Realists began in the ninth century and persisted until the close of the Middle Ages. Since it is impossible here to scrutinize the evidence, nothing more can be offered than a dogmatic assertion that this view is untenable. Nominalism was an intellectual firework of the age of Roscelin and Abelard; for which reason, among others, it is also an anachronism to talk of Realism in connection with John the Scot or other writers of that period. Even when the nominalis secta (as John of Salisbury was perhaps the first to call it) has been rightly dated, it is no easy task to define and explain its doctrine. The contention that only individual things exist in their own right is no more Nominalist than Aristotelian. Nothing characteristic of the new sect appears until the whole stress is laid on voces or nomina. If universals are mere flatus vocis, if their reality is only the physical reality belonging to a percussio aeris, then indeed we have a doctrine inconsistent alike with the Platonic Realism and with the tradition of Boethius. Absurd as the doctrine may sound to modem ears, it was a not unnatural product of the long-established opinion that logic, in company with grammar and rhetoric, was primarily concerned with words. Meanwhile the importance of Nominalism for the twelfth century was that it re-opened the whole question of universals, split up the camp of the anti-nominalists into factions, and produced all the varieties of doctrine enumerated by John of Salisbury and other writers. The logical and metaphysical problems thus brought to light were perfectly genuine. Much the same difficulties may be found in modern books of logic, and the solutions offered do not differ fundamentally from those current in medieval times.

According to Anselm, Roscelin presented the world with a dilemma. Either, he argued, the three Persons of the Trinity are one res; in which case the Father and the Spirit were incarnate together with the Son: or they are three, like three souls or three angels; in which case only convention forbids us to speak of three Gods. The second alternative, a kind of Tritheism, Roscelin felt himself driven to prefer by his denial of reality to universals and his reduction of them to mere flatus vocis. Much ingenuity has been wasted in arguing that Roscelin's doctrine was not genuine Nominalism (whatever that may happen to be), and that Anselm must have misrepresented the case. But where is the evidence? There is none of importance but Roscelin's letter to Abelard, which contributes nothing to the point, a few words by Abelard himself, who speaks of Roscelin's "insane opinion" that voces alone could have parts or species, and a statement by John of Salisbury, who makes Roscelin the author of the "exploded opinion". What little we learn from these sources is at least consistent with the assertions of Anselm. Anselm was no fanatical heresy-hunter, and Roscelin was doubtless sincere in repudiating heretical intentions. But that is not the point. The question is whether there is any ground for regarding him as a distressed and persecuted champion of reason; and the answer, surely, must be that there is none.

The flatus vocis theory, whether invented by Roscelin or by one John the Sophist, was clearly a modernism, a heresy in dialectic, with no support from tradition. To translate it into Conceptualism appears to be wholly unwarrantable; Anselm treats it rather as a kind of stupid materialism, and gives not the slightest hint that he and Roscelin are ranged on opposite sides in an old and respectable controversy. He does not even trouble to define his own view of universals, but leaves us to gather what we may from scattered passages in his writings. Distressing as this may be to the historian of logic, the historian of philosophy will find in Anselm's very silences and omissions fresh reason for rejecting the once common opinion that medieval thinkers exhausted themselves for centuries in trying to define the nature of universals. It is scarcely too much to say that Anselm does not care what they are, so long as the function of reason is not simply confounded with sensuous perception. Neither things nor ideas are mere words and breath, but in what sense things and ideas are identical or distinct he is at no great pains to decide. The term "Nominalism" was not yet invented, nor the varieties of Realism yet arranged for classification. Nevertheless, we may still find reason to doubt whether Nominalism is exactly the right name for the doctrine propounded by Roscelin.

The position of Abelard

Among those who once called Roscelin master was he who called no man master for long. The stormy and romantic career of Peter Abelard has won for him a kind of immortality not conceded to philosophy alone. By his side, to claim a share in that immortality, stands the partner in his calamities and his joys. With all his weakness, his vanity, his almost wanton pugnacity, there must have been in Abelard some quality of greatness, something that forbade men to gaze on him with indifference and pass by on the other side. He had at least the virtuosity of genius; he was born to fascinate or to repel. In vain was he driven into exile; for where the master was there was the school.

Much the same gift of attraction and repulsion has been transmitted, it would seem, with Abelard's writings, to perplex the judgment of modern historians, and to fashion estimates of his worth non solum diversa verum etiam adversa, as once he said himself of the utterances of the saints. Unfair detraction is too apt to provoke extravagant eulogy; for to maintain that we have in Abelard the greatest mind of the Middle Ages is surely extravagant. A great teacher he certainly was, a shrewd and fearless critic, a mighty champion of dialectic, the mistress, as he declared, of all philosophical studies. But when we look for inspiration, for profundity of insight, for constructive power and masterly comprehension, we find but little to justify comparison of Abelard with John the Scot or Anselm or Thomas Aquinas. His passion for dialectic was even a sign of his limitations, the more conspicuous as we come to understand by closer scrutiny that he never wholly succeeded in raising dialectic to the level at which it ceases to be an ingenious art of words. His theory of universals, which agrees neither with Roscelin's nor with contemporary realism, it will be convenient to postpone until we have occasion to look at John of Salisbury's review of the subject. Even apart from that vexatious question, Abelard exhibits clearly the disadvantages of imperfect acquaintance with Aristotle, and also the restricted scope of Aristotle's reputation. The title of Peripateticus Palatinus, bestowed by the common voice on Abelard himself, is fully interpreted by his own repeated identification of Peripatetics with dialecticians. We find, accordingly, in Abelard (as in other medieval writers) a curious gap between his logical or dialectical opinions and the general character of his philosophy. It is not so much a question of positive inconsistency as of failure to see any reason why a professed Peripatetic should not also be an ardent follower of Plato. For, as Platonism was then understood, Abelard may certainly be called a Platonist. Immensely influenced by Macrobius, and by what he knew of the Timaeus, he carries Platonism freely into his Christian theology, and, when he styles Plato maximus omnium philosophorum, we cannot doubt that he speaks with conviction. Here, as always before the thirteenth century, the explanation is that Aristotle, the supreme dialectician, was virtually unknown as a physicist, a psychologist, or a metaphysician. Plato, on the other hand, was known, through his admiring reporters, to have scaled all the heights of speculation, and to have won the approval of many Catholic theologians.

What actually brought Abelard to trial and condemnation was neither his general advocacy of dialectic, nor his doctrine of universals, nor the particular method proposed in the Sic et Non. Despite the strong opposition, of which he tells us, to the free use of argument in the province of theology, he would never have furnished his enemies with adequate weapons, had he not been lured by Macrobius into such hazardous suggestions as the identification of the Holy Spirit with the anima mundi, and had he refrained from speculations on the Person of Christ which involved him in questions beyond the range of any ancient philosopher. How far the actual condemnations, at Soissons in 1121 and at Sens in 1140, were due to genuine concern for the faith, and how far to personal hostility, it is difficult to tell. A man who ridiculed his masters, such as William of Champeaux and Anselm of Laon, besides imperilling the reputation of other accredited teachers, such as Alberic of Rheims, could not hope to tread with impunity even on the borders of heresy. Yet the case of St Bernard of Clairvaux, the chief instigator of the second prosecution, is different. Bernard was a great man, a saint and a mystic, sharply touched, no doubt, with the defects of his qualities, but neither petty nor insincere. His own unique position could scarcely be shaken by Abelard; and just as it is fair to Abelard to believe in the sincerity of his faith, so is it fair to Bernard to allow that he had considerable reasons for regarding as a pestilent fellow one who caused trouble always and everywhere, and who apparently encouraged his pupils to think that the rudiments of philosophy were enough to reveal to them the secrets of heaven and earth. But the time has gone by for taking sides in this unhappy quarrel. Our business is only to enquire what Abelard did, or failed to do, for philosophy in an age when it was as hard to distinguish philosophy from theology as to disentangle the State from the Church.

On the whole he must stand or fall by his services to dialectic, the chosen object of his perpetual enthusiasm. To what lengths he went in magnifying its importance (even though he inveighs at times against its abuse) we may gather from his thirteenth epistle, where he argues that logic, as derived from logos, and thus connected with the verbum Dei, is pre-eminently the Christian science. Jesus Christ was the Logos incarnate, and logic was the wisdom promised to the disciples, the os et sapientia which their enemies would be unable to resist. Christ prepares for them, says Abelard, an armor of reasons. And who is ignorant, he adds, that Our Lord Himself convinced the Jews by frequent disputations? Rarely has the fundamental ambiguity of the word logos been better illustrated than by this passage, or indeed by the whole work of Abelard. Natural as it seems to suppose him to be upholding the sacred cause of reason and the mission of philosophy as a fearless search for the truth, he is never, at least in his eulogies of dialectic, more than half way towards that position. Dialectic remains for him the ars disputandi, by which you sharpen your wits to detect fallacies, and learn to know a good argument from a bad. Much service, indeed, may thus be rendered to the cause of truth; for how can truth and falsity be distinguished by one whom sophistical reasoning may deceive? Nevertheless, the gulf between the art of reasoning without fallacy and the real inquisition of truth is formidable and wide, too wide, one is forced to admit, for any bridge of Abelard's construction. A fairer criticism would be that he did not try to span it. He glorified dialectic and believed that all theological questions should be freely debated. Again, he believed that Gentile philosophers, if not actually inspired from heaven, should at least be allowed to bring their treasures of knowledge into the house of the Lord. But the plea for an unfettered use of dialectic and the plea for (let us roughly call it) a Platonised theology were very imperfectly unified in Abelard's mind.

