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Scholasticism
by Nymph Kellerman
04/23/06
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Scholasticism is an expression which is used to describe the Theology of the Middle Ages (1100 to 1500). The writings from this period, composed a precise body of thinking and speculation. The Schoolmen arranged the dogma of the Church in a specific system, today known as the Summa Theologiae. These systems were meant to be encyclopedic, and thus they addressed every ardent and cognitive problem in the precinct of religion. Many of the Schoolmen were passionate mystics who combined the metaphysical element with the mystical element and thus Scholasticism and Mysticism truly stride together through the chronicles of Church History. Anselm of Canterbury is one of many good examples where mysticism was combined with scholasticism. In History of the Christian Church , Philip Schaff says of Anselm: “The Schoolman's spiritual reflections abound in glowing utterances from the inner tabernacle of his heart. Now he loses himself in the contemplation of the divine attributes, now he laments over the deadness and waywardness of man. Now he soars aloft in strains of praise and adoration, now he whispers low the pleadings for mercy and pardon. At one moment he surveys the tragedy of the cross or the joys of the redeemed; at another the terrors of the judgment and hopeless estate of the lost. Such a blending of mellow sentiment with high speculations is seldom found. No one of the greater personages of the Middle Ages, except Bernard, excels him in the mystical element; and he often reminds us of Bernard, as when he exclaims 'O good Jesus, how sweet thou at to the heart of him who thinks of Thee and loves Thee'”.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Scolasticism is the “educational tradition of the Medieval Schools”, and may today be described as a “method of philosophical and theological speculation which aims at a better understanding of revealed truths.......... as an attempt by intellectual processes, by analogy and by defining, co-ordinating, and systematizing the data of faith, to attain to a deeper penetration into the inner meaning of Christian doctrine”.
St. Augustine had already laid the theoretical foundations of Scholasticism, and in his “De Doctrina Christiana”, he urged the need for dialectics in the study of the Christian doctrines. His slogan “ergo intellige ut credas, crede ut intelligas” - “understand so that you may believe, believe so that you may understand”, is one of his most popular slogans.
St. Anselm, Hugo de St. Victor, Richard of St. Victor, Peter de Lombard, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, Durandus, Bradwardine and Ockam were but a few of the great names amongst the schoolmen. Gabriel Biel, professor at Tuebingen, is considered to be the last of this era of great thinkers.
Myriads of enigmatic men and women spiraled through the centuries of history to form a dazzling and luminous galaxy of speculators who loved humanity so completely, that they were zealous to dedicate their lives to the philosophy of Theology so that their writings could contribute to a more profound understanding of the transcendental conducts of life.

Nymph completed her L.T.C.L. in music and drama, and obtained a B.A. Psychology and Philosophy a few years later. She trained as formal singer under various renowned vocal advisers and performed in numerous concerts, recitals, and oratorios. After a car accident that lead to a few neuro surgeries, she began investigating the benefits of deep relaxation and wrote a few books and numerous articles on the subject.

e-mail: nymphkellerman@telkomsa.net
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