• WordNet 3.6
    • n scholasticism orthodoxy of a scholastic variety
    • n Scholasticism the system of philosophy dominant in medieval Europe; based on Aristotle and the Church Fathers
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Scholasticism The method or subtilties of the schools of philosophy; scholastic formality; scholastic doctrines or philosophy. "The spirit of the old scholasticism . . . spurned laborious investigation and slow induction."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n scholasticism The Aristotelian teaching of the medieval schools and universities, and similar teaching in Roman Catholic institutions in modern times, characterized by acknowledgment of the authority of the church, by being largely, if not wholly, based upon the authority of the church fathers, of Aristotle, and of Arabian commentators, and by its stiff and formal method of discussion. It consisted of two distinct and independent developments, the one previous the other subsequent to the discovery of the extra-logical works of Aristotle in the last part of the twelfth century. Scholasticism should be considered as arising about a. d. 1000, and is separated by a period of silence from the few writers between the cessation of the Roman schools and the lowest ebb of thought (such as Isidorus, Rhabanus, Gerbert, writers directly or indirectly under Arabian influence, Scotus Erigena and other Irish monks, the English Alcuin, with his pupil Fridigisus, etc.), writers marked by great ignorance, by a strong tendency to materialize abstractions, by a disposition to adopt opinions quite arbitrarily, but also by a certain freedom of thought, The first era of scholasticism was occupied by disputes concerning nominalism and realism. It naturally falls into two periods, since the disputants of the eleventh century took simple and extreme ground on one side or the other, the nominalistic rationalist Berengarius being opposed by the realistic prelate Lanfranc, the Platonizing nominalist Roscellin by the mystical realist Anselm; while in the twelfth century the opinions were sophisticated by distinctions until they cease to be readily classified as nominalistic and realistic. The scholastics of the latter period included Peter Abelard (1079–1142); Gilbert of Poitiers (died 1154), one of the few writers of the twelfth century ever quoted in the thirteenth; Peter Lombard (died 1164), compiler of the four books of “Sentences,” or opinions of the fathers, which was the peg on which much later speculation was hung as commentary; and John of Salisbury (died I 180), an elegant and readable author. For more than a generation after his death the schoolmen were occupied with studying the works of Aristotle and the Arabians, without producing anything of their own. Then began the second era of scholasticism, and this divides itself into three periods. During the first, which extended to the last quarter of the thirteenth century, Alexander of Hales (died 1245), Albertus Magnus (1193–1280), and St. Thomas Aquinas (died 1274) set up the general framework of the scholastic philosophy, while Petrus Hispanus (perhaps identical with Pope John XXI., who died 1277) wrote the standard text-book of logic for the remainder of the middle ages, and Vincent of Beauvais (died about 1264) made an encyclopedia which is still found in every library of pretension. During this period the University of Paris received a thorough organization, and thought there became exclusively concentrated upon theology. The second period, which lasted for about a century, was the great age of scholastic thought, and it may be doubted whether the universities of western Europe have at any subsequent time been so worthy of respect as when Duns Scotus (died 1308) and his followers were working up the realistic conception of existence, while “Durus” Durandus (died 1332), Occam (died about 1349), and Buridanus (died after 1350) were urging their several nominalistic theories, and other writers, now so forgotten that it is useless to name them, were presenting other subtle propositions commanding serious examination. During this period the scholastic forms of discussion were fully elaborated—methods cumbrous and inelegant, but enforcing exactitude, and conformed to that stage of intellectual development. The third period, extending to the time of the extinction of scholasticism, early in the sixteenth century, presented somewhat different characters in different countries. It was, however, everywhere marked by the formal perfectionment of systems, and attention to trivial matters, with decided loss of vitality of thought. Among the innumerable writers of this time may be mentioned Albert of Saxony (fourteenth century), Pierre d'Ailly (1350–1425), Gerson (1363–1429), and Eckius, adversary of Luther. Those subsequent writers who follow colorless traditions of scholasticism, and maintain front against modern thought, must be considered as belonging to an era different from either of those mentioned.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Scholasticism the aims, methods, and products of thought which constituted the main endeavour of the intellectual life of the middle ages: the method or subtleties of the schools of philosophy: the collected body of doctrines of the schoolmen
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Low L. scholaris—L. schola.


In literature:

The destruction of scholasticism was complete.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 11" by Various
Scholasticism had done its work and no new movement took its place.
"The Story of Paris" by Thomas Okey
He stands forth as the most eminent intermediary between Greek-Arabic thought and Christian scholasticism.
"Jewish Literature and Other Essays" by Gustav Karpeles
Scholasticism was a dissent from the teachings of St. Augustine and the ascetics.
"History of Education" by Levi Seeley
The German universities, however, were less affected by this tendency of scholasticism.
"History of Human Society" by Frank W. Blackmar
The result was a structure which is well named the Protestant scholasticism.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 6" by Various
But to reach that new era of philosophy, the human spirit had first to pass through the arid wastes of Scholasticism.
"A Critical History of Greek Philosophy" by W. T. Stace
The purely philosophical theories of Aquinas are explained in the article SCHOLASTICISM.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 3" by Various
But there is a more cheerful mode of looking at the history of scholasticism.
"Essays Upon Some Controverted Questions" by Thomas H. Huxley
It is the best specimen of the final aspect of scholasticism.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 7" by Various