The Sic et Non

The Sic et Non, Abelard's most famous exposition of method, is chiefly remarkable for its prologue. Dialectic being the proper solvent of contradictions, he proposes to apply it to a long list of apparent discrepancies, some of them found in the canonical books of Scripture, others in the teaching of the Fathers and the Saints. His rules of procedure are various. We must beware of apocryphal books and sayings; we must note that the Fathers (Augustine, for instance) sometimes retracted their earlier views, sometimes quoted opinions not endorsed by themselves, sometimes adapted or modified their precepts to suit special cases. Especially must we take into account the diverse meanings of words and their various usage by different authors. If, however, there remain, after all these precautions, certain contradictions beyond the help of dialectic, we must first balance and compare the authorities, and then firmly take our stand with the best. Not even prophets and apostles were infallible; much more, then, must errors be expected in the doctrines of ordinary men. Abelard does not, however, admit that the Scriptures can err. When we seem to detect absurdities on the sacred pages, we must attribute them to bad manuscripts, to faulty interpretations, or to deficiencies in our own intelligence. Outside the Old and New Testaments, on the other hand, we have perfect freedom of judgment, and when dialectic has done its best for the Fathers, we retain our right to dissent from their doctrine.

The sanity and good sense of these principles has not prevented much uncertainty as to their ultimate intention. But while it is possible to hold that Abelard's real aim was the destruction of authority, it is more reasonable to credit him with the true purpose of the dialectician, the removal of apparent contradictions and the establishment of truth on a critical basis. For all his love of contention, Abelard was no mere rebel or anarchist. In his own way he had a sincere respect for authority. He believed that truth was inherent in the tradition of the Church, but he did not believe in the promiscuous swallowing of contradictions. We should do injustice, therefore, to his dialectical acumen, if we supposed him to have piled up a mass of affirmations and negations with no other design but to discredit the testimony of the past. Even when his candor and the excellence of his intentions are freely admitted, it is easy enough, if we please, to disparage Abelard's performance. The application of his method to a long array of theological problems is strangely barren of result. Again and again he simply opposes the sic and the non without attempting any critical solution. Here, too, and elsewhere in his writings, he fails to advance much beyond the verbal or linguistic aspect of the dialectical art. The presentation of opposite views, quite apart from verbal ambiguities, as complementary to one another, and hence as equally true or equally false, is somewhat beyond his range. And again, the originality of his method has been challenged. Bernold of Constance (ob. 1100), lately resuscitated by Grabmann, seems to have adopted much the same procedure; while the influence of Ivo of Chartres and the canonists has also to be considered. Equally doubtful is it how far the dialectical method of subsequent theologians was due to imitation of Abelard, and how far to the recovery of Aristotle's Topics. On no hypothesis, however, can the weight of Abelard's contribution to intellectual progress be fairly denied. His stimulus to slumbering dogmatists was invaluable; his courage in attacking difficulties was an example to the timorous; in the number and eminence of his pupils his high distinction of mind is loudly proclaimed. From Abelard it will be convenient to pass to one of his contemporaries, whose influence, very different in quality, was perhaps equally great.

Hugh of St Victor

Hugh of St Victor (c. 1096-1141), the most distinguished of a group of men attached to the same religious foundation at Paris, is seldom named without expressions of the deepest respect. So far as he allows himself to appear in his writings, we cannot fail to get a delightful impression of his character, if only because he has the rare gift of wearing humility without affectation, as a kind of natural charm. By temperament he was a genuine mystic. Principium in lectione, consummatio in meditatione was his motto, and the nature of our subject perhaps forbids us to disturb his meditations. Nor will it be possible to examine his theological masterpiece, the De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei. But Hugh was not only a mystic, nor merely, in the restricted sense, a theologian. In him were united, says St Bonaventura, the gifts derived from Augustine, from Gregory the Great, and from Dionysius the Areopagite. In reasoning, in preaching, in contemplation he was equally proficient; to which we may add that in his Didascalicon he has left us a valuable document on the nature of philosophy, its divisions and ultimate goal. This book betrays, in the first place, a wide and generous appetite for knowledge. His own diligence as a schoolboy he paints in pleasing colors; and already, perhaps, he was noting the weakness of teachers who would not stick to their subject, but wandered away into variations too weighty for their theme.

Classification and definition of subjects within the whole field of knowledge form the main purpose of the Didascalicon. The fourfold partition into theorica, practica, mechanica, and logica is remarkable for the inclusion of mechanica (divided into seven arts and crafts), but is not, in that respect, original. Grabmann has found the same division in an unpublished work by Radulphus Ardens, who is last heard of in 1101. So much, in fact, is common to the two writers that it is difficult to believe in their complete independence. An even greater debt to Boethius must be acknowledged. From him Hugh borrows the threefold division, anciently though wrongly ascribed to Plato, upon which mechanica is grafted; and from him, in the main, come the subdivisions of theorica and practica, with their reminiscences of Aristotle, as well as of other sources familiar to Boethius. Much of the detail we must be content to pass over, but it is worth while to look rather narrowly at Hugh's conception of logic, which is not the less interesting because here too the authority of Boethius is preponderant.

Hugh of St Victor remarks and lays bare the historic ambiguity which, after perplexing so many medieval logicians, has not yet ceased to haunt their modern successors. The Greek logos, he says, means either sermo or ratio, whence logic may be called sermotionalis sive rationalis scientia. Sermotionalis is the wider term, because it includes grammar, as well as dialectic and rhetoric, among the species of the genus. Logic covers, in fact, the entire field of sermones, and by sermones is meant the mutuae locutiones of mankind, which existed long before they were governed by any science or art. Not only logic, but all sciences, as Hugh observes, existed in practice before they were reduced to rule. In the order of time logic arose later than the other parts of philosophy, but in the order of studies it should precede them. Just because it does not deal with res, it is indispensable to those who would enquire de rerum natura. Without its aid they will be likely to go astray, by assuming that results always hold good in the nature of things. Now all this is taken, often word for word, from Boethius. It expresses, too, the most general and persistent conception of logic in the Middle Ages; and whenever we, with our modern ideas, are tempted to wander away in the direction of metaphysics and the wider theory of knowledge, we begin to lose touch with an age that thought of logic as sermotionalis, as a study rather of words and speech than of things.

How, then, does the logician deal with sermones? Not as the rhetorician, whose business is persuasion, nor as the grammarian, who is interested in the structure and inflexion of words. The object of his study is what Hugh calls intellectus, a term to be clearly distinguished from voces. Words as voces are only sounds of the particular kind produced in human speech and analysed by the grammarian. Intellectus are much more than this. The worst translation of the word would be "concepts"; the best, perhaps, is "meanings."

More personal, and perhaps more interesting, than the account of logic are Hugh's general appreciation of philosophy and his usage of the term theologia. Even here it is not easy to shake off Boethius; for in some passages of the Didascalicon "theology" bears only the meaning derived by Boethius from an assortment of Greek philosophers, without reference to Christian doctrine. There is also a strange and difficult allusion to John the Scot, whom Hugh describes as "theologian of our times" (i.e. of the Christian era), but classes with Linus among the Greeks and with Varro among the Latins. Nor, again, is philosophia a name without ambiguity. It may denote a complete and almost religious devotion to the pursuit of knowledge, involving renunciation of the world. At other times, however, he seems to disparage philosophy, as when he declares that, in comparison with the Scriptures, the books of the philosophers are but a white-washed wall of mud, gay with the tinsel of eloquence and the specious pretence of truth. The superiority of Scripture is shown by the richer and more numerous senses hidden under its surface.

As an allegorist, Hugh of St Victor is not extravagant; for at least he insists on the need of understandins the literal or historical sense as the foundation of all other meanings. Whether Hugh's various judgments can be reconciled is very questionable, but his constant advocacy of all human knowledge forbids us to suppose that he ever desires to condemn philosophy as verbal trifling. His point is that the meaning of the world disclosed by philosophy falls short of the mystical insight which pierces the veil of phenomena and passes through "history" to the revelation of God. Hugh's praise of allegory is important, finally, as marking the point of his opposition to Abelard, and his reasons for rejecting the method of the Sic et Non. Though Abelard is never mentioned in the Didascalicon there is one probable and one almost certain allusion to him. The first is the rebuke to those who "wrinkle up their nose" in scorn at the teachers of divinity, as though the subject were too simple to require the aid of instructed masters. The second and more important is the chapter in which allegorical interpretation is proposed as the true way of removing apparent contradictions in Scripture.

Peter the Lombard

The rapid convergence of the Peripatetic and Victorine streams is illustrated in the Summa Sententiarum long ascribed to Hugh of St Victor himself, and in the more famous Libri Sententiarum IV of Peter the Lombard, who came from Italy to Paris about 1139, was advanced to the bishopric of that city in 1159, and died not later than 1164. Literature of the Sententia type was by no means the invention of him who secured the title of Magister Sententiarum. Much the same meaning of Sententia can be traced back at least as far as Isidore of Seville, and more recently there had been great development of the method by Abelard's masters or opponents, Anselm of Laon, William of Champeaux, and Alberic of Rheims, as well as by the canonist Irnerius (or Guarnerius), who composed, early in the twelfth century, a book of Sentences compiled from Augustine and other authorities. Broadly speaking, the collections of Sententiae form a stage between the ancient Florilegia or Catenae and the systematic Summae of the thirteenth century. The massing of authoritative statements with a view to establishing truth by consensus of witnesses led gradually to two results, the formation of an orderly scheme for the exposition of theology and the emergence of antitheses demanding the skill of the dialectician. Peter the Lombard was no original genius; we cannot even be sure that he was a man of exceptional learning; for, after the manner of the Middle Ages, he borrowed freely and without acknowledgment from the Decretum of Gratian, from Abelard and Hugh of St Victor, and from any other convenient treasury of sources. Nevertheless, he outran all competitors in his own kind of compilation, and finally established himself as the very text of theological education, upon which innumerable masters and students were to furnish the commentary. For the development of philosophy his chief importance lies in his frank submission to the influence of Abelard, whose lectures he probably had heard. The result was that the pupil, rather than the master, was responsible for the triumph of the dialectical method in later theology.

