History of Catholic dogmatic theology

History of Catholic dogmatic theology

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The history of Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 dogmatic theology
Dogmatic theology
Dogmatic theology is that part of theology dealing with the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and his works, especially the official theology recognized by an organized Church body, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Dutch Reformed Church, etc...

divides into three main periods:
  • the patristic;
  • the medieval;
  • the modern

Patristic period (about A.D. 100-800)

The Fathers of the Church are honoured by the Church as her principal theologians. Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 (b. about 160) died a Montanist, and Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 (d. 254) showed a marked leaning towards Hellenism
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

. Some of the Fathers, e.g. St. Cyprian (d. 258) and Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
St. Gregory of Nyssa was a Christian bishop and saint. He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory of Nazianzus. His significance has long been recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity...

, were unorthodox on individual points; the former in regard to the baptism of heretics, the latter in the matter of apocatastasis
Apocatastasis is reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition.-Etymology and definition:The Liddell and Scott Lexicon entry, gives the following examples of usage:* “τοῦ ἐνδεοῦς” Aristotle MM, 1205a4; into its nature εἰς φύσιν id...


It was not so much in the catechetical schools of Alexandria, Antioch, and Edessa as in the struggle with the great heresies of the age that patristic theology developed. This serves to explain the character of the patristic literature, which is apologetical and polemical, parenetical and ascetic, with a wealth of exegetical wisdom on every page; for the roots of theology are in the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, especially in the Gospels and in the Epistles of St. Paul. It was not the intention of the Fathers to give a systematic treatment of theology; Möhler called attention to the variety found in their writings: the apologetic style is represented by the letter of Diognetus and the letters of St. Ignatius
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

; the dogmatic in pseudo-Barnabas
Pseudo-Barnabas refers to the author of the Epistle of Barnabas and is considered an Apostolic Father, but is not considered to be St...

; the moral, in the Pastor of Hermas; canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

, in the letter of Clement of Rome; church history, in the Acts of the martyrdom of Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

 and Ignatius. After the recovery of lost manuscripts may be added: the liturgical style, in the Didache
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

; the catechetical, in the Proof of the Apostolic Preaching by Irenæus.

Although the different epochs of the patristic age overlap each other, it may be said in general that the apologetic style predominated in the first epoch up to Constantine the Great, while in the second epoch, that is to say up to the time of Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...


Christian writers against paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 and Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, had to explain the truths of natural religion
Natural theology
Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

, such as God, the soul, creation, immortality, and freedom of the will; at the same time they had to defend the chief mysteries of the Christian faith, as the Trinity, Incarnation, etc., and had to prove their sublimity, beauty, and conformity to reason. The list of those against pagan polytheism is long: Justin
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, Athenagoras
Athenagoras of Athens
Athenagoras was a Father of the Church, a Proto-orthodox Christian apologist who lived during the second half of the 2nd century of whom little is known for certain, besides that he was Athenian , a philosopher, and a convert to Christianity. In his writings he styles himself as "Athenagoras, the...

, Tatian
Tatian the Assyrian was an Assyrian early Christian writer and theologian of the 2nd century.Tatian's most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or "harmony", of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the...

, Theophilus of Antioch
Theophilus of Antioch
Theophilus, Patriarch of Antioch, succeeded Eros c. 169, and was succeeded by Maximus I c.183, according to Henry Fynes Clinton, but these dates are only approximations...

, Hermias, Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

, Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

, Cyprian
Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

, Minucius Felix, Commodianus
Commodianus was a Christian Latin poet, who flourished about AD 250.The only ancient writers who mention him are Gennadius, presbyter of Massilia , in his De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis, and Pope Gelasius in De libris recipiendis et non recipiendis, in which his works are classed as Apocryphi,...

, Arnobius
Arnobius of Sicca was an Early Christian apologist, during the reign of Diocletian . According to Jerome's Chronicle, Arnobius, before his conversion, was a distinguished Numidian rhetorician at Sicca Veneria , a major Christian center in Proconsular Africa, and owed his conversion to a...

, Lactantius
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

, Prudentius
Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis in 348. He probably died in Spain, as well, some time after 405, possibly around 413...

, Firmicius Maternus, Eusebius of Cæsarea, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age...

, Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He came to power when the city was at its height of influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the later 4th and 5th centuries...

, Nilus
Nilus of Sinai
Saint Nilus the Elder, of Sinai , was one of the many disciples and fervent defenders of St. John Chrysostom.-Life:We know him first as a layman, married, with two sons...

, Theodoret
Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria . He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms...

