From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Middle Ages (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Middle Ages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Middle Ages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Theology (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Theology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of theology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Christianity / Theology (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by theology work group (marked as Top-importance).
WikiProject Religion (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.

Philosophy, or term of abuse?[edit]

"Scholasticism" isn't the term usually used in general discussions of medieval philosophy; "medieval philosophy" is. "Scholasticism" is actually often used as a term of abuse. This isn't to say that there aren't a lot of useful things to be said about Scholasticism, as a philosophical movement, just that it's debatable whether discussion of medieval philosophy should go under that name. The decision should await someone versed in scholastic/medieval philosophy. --Larry Sanger

you are correct, scholasticism is not a philosophical movement. It is a didactic system which has historically been applied to philosophy or theology, or any system of thought, as a means of answering questions and resolving contradictions within that system of thought, but it is not a philosophy in its self. Stbalbach 07:33, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Revert edits by because it is less clear and changes the meaning. Scholasticism is not a "belief". Stbalbach 00:38, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I'm still pondering the wisdom of having a medieval philosophy page distinct from a scholastic philosophy page.

A technique of arguing, a style of writing, and a world view (Catholic and Aristotelian), and lots of Latin.

Is there any medieval philosophy which is not also scholastic?

Early and middle periods of scholasticism are of course medieval. The late or "second Scholasticism" of the 16C, which still awaits an article, is not. There is also "Baroque Scholasticism" which was German. There are also the Paduan and Iberian scholasticism. Then there is neo-scholasticism and neo-Thomism. Dean.

There is also the question of whether scholastic logic is any different from scholastic philosophy. I'll pass on that one.

Scholasticism is not a philosophy it's a didactic system thats most famously been applied to philosophy, but many other things too. In any case Scholasticism certainly should have it's own article, yes Philisophy existed before Scholasticism. --Stbalbach 01:16, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Before we move to what it actually is, here are some definitions from authoritative sources

  • "the manner of philosophizing and the system of philosophy that prevailed during all the Middle Ages."
  • "The system of philosophy and theology and teaching that dominated medieval Western Europe and was based on the writings of the Church Fathers and from the 12C Aristotle."
  • The tradition which arose in the medieval universities ('the schools') and is associated with the methods and theses of the major philosophers of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham).
  • "The Catholic philosophical tradition dominant in the medieval universities of the 12-14C in Western Europe."
  • "a medieval Christian school of philosophy"
  • "a medieval Christian school of philosophy and theology whose high point coincided with the rise of universities during the 12th and 13th centuries."
  • "a term [that] came to be used as the general term for the project of reconciling reason and faith".
  • "the name usually employed to denote the most typical products of medieval thought."

user: dbuckner

Not sure what those authoritative sources are from, but I'm not surprised. It is a commonly held misperception that scholasticism is a philosophy, the words "medieval" "philosophy" and "scholasticism" have become synonomous for many. But I can assure you, through many "authoritative" sources, the Scholasticism is not a philosophy (sources that use more than a single sentence sound bite). Read the article here, it explains the system. If you want somthing authoritative, read the Encyclopedia Britannica entry (not the 1911 version but the latest). --Stbalbach 22:43, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

These are from The oxford companion to philosophy, Penguin encyclopedia, then other older sources. None of them say it is a philosophy. It is a method of doing philosophy, it is also a tradition, it is a school, and it is also a project (of reconciling reason with faith).

Which in particular of the definitions I have cited do you actually disagree with?

user: dbuckner

I've consulted many more books on this. There are differences, obviously, but nearly all agree that the distinguihing features of Scholasticism are

1. The project of reconciling faith with reason 2. In particular, reconciling Aristotelian philosophy with medieval Christian beliefs (and as a result, helping to shape those beliefs, of course). 3. A particular style of teaching 4. A particular style of writing (Latinate - this was mainly the reason for the derisive attitude later taken towards the scholastics. 5. A system arranged round certain books - the sentences, the organon &c 6. A characteristic set of questions in which they were interested. The most famous being the question of universals.