The triumph was not achieved, however, without a struggle, prolonged for more than fifty years after Peter the Lombard's death. Certain propositions in his Christology were easily open to attack, and were, in fact, so questionable that regular exponents of his treatise afterwards made a practice of omitting them. But the main opposition sprang from anti-dialecticians of the Victorine School. Shortly before the Third Lateran Council of 1179 Walter of St Victor wrote a violent pamphlet Contra quattuor labyrinthos Franciae: the four offenders being Abelard, Peter the Lombard, Gilbert de la Porrée, and Peter of Poitiers, an ardent follower of the Lombard, who had published his own five books of Sententiae before 1175. Other sources of hostility to the Master were the unknown writer of the Liber de vera Philosophia and the celebrated mystic, Joachim of Flora (oft. 1202). But Joachim himself was too suspect to bring home a charge of heresy against another, and the end of the matter, so far as the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 could end it, was the condemnation of Joachim and the official recognition of Peter the Lombard. A considerable step was thus taken towards the conciliation of ratio and auctoritas, even though ratio still meant little more than the free use of dialectic, and auctoritas was still but vaguely defined.

Incidentally we may note that Walter of St Victor's attack was directed also against the work of John of Damascus (ob. 750), known to the Latins as the De Fide Orthodoxa and newly translated from the Greek (as the result of a visit to Constantinople) by Burgundio of Pisa. In the Lombard's Sentences only some twenty-six citations of the "St Thomas of the East" have been discovered, and these are all taken from a section of the third book, relating to the Incarnation. As it came to be more fully known, the vogue of the De Fide Orthodoxa steadily increased, not least because the author's sympathy with Aristotelianism recommended him to the great doctors of the thirteenth century and supported their practice.

John of Salisbury

The intellectual condition of the twelfth century is nowhere so perfectly reflected as in the writings of John of Salisbury, who rose to be secretary to three Archbishops of Canterbury (including Becket), the intimate friend of Hadrian IV, the associate and critic of all the great teachers of the age, before he died, as Bishop of Chartres, in 1180. Traveller, scholar, gentleman, good Christian, and good man of the world, he has left behind him in the agreeable latinity of the Policraticus and the Metalogicus an impression of medieval life more illuminating than fifty treatises on logic, and more significant of what philosophy then really meant. In particular we owe to John of Salisbury a large part of our acquaintance with the school of Chartres, the most brilliant example of the old cathedral-school, now about to be superseded by the studium generale, or University. To say that he personally belonged to this school would, however, be inaccurate. He spent some years there and venerated its masters, but he learned also of Abelard, Robert of Melun, Alberic of Rheims, and many others outside the precincts of Chartres; nor is there anything in his works to prove his formal adherence to the characteristic tenets of the school. What makes his testimony so invaluable is just his gift of intellectual detachment and his distaste for the fury of the partisan. In politics, that is to say, in his estimate of the spiritual and the temporal power, it is otherwise; for his hierarchical opinions are definite and strong. Nor is he ever restrained by love of compromise from expressing the frankest of judgments on controversies of the day, much less from lively denunciation of Philistines and fools. Yet, as he passes from one seat of learning to another, he combines an honest respect for the teachers with the privilege of smiling at the school. Thus, for example, does he return after many years to Mount St Genevieve, to see how his friends are faring, and finds them still, as he says, at the same old questions, with not one little propositiuncula annexed to the familiar stock in trade. With the same aloofness, he admires Abelard, but laughs at his theory of universals; he reveres Bernard, the senex Carnotensis, but keeps clear of the Platonised ideas, and is aware that the master's hope of reconciling Plato and Aristotle is vain.

With justice, then, did John of Salisbury profess himself an Academic; by which, it is well to add, he did not mean a Platonist. He knew that the Sceptics had captured the Academy, and attributes the rise of Scepticism to the Aristotelian criticism of Plato. He did not understand the return of the Platonists to their ancient home, and when he names Plotinus, Iamblichus, and Porphyry as the most distinguished of the Academics, he betrays the gaps in his knowledge of history. About his own position, however, he is perfectly clear. What he professes is the "Academic or Sceptical Philosophy", as Hume called it, not the Platonism of Chalcidius and Macrobius, or of his own contemporaries and friends. His Academicism does not mean extravagant distrust of reason, but chiefly a spirit of tolerant criticism, distaste for dogmatic obstinacy, and disinclination to swear allegiance in verba magistri. Had his bent been for mathematics, he might almost have anticipated the great saying of Pascal, that a man should be three things, a good mathematician, a good sceptic, and a humble follower of Jesus Christ.

Thanks largely to his cool and sceptical temper, we can readily learn from John of Salisbury what an utter misconception of the Middle Ages it is to confound the history of philosophy with the history of logic, or to oppose philosophy to the life of religion. As is shown by the very title of his longest work, Policratici, sive de nugis Curialium et vestigiis Philosophorum Libri VIII, the world is roughly divided for him into the foolish and the wise. On the one side is the life of the courtier, a life devoted to hunting and gambling, or to laughing at actors and buffoons; on the other is the call to the higher life of the mind. The alternatives are plain and mutually repellent; all who respond to the serious call are philosophers, and therefore John of Salisbury's friends. And what is philosophy? Not the product of copia litterarum, but the choice of an arduous way; and when the door of wisdom is opened, the soul is illumined with the "light of things," and the name of philosophy vanishes away. But that illumination is for the future. Philosophy in this world is the viaticum of the few who content themselves with following a road that leads to no worldly advantage. As to where and how the true road is to be found, John himself is not doubtful. The philosopher, as Plato had taught, is cultor Dei, and the end of all philosophy is the enlargement of charity. But in this respect no Christian is inferior to Plato; the rule of Christ surpasses the wisdom of antiquity. Armed with this firm conviction, John goes forth to the defence and criticism of logic. By logic he understands, in the first instance, very much what we found in Hugh of St Victor. He notes the same quality of sermo and ratio as translations of logos; and insists, like Hugh, on the close alliance of logic with eloquence and grammar; not indeed because he deems logic a science of words, but because he has learned from Bernard of Chartres and William of Conches to believe in humane education as the first safeguard against arid disputes. In his championship of logic he has, in fact, to steer a difficult course between the scurrilous mockers, personified under the pseudonym of Cornificius, and the so-called puri philosophi, who identify philosophy with logic and disdain every other branch of knowledge. No modern critic of the Middle Ages has exposed so remorselessly the ineptitude of wrangling about trifles, the emptiness of logic divorced from natural and moral science. As an introduction to further studies logic is excellent; the teachers grow old in the exercises of boys; the bovs escape today from the rod, and tomorrow assume the gown and mount the cathedra. The world is crowded with half-educated wiseacres, the schools with Peripatetics whose Peripateticism consists only in walking about.

After these caustic criticisms it is no surprise to find that John of Salisbury puts the whole controversy about universals into its proper and subordinate place. Far from being the sum of philosophy, this fashionable topic of the schools serves chiefly to provoke the emulous ingenuity of lecturers, no one of whom is content to agree with his predecessors or to remain within the bounds proposed by Boethius. John's own solution and the many varieties of Realism we have no space to examine. His main anxiety is to prevent the reduction of any part of philosophy to a conflict of words. For this reason he dislikes any verbalist theory of universals, and speaks with some contempt of Roscelin and Abelard. His distinction between the two is that Roscelin had talked of voces, Abelard of sermones, a term not adequately explained in the Metalogicus, but further illustrated by a parallel passage in the Policraticus. If, then, sermones are not simply voces but nomina, it would seem that Abelard rather than Roscelin was the true nominalist. Whatever the exact import of Abelard's view, John declines to take it seriously, but offers to excuse its author on the ground that an elementary book like the Categories had perhaps to be taught in an elementary manner. In no case is there room for the opinion that Abelard was a conceptualist. That opinion (which arose partly from the wrong attribution to Abelard of a treatise De Generibus et Speciebus) is sufficiently refuted by John himself, when he passes immediately from Roscelin and Abelard to a third non-realist theory, in which the universal is called a notio or intellectus et simplex animi conceptio. Here, if anywhere, we must look for Conceptualism, and not in the doctine of Abelard.

From John of Salisbury, lastly, we receive our first clear impression of the "new logic," already known in some measure to his senior contemporaries, Otto of Freising, Thierry of Chartres, and Adam du Petit Pont. The translation of the Organon by James of Venice is assigned to the year 1128, some thirty years before the Metalogicus was written; but John himself used another version, probably by Henry Aristippus of Catania, distinguished also as a translator of Plato. The effect of recovering the Analytics, the Topics and the Sophistici Elenchi may be considered in two relations, to the general conception of logic and to the reputation of Aristotle. Hitherto, as we have often had occasion to remark, logic, in the character of dialectic, had hovered on the borderland between reasoning and discourse, while Aristotle had been simply the great dialectician. But now it began to be understood that the traditional Aristotelian books were but elementary prefaces to the dialectical treatises, and, that the whole of dialectic must fall into a minor position, as compared with the ars demonstrandi or method of science. "The philosopher," says John of Salisbury, "who uses demonstration has his business with truth, the dialectician with opinion, the sophist with the bare appearance of probabiHty". The Posterior Analytics, evidently, were found very difficult, and John speaks of them with the most cautious respect. The art of demonstration, he says, has fallen into almost complete disuse. It survives only in mathematics, especially in geometry. Mathematics, in other words, were studied only by the Arabs or their neighbors.

