Tag Archives: Ockham

How the world-embracing dream of the scholastics died but left a legacy among the common people


Bleiglasfenster in der Kapelle (Seitenschiff) ...

Franciscan Johannes Duns Scotus (Paris)

I close out the “potted history” of scholasticism in the theology chapter of Getting Medieval with C S Lewis with a bit of a dirge.

All good things must come to an end. It was the profound skepticism of a group called the “nominalists” that finally killed the grand synthesizing experiment of scholastic theology. But far from being an elitist blip on the medieval church’s radar (OK, I’ll admit that metaphor is a bit too modern!), the labors of the scholastics continued to affect the laity profoundly through the friars’ vibrant preaching and education efforts–right through the period of the Reformation. (Today’s worldwide network of Jesuit colleges are just one part of that legacy.)

THE DECLINE OF SCHOLASTICISM

The story of scholasticism’s decline in a nutshell is that after Aquinas, a trend of thought came to dominate theology which tended to re-separate faith and reason. Continue reading