Any article which is to be taken seriously should mention and discuss these features of scholasticism.

> to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with > medieval Christian theology

This is partly correct

> a tool and method for learning which puts emphasis on dialectical reasoning

That is one element of Scholasticism, yes. But Costelloe's research shows that the scholastic style of teaching survived in England long after scholasticism was defunct.

> The primary purpose of scholasticism was to find the answer to a question or resolve a contradiction

Nonsense. The primary aim was to reconcile Christianity with Aristotle. Resolving contradictions was a means to achieving this, yes.

>>>> For example, the Bible contains contradictions for Christians (ie. kosher laws) and these contradictions have been examined by scholars ancient and contemporary, so a scholastic would gather all the arguments about the contradictions, looking at it from all sides with an open mind. >>>>

This is misleading. If you go through the questions in the greatest scholastic work (Aquinas Summa Theologica), you get a sense of the questions he finds important, and which define the whole subject. Of the nature of God, of angels, of sin and grace, of the nature of the Trinity &c. Dietary observance is not central to his theology and philosophy.

I've looked through your contributions to WP and they are of consistently high quality. So I don't know why you are defending this article. My sense is that scholastic philosophy is not your main subject. Am I right? user: dbuckner

Please contribute! We may agree on more things than you think. I disagree though that the article should be refocused on theology. Scholasticism was not a theology or philosophy, it was a tool, a means to an end, a didactic system. Theology is why the tool was created and is central, but we should not be discussing those issues here. Many sources discuss the two as one and the same, but they are not. Scholasticism was applied to other things besides theology/philosophy. --Stbalbach 20:28, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

There isn't really any mention in the article of Protestant Scholasticism. A significant number of Protestant divines of the post-reformation period (c. late 16th to early 18th) used Scholastic Philosophy in the construction of a specifically Reformed metaphysical system and in extended polemics with Romanist authors (mostly Jesuit and Dominican). One well known example of such an inter-confessional debate occurred between the English theologian William Whitaker and Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. Most of Protestant Scholasticism was Calvinist, centred particularly in the Netherlands, although there were also Lutheran, French and English exponents.

On the web a good place to start for information about Scholasticism, particularly in its Counter-Reformation form is (I think that this is the best such theological site on the web). For Protestant Scholasticism there are several key works by Professor Richard Muller including 'After Calvin' (OUP 2003) and the remarkably comprehensive 'Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics' (4 vols, Baker Academic 2003). There is an increasing amount of interest in Post Reformation Scholasticism in the top universities, and the kind of theological debates associated with scholastic reasoning cannot be said to have properly declined until the advent of Cartesianism and Spinozism in the later 1600s. Johannalouw 23:28, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Yo - scoped this page, is it appropriate and even truthful to include anti-scholastics in this? I have yet to find a reputable source to say that Descartes was against the scholastic movement, almost the contrary.

Most Humanists were 'anti-scholastic', notably, Michel de Montaigne in his 'Of the Education of Children'. We might also include Milton and his 'Of Education'.Cariel 20:30, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Name of the Rose[edit]

Why not include a link to Umberto Eco's novel in this article? Too tenuous perhaps?

Section created by anon IP (and expanded by others) moved here for discussion[edit]

This strikes me as irrelevant to the article. It's a diatribe against postmodernism etc. I think one could develop a section on scholasticism as a contemporary term of derision, and perhaps a much shorter version of the following could be included.