The revolution in logic, we should gather from John of Salisbury, magnified the reputation of Aristotle without radically altering its character. As urbs stands for Rome and poeta for Virgil, so the name of philosophus is reserved by common consent for Aristotle. On the authority of Burgundio of Pisa, John adds in another place that Aristotle's prescriptive right to the name was based on his skill in demonstration, the art most highly esteemed by the Peripatetics. It would be wrong, however, to infer from this anticipation of the title so freely employed in the thirteenth century that Aristotle had already usurped the throne of Plato. John's personal estimate of "the philosopher" reflects his attitude towards logic in general. Refusing to treat any utterance of Aristotle's as sacrosanctum, he accuses him (with how much knowledge) of many errors in natural and moral philosophy. Even in logic he does not count him infallible, but notes his deficiencies, and believes it possible for modern teachers to improve on his handling of some parts of the subject. John, indeed, is at all times a champion of the moderni. He sympathises with Abelard's difficulty in getting a hearing for any doctrine not sanctioned by antiquity, and insists that respect for old authors should not hamper the critical exercise of reason. On the other hand, he does maintain that Aristotle is peerless in logic, and defends the study of the Categories and the Sophistici Elenchi against unintelligent critics, among whom he mentions some followers of Robert of Melun. On the whole, Aristotle remains where he was, the prince of logicians, without as yet any claim to wider dominion. Down to the end of the twelfth century or even later, none but the "pure philosophers" were disposed to exalt the pupil above the master. The rest of the world would have endorsed the verdict of the Policratkus, where John describes Plato, with all deference to the Aristotelians, as totius philosophiae princeps.

The School of Chartres. Gilbert de la Porrée

The Platonism for which the school of Chartres was conspicuous meant, apparently, not much more than the traditional Platonism of the Timaeus with its sundry exponents. The Phaedo and the Meno, which had been translated by Henry Aristippus of Catania (ob. 1162), produced no immediate effect on the interpretation of Plato. The Chartres account of universals, for example, identified them with the Platonic ideas, and understood idea in the sense of exemplar aeternum, a sense traditional in the Latin interpretation of the Timaeus, but certainly not derived from the Phaedo. And again, when followers of Bernard of Chartres, such as William of Conches, strayed on to dangerous theological ground, they were inclined to imitate Abelard in Platonising the Trinity and in identifying the Holy Spirit with the anima mundi. Perhaps it was the reminiscence of Abelard, as well as the widespread influence of Chartres, that caused fresh anxiety to ecclesiastical authority. The most famous disturbance connected with any scholar of Chartres was the trial of Gilbert de la Porrée (ob. 1154), the learned and venerable Bishop of Poitiers, himself sufficiently distinguished to rank as the founder of a school. The story of the trial, which took place at Rheims in 1148, is related by Otto of Freising and by John of Salisbury in his Historia Pontificalis. John was present throughout the proceedings, as were also Peter the Lombard, Robert of Melun, and other prominent divines, some to support St Bernard (once more the chief prosecutor), others to aid in the defence of the bishop. On this occasion Bernard fell short of victory. His followers refused to confess the defeat, but Gilbert returned safely to his diocese and was immune from all further attacks.

Apart from this political incident, the fame of Gilbert rests chiefly on his exposition of the theology of Boethius, and on his Liber de Sex Principii, a logical text-book more highly esteemed than any other composed in the Middle Ages. For the most part Gilbert sticks to the "old logic," though there is some evidence of his acquaintance with the "new." He refers in one place to the Analytics, and his commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius perhaps implies more knowledge of Aristotle than could well be derived from the more elementary treatises. His treatment of time and space has even been thought to involve some reference to the Physics, but that is improbable. So again, his theory of universals, which he called formae nativae, does not agree with the ordinary Platonism. A forma nativa is an exemplum inherent in created things, related to the exemplar in the Creator's mind as eidos to idea. The origin of such a view might well be Aristotelian, but the evidence is not clear.

Passing over with regret many other names associated more or less closely with the teaching of Chartres, we have space only to raise the general question, whether in the course of the twelfth century much advance was made towards a wider conception of philosophical problems. A certain restlessness and a certain feeling of expansion, greatly assisted by the enlargement of logic, there undoubtedly is. At the beginning of the century Adelard of Bath was wandering from country to country and realising the advantage of visiting different schools. In Spain he learnt enough Arabic to make a translation of Euclid, and to acquire some notion of the uses of mathematics for the purposes of scientific measurement. His general outlook, however, is reminiscent of what John of Salisbury imputes to Bernard of Chartres. At the close of the same century, Alan of Lille (Alanus de Insulis), who survived till 1203, is far from suspecting the immediate advent of a great intellectual revolution. In his own age he won the title of doctor universalis by his manifold learning; in modern times his taste for a rigid, quasi-mathematical method has suggested a comparison with Spinoza. Yet his appetite for novelty was not striking. The first of the Latins to cite the Liber de Causis, he is but little affected by the peculiar qualities of that work. The new logic, far from arousing his enthusiasm, seems rather to have persuaded him that Aristotle loved to wrap himself in majestic obscurity. Thus, without disparaging his work, which deserves a much fuller account, we may fairly infer from his case that in the last hours of the twelfth century it was possible for a man of the highest reputation to enjoy no premonition of the great movement of thought which the coming century was immediately to witness.

If only by weight of materials, the thirteenth century stands apart from those through which we have rapidly travelled. The briefest catalogue of names such as Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura, Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus, is enough to banish the thought of any detailed analysis. The only practicable course will be to sketch the line of development and the general character of the problems with which these and other authors, only less famous, were engaged. Nearly eight centuries had passed since Boethius presented Aristotle to the Latins, but during the whole of that period less had happened to disturb the intellectual atmosphere than was now to be accomplished in a single generation by the Aristotelian invasion of Paris. Customary and right as it is to place the name of Aristotle in the foreground, it would be idle to pretend that the mere recovery of his writings was enough to account for all the subsequent events. Without the organisation of studies in the new universities, and without the intervention of the Friars in educational and ecclesiastical politics, the story of the thirteenth century must have been very different. And again, it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of another fact, the conjunction of the new Aristotle with an interpretation of him developed by a series of Muslim philosophers, whose object had not been to keep on terms with Christian orthodoxy, but to avoid open collision with the Koran. The fragments of Arabian mathematics and medicine which had drifted from time to time into the Latin world had brought no anticipation of the tumult immediately aroused by the commentaries of Avicenna and Averroes. The roughly established modus vivendi with Pagan philosophy was of no avail when there suddenly appeared a new Aristotle, the author of a vast and comprehensive system, in which were contained, if the Muslims could be trusted, many doctrines incompatible with the Christian position. And most of this was brought about by the enterprise of a Christian, Archbishop Raymond of Toledo, who had instituted, in the second quarter of the twelfth century, a college of translators under the supervision of Dominic Gundisalvi, himself the author of a De Divisione Philosophiae and other philosophical works.

The unparalleled importance of translations in the Middle Ages was not diminished by the prevalence of a single literary language among the peoples of the West. Absence of linguistic barriers between the scholars of different European countries may even have helped to strengthen the frontiers dividing the larger units of culture denoted as the Arabs, the Latins, and the Greeks. We cannot, however, pursue that complicated question, but must be content to glance at the golden age of translators, which began early in the twelfth century and lasted about a hundred and fifty years. Visits of Western scholars to Byzantium had produced the translations of the Organon and of John of Damascus; another centre was the court of Palermo, where Greek and Arabic learning were united; but the widest diffusion of Muslim knowledge came from Toledo, and it is necessary to enquire how far the Latin Aristotelianism was affected by the mediation of the Arabic language. The story, once lightly bandied about, that the medieval Aristotle was only a Latin parody of an Arabic version of a Syrian translation of a Greek original is little more than a fable. It is true that the Muslims were first introduced to Aristotle by Syrians, chiefly Nestorian Christians; it is true also that Arabic Aristotelianism was coloured to the last by the commentators, such as Alexander of Aphrodisias, who had influenced the Syrians. But long before there was 812 Translations from Greek and from Arabic any question of extensive Muslim influence on the Latins, direct translations of Aristotle from Greek into Arabic had been made in abundance. The name of "philosophers," in the Arabic transcription of the word, was especially applied to those who had studied Greek originals; and among these "philosophers" were the whole series of writers, beginning with Kindi in the ninth century, whose names we encounter in the works of the Latin schoolmen. Strange to say, the most famous of all (at least in Latin estimation), Ibn Rushd or Averroes (ob. 1198), was an exception to the rule. For it is said that he never thought it worth while to learn Greek. If that be so, we must suppose that he saw no reason, after three centuries of Aristotelian scholarship, to doubt the adequacy of the Arabic translations. It was left for his Latin critics to entertain that doubt.

While the relation of the Latins to the Arabs is, at first sight, analogous to that of the Arabs to the Syrians, further scrutiny of the facts does not strengthen the analogy. There never was a time when the Latins depended entirely on translations from the Arabic; there never was a time when the Muslim inferences from Aristotle were not disputed and opposed; least of all was there a time when Christians could imitate Muslims in taking Aristotle as an infallible authority. To adopt that attitude was, in fact, to be an Averroist; and Averroism, as we shall see, was a movement destructive of all that Christian philosophers were striving to establish.

Now that the earlier researches of Jourdain have been supplemented by Grabmann and other recent scholars, it is possible to speak with some confidence about the translations of Aristotle used by the Latins. No simple generalisation can be accurate, for the case of each of Aristotle's works has to be separately considered. Yet on the whole it is safe to maintain that translations from the Greek relieved the schoolmen of undue dependence on the Arabs, and enabled them, thus far at least, to form an independent judgment on the meaning of Aristotle. To illustrate the facts from a few of the more important works, we find that the earliest version of the Metaphysics came to Paris from Byzantium before 1210. Next to arrive (apparently before 1217) was a translation from the Arabic ascribed to Gerard of Cremona. This, too, was imperfect, for it omitted altogether Books K, M, and N, and mixed up the first book with the second. With this, however, the Latins had to content themselves until after 1260, when a Graeco-Latin version of the first twelve books, probably by William of Moerbeke, was put into circulation. Upon these twelve books St Thomas wrote his commentary, the last two being still untranslated when he saw a Greek manuscript of the whole fourteen in 1270. The history of the Nicomachean Ethics is rather similar: first a Graeco-Latin version of three books, disguised as four; then, in 1240, a paraphrase from the Arabic by Herman the German; lastly a full translation from the Greek, often explicitly attributed to Robert Grosseteste (ob. 1253), but more probably, in Grabmann's opinion, by William of Moerbeke. Both the Physics and the De Anima were known first in Graeco-Latin versions, while the Politics, a book neglected by the Arabs, was derived only from the Greek. Evidently, then, it would be less than a half-truth to say that the Latins depended on second-hand translations for access to those works of Aristotle which most deeply affected their thought. It remains to ask whether the quality of the translations was such as to debar them from a sound understanding of the text.

To claim distinction of style for the medieval translations would indeed be courageous. Their rudeness, however, was perfectly deliberate. It was not due to inability to write Latin, but to a frank mistrust of elegance where the sole object was to get an exact reproduction of the original. This they imagined they would best secure by simply replacing, so far as possible, every Greek word by its Latin equivalent. For reasons then potent, but now no longer operative, they demanded the letter rather than the spirit; not a transformation of idiom into idiom, but a raw and formless text. The task of the translators may have been wrongly conceived, but in its way it was faithfully done. The belief, still extant in some quarters, that the medieval understanding of Aristotle was hopelessly vitiated by faulty translations is unsupported by the facts. The prime author of this libel was Roger Bacon, whose bitter denunciations, often repeated as oracles, were in truth the product of ignorance and spleen. Bacon's judgments on the translation and study of Aristotle range over a quarter of a century, from about 1266 to 1292. Starting from the excellent principle that a translator requires both a knowledge of the languages and an understanding of the sciences concerned, he repeatedly declares that only Boethius possessed the first qualification, only Robert Grosseteste the second. And here at once we begin to suspect him. For Grosseteste's scientific attainments, as Bacon knew, were in mathematics and optics, neither of which would have helped him in the least to understand the greater part of Aristotle.

The rest of the translators, Bacon continues, were ignorant of science, of Greek, and even of Latin. The result of their labors was erroneous and unintelligible; so great, indeed, was the consequent misapprehension of Aristotle that it would have been better for all his works to be burnt. In the Opus Tertium (cap. 25), composed not later than 1268, Bacon had not yet heard of William of Moerbeke, but in the later Compendium Studii Philosophiae he attacks him, under the name of William the Fleming, with peculiar venom, and thinks him no better than Gerard of Cremona, Herman, or Michael the Scot (the three chief translators from the Arabic), or than any of the pretended experts in Greek. William of Moerbeke (ob. 1286), Archbishop of Corinth during the last years of his life, was actually the most important of the translators, if only because so much of his work was instigated by Thomas Aquinas, when both were attached to the court of Urban IV. His dated works, which include translations of Proclus, Simplicius, Galen, and Hippocrates, cover the period from 1260 to 1280. As it happens, only one of his Aristotelian translations (the De Partibus Animalium) is dated, and there is also some uncertainty how far he made use of earlier versions. We know, however, that he was the first translator in that age of the Politics, and we know that a scholar of Susemihl's rank thought it worth while to print this translation with his own edition of the text. Bacon's judgment on William of Moerbeke has, in fact, no more value than a spiteful review in a modem periodical of a book which the reviewer has omitted to read.

Not even on sheer questions of fact can Bacon be trusted. He invents, for example, an intimacy between Gerard of Cremona and Herman the German, though one of them was about eighty-five years senior to the other. It is more than doubtful, too, if he is accurate in his account of Robert Grosseteste, one of the very few among his contemporaries whom he deigned to admire. Depreciation of other men was a passion with him, almost a disease. He was out of sympathy with the whole Aristotelian movement, and out of humour with all the world. As to the contemporary interpretation of Aristotle, his verdict is yet more ludicrous than his contempt for the translations. With all the disadvantages from which they inevitably suffered, Albertus Magnus and his still more famous pupil were two of the greatest Aristotelians the world has yet seen. Bacon himself was incompetent to judge them, but he resented the intellectual dictatorship, as he thought it, of Albert, and attacked him with such animosity that the great Dominican was moved at last to administer a weighty rebuke. To Bacon, at least, he is thought to be referring, when he speaks of those who seek a solace for their own indolence by looking only for objects to attack; who resemble the humor fellis that spreads through a body, by provoking all other students to bitterness and forbidding them in dulcedine societatis quaerere veritatem. As a critic of others Bacon well deserves the rebuke; it is fortunate that, as an original thinker, he still can deserve our respect.

Character of Muslim philosophy

The comparative freedom of the Latins in the matter of translations by no means released them from conflict with the Muslim interpretation of Aristotle. From the first, apparently, the trouble caused by the new material was aggravated by the use of certain commenta, which were included in the prohibition of Aristotle at Paris in 1210. Whether the reference was to Avicenna or to Averroes, it is certain that the entire history of Aristotelianism at Paris is bound up with the claim of the Arabs to be the authentic exponents. Some indication, therefore, however slight and meagre, must be given of the character and position of philosophy in Islam. Why there should ever have been room for intellectual complications in that system is much less obvious than in the case of the Christian Church. The unitarian God of Mahomet could have a Prophet but not a Son. He dwelt apart from His creatures, neither incarnate nor immanent, a lonely presence in the desert which no man could cross. Such a creed might have continued to satisfy the Arabs of the peninsula, and, if Islam had remained in that primitive condition, it would have made no impression on the world. As soon, however, as it came into contact with Svrian, Persian, and Byzantine civilization, it had to choose between adapting itself to a higher order of ideas and perishing altogether. Educated minds, when they began to reflect on the message of the Prophet, were not slow to discover in the Koran and its contents sufficient material for philosophic doubt. Was the sacred book itself created, or co-eternal with the Creator? Did not the Word or Wisdom of God resemble the Nous of the philosophers or the Logos of the Christians? Had God eternal attributes, or would their existence be incompatible with His absolute unity? Could the freedom of man be maintained against the Divine Omniscience?

The first debates on these topics date from early times, even before John of Damascus, as an official at the court of the Umayyads, pronded a curious link between Christian and Muslim thought. The great age, however, both of translations and of philosophy began with the Abbasids and the founding of Baghdad, where the patronage of Nestorian physicians by Mansur and Mamun led to the institution of a school of medicine and philosophy. The sect of the Mutazilites (once fanatical defenders of the unity of God) now became prominent in speculation, and from their ranks arose Kindi (ob. c. 873), the father of a notable line of philosophers, and himself almost the only one of them who was an Arab by race. In him we observe already the main characteristics which persisted down to Averroes, the last of the line. The predominance of Aristotle had been established from the first. From the first, too, the interpretation of Aristotle had borne the stamp of Neo-Platonism. Perhaps the most surprising example of this is the general reception of the Theology of Aristotle as a genuine work. Actually an abridgment of Enneads IV-VI, it was accepted as Aristotelian by Kindi, Farabi, and many others, who must, as it seems to us, have been blind to the enormous gulf between the minds of Aristotle and Plotinus. Or were they, after all, so blind as we think? Plotinus himself might have dissented. The interpretation of Aristotle has always been determined by the interests and the methods of criticism belonging to some particular age. It is a question of emphasis, of the relative appreciation of his various works, of the special points selected for discussion. All ages have recognised the great logician, but what a vast difference it makes whether you take Aristotle as primarily an astronomer, a theologian, a political thinker, or a biologist.

Kindi and Farabi

The Arabs, beginning with Kindi, fastened especially upon the theory of the intellect in the De Anima. There, in a few brief and difficult statements, they found the origin of all the disputes about the intellectus agens and the intellectum possibilis, with other complications too technical to mention. Here too was the most patent opportunity for fusing together Platonist and Aristotelian doctrines. For Aristotle had certainly hinted that mind or spirit in its highest manifestations might be independent of bodily organs, perpetually active, immortal. Its energy was not a form of motion, and therefore not inseparably linked with time. How, then, could such an activity belong, like other psychical functions, to the life of the individual? From this question it was but a short step to the identification of the intellectus agens with the nous of Plotinus, understood as the manifestation of God. The wisdom of man thus becomes a divine illumination, undefiled and imperishable, indifferent to the accident of death. Such, in roughest expression, was the line of thought along which the Arabs advanced towards the denial of personal immortality, and thus to conflict with the Catholic faith.

In the opinion of many Arabic writers and scholars, the most original of the Muslim thinkers was Farabi (ob. 950), who in the course of his life is heard of in Egypt, at Damascus, and at Baghdad. Especially famous for his commentaries on the Organon, with which the Arabs associated (not without reason) the Rhetoric and the Poetics, he wrote also on almost every part of Aristotle's system, on the Laws of Plato, on mathematics and music. Though his view of the intellectus agens was similar in principle to Kindi's, he is said to have regarded Aristotle's doctrine as a proof of the immortality of the soul. And here we may note that, down to Farabi's time, there was no perceptible breach between the philosophers and orthodox Islam. Plato and Aristotle were welcomed at first as a kind of second revelation, harmonious with the official revelation of the Koran. Yet the connection of philosophy with sectarianism was early; the Shiites were more given to speculation than the Sunnis, and from the time of Farabi onwards there was a gradual tendency towards the conversion of philosophy into an esoteric wisdom, remote from the orthodox profession of faith.