"The Canadian essayist John Ralston Saul has argued in his books that much of what passes for post-modernist discourse in universities today is nothing more than a contemporary version of scholasticism. Today's auctores would be the post-structuralist canon consisting of such people as Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Lacan, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Derrida etc. The post-structuralist deconstruction method can be seen as the exercise of this current scholasticism's version of disputatio. Saul is highly critical of this 'revival', stating that the mediaeval scholastics did nothing more than tie up debate in irrelevant details, and that the current version does nothing more than create a variety of technocratic dialects that separates intellectuals from reality through relentless abstraction. However, what clearly distinguishes the so-called post-modern and/or post-structuralist writers such as Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard etc. from medieval scholastics is their denial of an authoritative source, such as God, that presumably lies outside discourse and that endows statements about the world with truth. Contrary to medieval scholastics, so-called post-modern and/or post-structuralist writers do not see themselves bound by non-discursive doctrines, let alone questions of faith."

Thoughts? --Anthony Krupp 03:35, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Ok with me. Seems kind of esoteric anyway, probably better off in an article on post-modernism, it is just an analogy of scholasticism, and not actual scholasticism -- Stbalbach 15:04, 6 September 2006 (UTC)


Regarding the recent additions about Islamic scholasticism. This needs further clarification as it is being presented that Muslims practiced scholasticism, which I am fairly confident is not the case - I'm sure they had something similar, but was not the same thing. This article deals with the western European school. It describes in detail the method and genres and individuals and dates and times and places.. etc.. if there is a Muslim school of scholasticism, what was it called? I suppose it could be mentioned in this article under an "origins" section, but that needs a lot of development from what is currently here. -- Stbalbach 11:13, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


Notable anti-scholastics are mentioned, but how did the opposing view(s) reason? Said: Rursus 21:34, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

The only key anti-scholastics that can be verified from Wikipedia itself is Bernard of Clairvaux, and only regarding the theological application of scholastics. The section on anti-scholastics seems to confuse scholastics with Roman-Catholicism, theological application of scholastics or some such. I believe there is no opposing view, in the sense of the word. Said: Rursus 21:49, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Renes Descartes was anti-Scholastic. Even St. Dominic was opposed to formal education, in a manner similar to St. Bernard. But so was St. Francis of Assisi. This is why it is so amazing that so many Franciscans and Dominicans ended up in the universities within a generation of the founding of the orders. Perhaps, even Roger Bacon, of Oxford, and an early empiricist might have been technically "anti-Scholastic". He called Aquinas "a school man yet to be schooled." The rise of empiricism, (experiment based on physical testing) wrote the end to formal Scholasticism, in a medieval sense. A E Francis 00:05, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Luther seems correctly classified as an anti-scholastic: "Among the most influential Protestant mystics was the Lutheran pastor Johann Arndt (1555-1621). Luther himself, while not a mystic, used mystical themes in his writings . . . (and) praised some mystical authors . . . over the dry scholastic theology that he felt had undermined the true understanding of the Gospel. In the generations after Luther's death, however, many Lutheran and Reformed theologians adopted the methods of the scholastics. . . . Arndt was a leader of the opposing group, which argued that merely intellectual knowledge of Christ was not sufficient." (Bernard McGinn, Essentials of Christian Mysticism, New York: The Modern Library, 2006, p. 276). 01:09, 15 July 2007 (UTC)BillMcCarty

This section needs a description and some citations. Otherwise, there's not much to it, besides name-dropping, some sort of implicit argument from authority. Mdotley 21:28, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
FYI, the German article mentions not only humanists as scholasticism's greatest opponents. It says that what basically broke the backbone of scholasticism in science (as opposed to being only a didactic method) during early Modernity (1500s and onwards) was the rise of empiricism, as scholasticism in science had been relying exclusively on logic and, especially, Scripture. So the scholastic view had been that if man perceived something he found empirically or logically contradicting the Bible or ecclesiastic doctrine, it was due to man's innate fallacy and weakness, while empiricism said that experiments are just as important as pure logic. --TlatoSMD (talk) 14:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

General Orientation of the Article[edit]