The last of the Asiatic philosophers, and, next to Averroes, the most notorious among the Latins, was Ibn Sina or Avicenna (ob. 1036), who passed through law and medicine to metaphysics, where he is said to have owed his first understanding of Aristotle to Farabi's books. Among other things, he interested himself in the theory of universals, and formulated distinctions between the genus ante res, in rebus, and post res. In the main, however, he resembled the other Muslims in affecting the Christians chiefly by his doctrine of the intellect. Before Avicenna's day the position of the philosophers, in the special sense of followers of the Greek tradition, had become decidedly ambiguous. Two other kinds of teachers had now to be reckoned with, first the Sufis or mystics, secondly the orthodox scholastics (as it is convenient to call them), who did not wholly contemn philosophy but proposed to subordinate it strictly to the teaching of the Koran. Upon the Sufis we can make only one observation, that they were certainly touched by Neo-Platonistic influence. The other school was represented first by Ashari, a contemporary of Farabi, afterwards, in the period between Avicenna and Averroes, by Ghazall or Algazel (ob. 1111). While the relation of Algazel's teaching to Islamic orthodoxy scarcely concerns us, there is a real significance for the later Western scholasticism in his determined opposition to the professional philosophers. As the author of the Destruction of the Philosophers (to which Averroes afterwards replied with the Destruction of the Destruction), he not only denounced as heretical certain specific doctrines, such as the eternity of the world, but flatly refused to allow the independent status of philosophy. Philosophy, he contended, could not be a mode of revelation; it could not enunciate first principles at once explanatory of the origin of things and compatible with orthodox beliefs. Reason could serve religion only in the way of exposition, just as it might be of use to any special science, or in the management of ordinary affairs.

Now this was the true battleground of philosophers and theologians at Paris in the thirteenth century; and the character of the struggle was predetermined much less by the old Latin antithesis of ratio and auctoritas than by the defined antagonism between the school of Algazel and the school of Averroes. Moreover, it was not the fear of Islam that worked so profoundly upon the reasoning of Albertus Magnus and Aquinas, but the fear of doctrines which Islam was on the verge of rejecting. For Averroes in the West marked the decline of Muslim philosophy, already long decadent in the East. He owes his fame, first to Jewish thinkers, who, like the Christians and the Muslims, had their own problem of reconciling philosophy with "the book"; secondly to Latin universities, which both accepted him as the supreme commentator on Aristotle and cherished, as the most alluring of heresies, doctrines invented or renewed for the confusion of Algazel's disciples. Averroes, therefore, is rightly studied in connection with Latin Averroism, to which we shall shortly return. As to the Jews, by their active minds and roving habits they played an important part as carriers of learning from place to place, but as philosophers they hardly constitute a class distinct from the Arabs. The Fons Vitae of Avencebrol (ob. 1058), a Neo-Platonist work in the Arabic style, translated by John the Spaniard and Dominic Gundisalvi, was widely quoted by Christian authors, not least by Duns Scotus, who perhaps took Avencebrol to be a Christian, and openly adhered to his doctrine of matter. The other Jewish name of high repute among the Latins was Moses ben Maymun (Maimonides or Rabbi Moses), best known for his authorship of the Guide of the Perplexed. He was contemporary with Averroes (outliving him by only six years) and one of his warmest admirers. As may be seen in a treatise of doubtful origin, the De Erroribus Philosophorum, the Latins came to class his errors with those of Averroes, Algazel, and the rest of the Arabs .

Aristotelianism and the University of Paris

The stages in the development of Aristotelianism at Paris are marked by some definite dates. Precisely when the new books were first read in public we do not know, but in 1210 a provincial council formally interdicted public or private study of the libri de naturali philosophia, with commentaries thereon; and in 1215 the papal legate, Robert de Courçon, renewed the prohibition. It is doubtful here whether the mention of metaphysics implies a difference between the first and the second decree. The term metaphysica would be unfamiliar before the diffusion of Aristotle's book, and the older usage of physica or Naturalis philosophia would cover many questions afterwards called metaphysical. In 1231, after the dispersion of the university, Gregory IX repeated the prohibition, but at the same time entrusted William of Auxerre and two colleagues with the task of expurgating Aristotle for use in the schools. Nothing came of this impossible project, and the prohibition remained formally valid, to be renewed once more by Urban IV in 1263. Meanwhile practice moved more rapidly than law. Outside Paris, to judge from the example of Toulouse in 1229, free study of Aristotle had always been possible. At Paris itself some regulations of 1252 mention only the De Anima in addition to the Logic, but in March 1255 the Faculty of Arts laid down a course of study which boldly included the Physics, the Metaphysics, and practically all the translated works. This defiance of papal authority provoked no reply until 1263. Even then we may safely presume that the action of Urban IV was only provisional; for now he was reviving on a grander scale the attempt of Gregory IX to produce a critical version of Aristotle, invoking to his aid the greatest of Christian commentators, St Thomas Aquinas, who just at this time was encouraging William of Moerbeke to produce his new translations.

The history of Aristotelianism in the thirteenth century is, in one of its aspects, the history of a political struggle in the University of Paris, too intricate for analysis in this chapter. As a convenient simplification of the facts, we may concentrate our attention upon the Order of Preachers, a society which in its earlier phases was by no means inclined to champion the cause of any Pagan philosopher. An ordinance of 1228 had the object of confining the studies of the brethren to theology. The author of the revolution which brought the Dominicans into the front rank of Aristotelians was the illustrious Albert of Cologne (ob. 1280), who taught at Paris from 1245 to 1248, and was occupied for some forty years altogether in the production of his monumental works. Except during his lifetime, the fame of this great man has always been a little overshadowed by that of his pupil Aquinas (ob. 1274), whose greater command of expository method makes him easier of access. Rash indeed would it be to say that Albert was the more remarkable of the two, but in the direction of experimental science he went farther, and to him, as the pioneer, fell the enterprise of making all parts of Aristotle intelligible to the Latins. Impatient of the "brute animals" who attacked the use of philosophy and blasphemed everything of which they were ignorant, he saw that the study of Aristotle could not be prohibited, and already, perhaps, while teaching at Paris, discerned the seeds of Averroism which he was afterwards (in 1256) invited by Alexander IV to refute.

Averroism it was again, not merely as a local phenomenon, but as the climax of the whole Arabian interpretation of Aristotle, that moved Aquinas to continue his master's work in his own deep and searching exposition of the principal books. The task before him was one of unparalleled complexity, such as only a man of boundless courage, unfailing candor, and exceptional powers of mind could have faced. Now for the first time in the history of the Middle Ages, or indeed in the history of the world, was it imperative to delimit the provinces of philosophy and theology, and at the same time to vindicate the unity of truth. On the one hand, St Thomas was perfectly convinced that no truth discoverable by reason could be inconsistent with the Christian revelation; on the other hand, he was equally assured that the truths of revelation were accessible only to a mode of experience not commonly described as reason, and inseparable from the history and authority of the Church. What he had primarily to combat was not atheism, nor even any avowed heresy in dogma, but the impudent sophism, borrowed by certain Christians from the Muslims, that there can or must be two kinds of truth; so that, when the voice of reason or philosophy conflicts with the voice of authority and faith, we may legitimately hearken to both. Or if few quite professed that absurdity, the alternative was to insinuate that reason would often oblige us to believe one thing, were not its opposite enjoined on us by faith.

Aquinas took a wide view of his problem. He did not restrict himself to the Latin Averroists, against whom he wrote the De Unitate Intellectus in 1270, but went back to the higher sources of the mischief. By one of the most amazing accidents in history it had fallen to Aristotle, some fifteen centuries after his death, to stand as the representative of human reason. By another accident it was given to the Arabs to work out a systematic interpretation, and then to hand it over to the Latins. Now Aquinas, no less than Albert, was deeply interested in Aristotle, and not in the least afraid of his opinions. He might even, in the peculiar circumstances of the time, have agreed with the Averroists that the general liberty of speculation was summed up in the free study of Aristotle. It is ludicrous, however, to suppose that he took Aristotle to be infallible. Except in the last decadence of scholasticism, the only people who ever did that were the Averroists and the Muslims. For the most part St Thomas was not occupied in proving the rightness or wrongness of Aristotle, but in criticising the Arabian interpretation of him, relatively to such questions as the eternity of the world, the individuality of the immortal intellect, and the alleged subjection of the human will to planetary influences. Like a good Aristotelian, he perceived that in arguing contra Gentiles he must conduct the discussion on a basis accepted by his opponents. There could be no question of "authority". Now by "natural reason" the Muslims understood primarily, if not solely, the philosophy of Aristotle; and from that philosophy they had extracted inferences damaging to the Christian position; not indeed to the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation — for on these points Aristotle could have nothing to say — but to the belief in moral responsibility and the immortality of the soul. To St Thomas, therefore, the alternatives were to reject the Muslim interpretation, or to prove that Aristotle himself was wrong. He does not choose either course to the total exclusion of the other, but to a large extent he argues that Averroes and Avicenna had misrepresented the master of their allegiance.

Whether Aquinas proves his case to the satisfaction of modern critics may be disputable, but he certainly marshals an array of arguments that none of his contemporaries was likely to defeat. Along with his elucidation of Aristotle he examines the still wider problem of the whole relation of reason to faith; upholding in his own sense a duplex veritatis modus, which yet avoids the duplicity of believing contradictory propositions on different grounds, and is, in effect, a plea for the unity of truth. If, once more, we may doubt whether the conditions of the age permitted him to arrive at a final appreciation of all the difficulties, none can reasonably doubt the candor of his intention, the subtlety of his intuitions, or the astonishing range and lucidity of his mind. Similar merits and similar inevitable deficiencies are revealed in his general understanding of Aristotle. He was no biologist, no physicist, no astronomer. He could not discriminate between paths of science where Aristotle had gone hopelessly astray, and other paths where he had advanced almost to the verge of modern achievement. Like the commentators of all ages, not excluding our own, he was strongest within the bounds of his own experience, and weakest where his sympathy failed. To the last he was hampered by ignorance of history. Often as he contested Neo-Platonist interpretations, he was far from disengaging Aristotle from later accretions.

Averroism proper, as distinct from the general influence of the Arabs, is not heard of before the second half of the century. Moreover, when Albert wrote his De Unitate Intellectus contra Averroem in 1256, he appears to be attacking a tendency rather than actual teachers at Paris. Siger of Brabant is first mentioned in 1266, and the first official condemnation of Averroism occurs in 1270. Before that date, either in the autumn of 1268 or in the spring of 1269, Aquinas returned from Italy to Paris, where he remained until 1272. The resumption of a professorial chair by a Dominican (for Aquinas had taught at Paris for some years before 1260) was so unusual that we must attribute it to the manifold difficulties in which the Order was involved. Among these were the constant hostility of the seculars to the regulars, differences with the Franciscans and the "Augustinian"' theologians, and finallv the emergence of Averroism, a movement complicated by the attempt to involve the general credit of Peripateticism with the errors of Siger of Brabant. St Thomas, accordingly, had both to publish his De Unitate Intellectus as an answer to Siger's De Animu Intellectiva, and to protect the freedom of Aristotelian study against critics who still, perhaps, might appeal to Urban's decree of 1263. Evidence to the same effect is furnished by a work discovered and printed by Mandonnet, the De Quindecim Problematibus of Albertus Magnus, composed in answer to a letter of enquiry by Giles of Lessines. Of these fifteen problems the first thirteen are identical with the propositions condemned at Paris (10 December 1270), while the last two suggest an attempt to involve Aquinas in the downfall of the Averroists.

From a survey of the thirteen condemned propositions we gather that four main questions were prominent, the unity of the intelligence in all men, the eternity of the world, the freedom of the will, the knowledge and providence of God. A more drastic reduction might leave only the first of the four as of primary importance in 1270; for it seems that this had spread beyond philosophical circles, in its practical bearing on moral responsibility and personal salvation. While it is impossible here to discuss so intricate a problem, or to compare the Averroist and Dominican readings of the De Anima, it is necessary to remark that Averroes had advanced beyond the position of Avicenna and his predecessors. The others had removed from human conditions only the intellectus agens, which might even be identified with God; but Averroes converted also the intellectus possibilis into a "separate substance," and declared it to be unus in omnibus hominibus. Opposed as he was to both these interpretations of Aristotle, St Thomas was aware that even Catholic doctors had identified the intellectus agens with God, in which case it would rightly be excluded from human personality. Averroes, however, was clearly beyond the pale; for, since nothing in God can be merely potential, to affirm the unity of the intellectus possibilis is to deny the individuality of man.

Opposition to Thomism

Averroism was defeated, and Siger of Brabant, condemned again by the Inquisition of France in October 1277, passed his last years in Italy, as the prisoner of the Roman curia. There he perished, as the story goes, by the hand of a half-insane assassin, and thereafter was honorably translated to Dante's Paradiso. The subsequent fortunes of Averroism we cannot pursue. More important for the moment was the renewed attack on Aristotelianism in general, which gained a passing triumph in 1277. The mighty efforts of Albert and Thomas, with the favor of one or two Popes, had checked but not destroyed the force of the opposition. The currents of philosophical thought, not to say political faction, were numerous. The secular clergy, always jealous of the friars, did not shine in the use of intellectual weapons. If Roger Bacon, writing in 1271, can be trusted, they had failed to produce a single theological or philosophical treatise for the space of forty years. They merely took doctrinal questions as a convenient pretext for attack. Against that kind of onslaught the two Orders were united, but in other respects they tended to drift apart. Bonaventura and Aquinas were so happily united by personal friendship that they might have stood as models to an earlier Fra Angelico for the meeting of Francis and Dominic. Yet it is Bonaventura who best expresses the difference of temper between the two societies. Even St Thomas, who was far from devoid of sympathy with mysticism, would hardly have written the Itinerarium mentis in Deum.

Something more, or less, than "unction" is required, however, to account for the attitude of John Peckham, the Franciscan Archbishop of Canterbury, who, besides attempting to implicate Aquinas with the heresies of Siger, went to the length of protesting that nothing was common to the two Orders but the bare foundations of the faith. So wide a division could only be affirmed in so far as the Franciscans identified themselves with the party sometimes called Augustinian. On the whole, and with many reservations, it is true that the Franciscan doctors looked askance at the Aristotelian movement. Roger Bacon, no doubt, falls outside all generalisations. Much as he disliked the ascendency of Albert, he was too much of an individualist to act merely as the partisan of one society against another. But a general review of the most distinguished Franciscan writers, from Alexander of Hales (who was not, it seems, the author of the Summa which bears his name) to Duns Scotus, would justify the opinion that by their influence alone Aristotle would never have secured the supremacy among philosophers. That supremacy was claimed for him neither by the earlier Middle Ages, nor yet by the thirteenth century as a whole, but only by the great Dominican masters, assisted undoubtedly by the Averroists whom, on some vital points, they felt bound to oppose. The delayed but eventual triumph of Thomism (never perfectly accomplished, one might add, until the revival in the nineteenth century) has too often cast back a false light on the age of St Thomas himself. Opposition, not merely to him but to Aristotle, was then frequent and bitter. A casual but interesting example is found in the Summa, of unknown authorship, which Baur has printed in the same volume with the works of Grosseteste. The writer, a man of strong intelligence and far from ignorant of Aristotle, has some exceedingly sharp things to say about him. In particular, he dismisses as ineffective the whole Aristotelian criticism of the Platonic "ideas," and hints pretty strongly that Aristotle was often as much moved by prejudice as by rational judgment.

In England, and at Oxford, where this Summa may probably have been composed, the Franciscans were especially strong. Encouraged by Grosseteste (not himself a member of the Order) and by the example of his writings, they gave more attention to mathematics and optics than to the wider problems of philosophy that chiefly exercised the Dominicans of Paris. But there must also have been something in the English air inimical to Thomism. For not only the Franciscan Archbishop, John Peckhara, but his Dominican predecessor, Robert Kilwardby (author of an interesting work on the Division of Philosophy), persuaded Oxford to condemn a number of propositions maintained bv St Thomas. His action was a sequel to the larger affair at Paris in March 1277, when the various forces opposed to the Dominicans united under Étienne Tempier, the Chancellor of the University, to secure the condemnation of no less than 219 propositions, some of them imputable only to Siger and the Averroists, others common to Aquinas and all the Peripatetics.

What was the meaning of this undiscriminating violence? Behind the political struggle there was doubtless some genuine apprehension of a fatal schism between philosophy and the authority of the Church. The system of Catholicism, as it was slowly shaped and consolidated in the Middle Ages, pointed to the indivisible union of all Christians in a single society, ideally as wide as the world. To the realization of such an ideal the existence of Jews, Muslims, and Pagans was the most patent obstacle, but also the most superficial. More serious was the breach between the Greeks and the Latins, for that touched the internal principles upon which the Christian society was founded. More vital even than doctrinal unity was the maintenance of the claim by which alone the Church had succeeded in absorbing into herself the finer essence of Graeco-Roman civilization. The substance of that claim was the possession of first principles comprehensive enough to supersede Greek philosophy, and to serve as the ultimate source of morality and law. Once allow the possibility of explaining the world without reference to the propositions of the Creed, or of governing mankind without reference to the lex divina, and the whole structure of the Church must be threatened with collapse. The liberty of the sciences, therefore, and the liberty of princes were on the same plane; they were liberties conceded by the Church — liberties to arrive at any conclusions and to take any administrative measures not incompatible with the Christian presuppositions.

Such being the remorseless logic of the situation, the search for means of avoiding it persistently continued. After many makeshifts and evasions of the issue, it became clear at last to the acuter minds of the thirteenth century that only one solution was possible. If it could be shown that the work of reason in the whole field of science could be accomplished without possible collision with the faith; if, in other words, there was a duplex veritatis modus consistent with intellectual honesty, then intolerable tyranny and disastrous revolution could alike be avoided. To make good this solution was the policy of Aquinas. Sincerely convinced that human reason could neither prove nor disprove the doctrines peculiar to Christianity, he proceeded to infer that all arguments destructive of the faith were spurious products of reason, which genuine philosophy could refute without appeal to authority. At the same time he allotted a wide province to reason, and believed it possible to demonstrate the principles of Theism and of theistic morality by the arguments relative to God, freedom, and immortality which Kant afterwards declared to be invalid. In the age of Aquinas there was neither a Kant nor even a magnified Gaunilo, but there were conservatives who mistrusted these new lines of division, and who failed to see that a position tenable in the days of Augustine, or even of Anselm, might be far from impregnable to the onslaught of Averroes. With the conservatives were allied the alarmists, who held that Aquinas himself was betraying the citadel by inviting reason to occupy the outworks. In their eyes a Peripatetic was no better than an Averroist; both alike deserved the penalty of traitors within the camp. The cleavage of parties and the hardening of the distinction between theology and philosophy must have been assisted by the organising of Faculties within the University. The control of philosophy belonged to the Faculty of Arts; the theologians, therefore, were clearly not philosophers. Hence, when Albert the Great, as a friar, was attacked by the students of theology, it was the artists who rushed in crowds to his support. So anomalous a position could not long be maintained. Sooner or later the lines of intellectual division would follow pretty closely the division of Faculties, with results that, without returning to the Middle Ages, we can readily imagine.

The fate of Roger Bacon. His philosophy

Among those swept away, a little ironically, with the 219 propositions was the unfortunate Roger Bacon. If he was to be engulfed in the company of so many Peripatetics, it seems a pity that, instead of railing at Albert, he did not collaborate with him for the advancement of chemistry and physics. We must beware, however, of misinterpreting either the position of Bacon or the causes of his downfall. It would be unhistorical to suppose that advocacy of mathematics, or prophecies of flying-machines and other marvels, would have brought him to captivity. Whatever the value of his contributions to science (about which the specialists are a little frigid), no school of thought then suspected that geometry or optics or the propagation of force by "multiplication of species'' were going to undermine the Church. Bacon, like Abelard, may have damaged himself by making enemies, and by his monotonous dispraise of authority; but where he seems definitely to have stumbled was in the field of astrology. The state of astronomy at the time permitted it to be a quasi-scientific question whether the fortunes and even the characters of men might not be shaped by celestial impressions. Bacon himself agreed with Aquinas and other educated men in denying that the freedom of the will could thus be affected, and in avoiding the more childish superstitions. The attack on him was probably no more intelligent than the refusal to discriminate between Aquinas and the Averroists. In the hour of triumphant faction a few rash or ambiguous expressions would be evidence enough. Deplorable as the result was, we have no more right to accuse the whole age of persecuting science than we have to argue from Bacon's own effort to prove the utility of mathematics to theology that he saw no intrinsic value in theoretical reasoning. In any case, it is an anachronism either to look for a new philosophy of the world in the scientific tastes of Bacon, or to interpret his overthrow as mere hostility to the study of natural phenomena. A still greater absurdity would be to suppose that Bacon's praise of experience and experiment brought upon him the wrath of Aristotelians.