I think the frequent assertion in this article that Scholasticism is not a philosophical or theological system in itself is greatly misleading. Scholasticism may refer either to the philosophical school that includes Aquinas, Scotus, etc. or to the method of dialectical disputation characteristic of it. It is incorrect to suggest that it refers exclusively to the latter. I do not see a source referenced throughout the article that affirms the notion that Scholasticism is not a philosophy. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 16:22, 29 June 2007 (UTC) (UTC)

List of scholastics[edit]

Why are there two distinct lists of scholastics? There are lists by era in the History section, then another list, again by era, in the "Famous Scholastics" section. Any reason not to combine the two? Mdotley 21:33, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Why is Julian of Norwich included as a late scholastic? She was a mystic and visionary, not a scholastic. That goes for several of the others. Xxanthippe 08:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC).

Scholasticism is not a philosophy or theology[edit]

This is a very common source of confusion. Scholasticism is NOT a philosophy, and it is NOT a theology. It is a method, like the scientific method, for deriving the truth of the world. Calling it theology would be like calling the scientific process "physics". It makes no sense. As well it is not a philosophy, for the same reason. Scholasticism was applied most famously to theology and philosophy, which is why it is so often and easily confused, but it was not limited to the two things, nor is it equatable to them. Green Cardamom (talk) 04:40, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

"Post-Scholastic Thomism," not "Post-Thomistic Scholasticism"![edit]

Scholasticism never stopped being Thomistic. Rather, Thomism stopped being Scholastic. Post-Scholastic Thomism came first with Chenu, Gilson, Maritain, Fabro, etc., and later with Kenny, Stump, etc., who started doing Thomism in veins other than through the Scholastic method (i.e., by doing 'existentialist' Thomism, 'historical' Thomism, and 'analytic' Thomism). -- (talk) 23:13, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Has Scholasticism REALLY left the Academic Scene?![edit]

It is not true that Scholasticism has completely left the academic scene and survives only in internet groups. There are some scholars today--not a whole lot, but some--who still employ the Scholastic method in their teaching and even in their research, for example, Steven Long (of Ave Maria University, Florida), Ansgar Santagrossi (of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Nebraska), Francisco J. Romero Carrasquillo (of Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara), and Alexis Bugnolo (independent scholar). There is also the International Society of Scholastics (, which is a growing intellectual association that offers courses and funds and supports research projects related to Scholaticism. -- (talk) 23:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Two problems[edit]

The edits I made yesterday were reversed. I assume it happened because an user didn't like the new images or their positions (and he was probably right in this regard, something happened here - in my home - and I ended up inserting the images without much reflection...). On the other hand, some textual changes from a previous edit were reversed as well. Now, I'd like to point two of the problems I tried to address in that edit:

As a program, scholasticism was part of an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christians thinkers: to harmonize the various "authorities" of their own tradition...

In Portuguese, (my native language), quotation marks are sometimes used with a pejorative, derogatory intent. If this is the case here, or if there is a chance readers will interpret the quotation marks as pejorative, it should be amended.

The main figures of scholasticism were Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas.

Who says that? I think we need a citation for this kind of statement. Without a reliable source, I think it is necessary to change the text. (For example, by adding "some of the..." in the beginning of the sentence.) --Leinad-Z (talk) 13:30, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Anti-"Modernism" bias[edit]

The statement "at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council the proponents of what previous popes had termed "Modernism" were able to gain the upper hand" is extremely biased. Modernism is more a pejorative term for "a miscellaneous bunch of ideas Pope Pius IX didn't like than anything else. I am changing it to "after the Second Vatican Council, other theological schools came to the fore". JHobson2 (talk) 12:40, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

This is a joke (or worse). I have marked this article as NPOV[edit]

My professor: "Thursday, the research on Anselm, the founder of Scholasticism"

Wikipedia: Anselm is sometimes misleadingly called the "Father of scholasticism," owing to the prominence accorded to reason in his theology. Rather than establish a position by appeal to authority, he used argument to demonstrate why what he believed on authority must be so.


There are at least 50 sources. -- (talk) 08:40, 22 October 2012 (UTC)