Rightly to estimate Bacon's worth as a philosopher is, however, a very difficult task. The combative spirit which enraged his contemporaries has endeared him, perhaps unduly, to modern readers with little sympathy for the temper of the Middle Ages. Similarly, his references to actual or possible devices of mechanics and chemistry have won for him more credit as an inventor than he would have claimed for himself. Our concern, however, is rather with his general estimate of knowledge, and with his broader relations to the intellectual attitude of his times. And here we find that, in some respects, his mind was provincial, or even reactionary, while in others he certainly had vision of the future. His provincialism appears in his failure to appreciate the higher contemporary thought, or to perceive the direction in which minds really more critical than his own were moving. Much of his criticism, as for example in the De Viciis contractis in studio Theologiae, is singularly barren, if we suppose it to refer to such men as Albert the Great or Thomas Aquinas. They in their turn might well have objected that Bacon's whole conception of philosophy was obsolete. They would not formally have disputed his statement that the chief and final intention of philosophers was circa divinam, but they might fairly have replied that amiable commonplaces were no substitute for a real delineation of the provinces of theology and human reason. Bacon is, in fact, reactionary in his extravagant subordination of philosophy to theology. He reverts to a position barely tenable in the thirteenth century unless supported by fresh arguments, and he appears to be imperfectly acquainted with the greatest controversy of his age.

Again, his praise of "mathematics" as an aid to civil and religious government is so mixed up with the puerilities of astrology and alchemy that his pretence of superiority to his times in this respect is far from convincing. On the other hand, there are many glimpses of genuine insight in his enthusiasm for linguistic studies, in his anticipation of the manifold uses of geography, and in his constant emphasis on the importance of experimental method. Very often he speaks of scientia experimentalis as a separate science rather than as a general method employed by natural philosophy. He maintains, nevertheless, that experiment or experience is required to verify all the sciences; nor can we reasonably complain if he is not yet in a position to discriminate between the more and the less experimental departments of knowledge. What we clearly discern in Bacon, when we get behind his peevishness, his superstitions, and his arrogance, is a profound discontent with the existing state of knowledge, a conviction that no further advance is possible except by a kind of intellectual return to Nature. In this he was indubitably right, and in this, rather than in actual achievement, lies his title to fame. At all times, too, he was hampered by his conflict with authority. Many of his books have the character of an apologia. He is desperately anxious to refute the slanders of his enemies, and to persuade Pope Clement IV that his philosophy is orthodox and profitable. Had he worked in a calmer atmosphere, and in harmony with the chiefs of his Order, it is probable that he would have left us a higher impression of his powers.

The imprisonment of Bacon was a political incident, in the same sense that the trials of Gottschalk, Abelard, and Gilbert de la Porrée, or the prohibitions of Aristotle, Averroism, and Peripateticism were political incidents. For the Church was, in theory and in fact, a political society based on first principles, and pledged therefore to test every movement of thought by its probable effect on the faith and conduct of Christians. Liberty of opinion we now take to be the foundation of all other liberties; interference with it we stamp as an act of tyranny or, at best, as a dangerous experiment. But that is because we are governed by opinion and desire no other master. The medieval Church, on the other hand, claimed to be governed by knowledge, and that makes all the difference in the world. That, too, is why the significance of the proposed division between theology and philosophy was graver than even an Aquinas could suspect.

The final aim of medieval philosophy

The scope of this chapter has excluded political thought in the more restricted sense, but facts like the growth of Canon Law, the revival of Roman jurisprudence, the rise of nations and communes, the struggle of Empire and Papacy, and the appearance of such a book as Marsilius of Padua's Defensor Pacis are intimately connected with medieval philosophy. In the last chapter of his Monarchia Dante supports his plea for an independent Empire by the analogous independence of philosophy. To the Pope belong revealed truths and the theological virtues; to the Emperor moral virtue and the inventions of reason. That Dante grasped the whole possibilities of his argument is improbable; for no such division could be effective before the rise of the modem State, nor even then until the State had renounced the care of theology, only to find that philosophy had likewise vanished from its counsels.

The heroic attempt of Aquinas to define a sphere for philosophy without detriment to the sovereign rights of theology was simply one expression of the whole medieval struggle so to adjust the temporal power to the spiritual as to create a dominion of political freedom within the higher sovereignty of the Church. The project, we may hold, was impossible. It is certain, at least, that it failed. Yet this failure was the last and greatest achievement of medieval philosophy. Later developments, such as the rivalry of Thomists and Scotists, with all their wrangles about matter and form, universals and individuals, have their interest for students, but small importance for the historical movement of the world. When we gaze on the solid line of folios attributed to Duns Scotus(ob. 1308) it seems almost incredible that his life can have lasted — according to a common estimate — no more than thirty-four years. Even if the correct figure be a little larger, his youth is perhaps a fact to be remembered in estimating the quality of his work. For in Duns Scotus we cannot but recognize something of that joy in destruction attributed by Plato to young men attacked by the first fever of dialectic. It was his distinguished fate to found a school strong enough for a time to divide the world with the Thomists. The Franciscans adopted him as their champion and magnified his prestige. Modern readers, however, who stand apart from medieval factions, will be slow to recognise in Duns Scotus a serious intellectual rival to Thomas Aquinas. In method, in perspicuity, in dignity and breadth of mind he is plainly inferior. To charge him with insincerity would be uncharitable, but he strikes us as a man determined at all hazards to take up original positions, and therefore to seek with all his notorious "subtlety" for points of distinction between his own and other views. The result in most cases is that his divergence from Aquinas and other doctors turns out to be smaller than his statements would suggest. On the fundamental question of the relation of philosophy to theology he proposes a much sharper division than was approved by St Thomas. When any truth is enunciated as an article of faith, it is inexpedient, he says, to attempt a demonstration of it. The effect of your demonstration on the faithful will be to deprive them of the merit of faith, while to the infidel you will provide an opportunity of declaring that Christians are driven by lack of faith to fall back on argument. It would thus be improper to prove by reason that God exists, that God is one, or that the soul is immortal. Duns Scotus fails, however, to work out the consequences of his own hypothesis. He is far from meaning that faith is irrational, but equally far from grasping the importance of philosophical monotheism as a preparation for Christian doctrine, or from perceiving the danger of sheer obscurantism involved in his own contention. Nor does he deal with Aquinas' point that, since few men have leisure, or inclination, or ability to be philosophers, the bulk of mankind will be obliged to receive in the form of faith propositions which a few may be able to establish by reasoning. On the other hand, Duns Scotus goes quite as far as Aquinas in claiming for theology an interest in every branch of knowledge, not excluding geometry, and also in exalting the power of the intellect for the general purpose of arriving at truth. Theology, he maintains, is practical rather than speculative, but the practical consequences of Christian dogmas, as he explains them, would never have been questioned by Aquinas. In a word, Duns Scotus proposes a new division of provinces but does not adequately defend it. He tends to exalt will above intellect, but with the difficulties of their interrelation he does not grapple half so closely as Aquinas.

Perhaps the most conspicuous point of difference between Duns Scotus and his contemporaries was his doctrine of matter. Entirely free from materialism in any sense that would make matter independent of the Creator, he insists, nevertheless, that all created beings, the spiritual no less than the corporeal, have matter as well as form in their composition. To support this doctrine he makes an important distinction between metaphysical and physical matter. He supposed that Pythagoras and some of the early Greek philosophers had thought of matter metaphysically, but he assigned to physics and natural philosophy, not the materia prima, but only the secundo prima, which is the substratum of generation and corruption. In its metaphysical sense matter need not be localised, and he excused himself from answering the question ubi est? Thus even the angelic nature contains matter in its being, and since Aquinas had allowed to the angels a kind of potentia, Duns Scotus is obliged to deny that the existence of matter is merely potential. How it can exist actu, without being actus alicuius, he finds it difficult to explain, but such is his doctrine. And further, since the whole universe of creatures has been developed out of this metaphysical substratum by progressive differentiation, the Thomist doctrine of matter as the causa individuationis must be rejected. Incidentally the angels thus recover the privilege of being individuals without constituting a species apiece. What individuality is, and how it arises, Duns Scotus exhausts his ingenuity to explain. He was doubtless right in suspecting that the puzzle could not be solved through the simple alternatives of matter and form. He perceived also that an individual could not be defined by negatives, and that there must be some positive quality involved in numerical distinction. If in the end his own doctrine only led to the thesis that hoc est hoc on account of haecceitas, we must still hesitate before we throw stones at him. For in the monstrous jargon of some modern philosophies a word like "thisness" has an air of almost classical refinement.

Impossible as it is to do justice in a page or two to the comprehensive knowledge of Duns Scotus or to his intellectual acumen, it is not unjust to deny that he is author of any momentous reform in philosophv. Rather does he testify, like Roger Bacon, though in very different style, to the approaching exhaustion of medieval thought. The air of finality that hangs over the weighty pages of Aquinas has a prophetic significance. For the work of Aquinas, consummate in its kind, had exhausted the materials then existing for the edifice of philosophy, though not the ingenious art of arranging them in new patterns. The great age of dialectic had vanished with the rebirth of Aristotle; the age of Aristotelianism was to perish in still greater revolutions. Alike in politics and in science more portentous questions were soon to be uttered: whether a society founded on an immutable gospel could find room for the modern State, and whether a scientia experimentalis beyond the dreams of Roger Bacon could be reconciled with an infallible Church.