, Orosius, and Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

. The most prominent writers against Judaism were: Justin, Tertullian, Hippolytus of Rome, Cyprian, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
St. Gregory of Nyssa was a Christian bishop and saint. He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory of Nazianzus. His significance has long been recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity...

, Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville
Isidore of Seville
Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

, with attacks on Jews who refused to recognize the prophetic Christian interpretation of the Old Testament.

The efforts of the Fathers to define and combat heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 brought writings against Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, Manichæism, and Priscillianism
Priscillianism is a Christian doctrine developed in the Iberian Peninsula in the 4th century by Priscillian, derived from the Gnostic-Manichaean doctrines taught by Marcus, an Egyptian from Memphis, and later considered a heresy by the Orthodox Church.-History:Priscillian was described as "a man...

, with the focus on principles of faith and the Church's authority. In the struggles against Monarchianism
Monarchianism is a set of beliefs that emphasize God as being one person. The term was given to Christians who upheld the "monarchy" of God against the Logos theology of Justin Martyr and apologists who had spoken of Jesus as a second divine person begotten by God the Father before the creation of...

, Sabellianism
In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

, and Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 the emphasis was on the true meaning of the dogma of the Trinity. When the contest with Eunomianism broke out, theological and philosophical criticism turned to the doctrine of God and our knowledge of Him. The Christological disputes began with the rise of Apollinarianism, reached their climax in Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

, Monophysitism
Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

, and Monothelitism
Monothelitism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus, known as a Christological doctrine, that formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism teaches that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will...

, and were revived once more in Adoptionism
Adoptionism, sometimes called dynamic monarchianism, is a minority Christian belief that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his baptism...

. In this long and bitter strife, the doctrine of Christ's person, of the Incarnation, and Redemption, and in connection with that Mariology
Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...

 also, was placed on an orthodox foundation. Eastern Christian in this dispute on the Trinity and Christology included: the Alexandrines, Clement, Origen, and Didymus the Blind
Didymus the Blind
Didymus the Blind was a Coptic Church theologian of Alexandria, whose famous Catechetical School he led for about half a century. He became blind at a very young age, and therefore ignorant of the rudiments of learning...

; Athanasius and the three Cappadocians, Basil
Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum , of the family Lamiaceae , sometimes known as Saint Joseph's Wort in some English-speaking countries....

, Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age...

, and Gregory of Nyssa; Cyril of Alexandria and Leontius of Byzantium
Leontius (writer)
Leontius , theological writer, born at Constantinople, flourished during the sixth century. He is variously styled Byzantinus, Hierosolymitanus Leontius (c. 485 – c. 543), theological writer, born at Constantinople, flourished during the sixth century. He is variously styled Byzantinus,...

; finally, Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar. In his early life, he was a civil servant, and an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius...

 and John Damascene. In the West the leaders were: Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary of Poitiers
Hilary of Poitiers
Hilary of Poitiers was Bishop of Poitiers and is a Doctor of the Church. He was sometimes referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West." His name comes from the Latin word for happy or cheerful. His optional memorial in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints is 13...

, Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

, Augustine, Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

, Fulgentius of Ruspe
Fulgentius of Ruspe
Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe was bishop of the city of Ruspe, North Africa, in the 5th and 6th century who was canonized as a Christian saint...

, Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I was pope from September 29, 440 to his death.He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy...

 and Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

. As the contest with Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

 and Semi-pelagianism clarified the dogmas of grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 and liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

 and predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

, original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

 and the condition of our first parents in Paradise, so also the contests with the Donatists brought codification to the doctrine of the sacraments (baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

), the hierarchical constitution of the Church her magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

or teaching authority, and her infallibility
Infallibility, from Latin origin , is a term with a variety of meanings related to knowing truth with certainty.-In common speech:...

. Augustine here was the leader, and next to him came Optatus of Mileve and disciples. A culminating contest was decided by the Second Council of Nicæa (787); it was in this struggle that, under the leadership of John Damascene, the communion of saints
Communion of Saints
The communion of saints , when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, living and the dead, those on earth, in heaven, and, for those who believe in purgatory, those also who are in that state of purification.They are all part of a single "mystical body",...

, the invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics and holy images were placed on a basis of orthodoxy.

These developments left the dogmatic teachings of the Fathers as a collection of monographs rather than a systematic exposition. Irenæus shows attempts at synthesis; the trilogy of Clement of Alexandria (d. 217) marks an advance in the same direction; but the most successful effort in Christian antiquity to systematize the principal dogmas of faith was made by Origen in his work De principiis, which is unorthodox. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 394) then endeavoured in his "Large Catechetical Treatise" (logos katechetikos ho megas) to correlate in a broad synthetic view the fundamental dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Sacraments. In the same manner, though somewhat fragmentarily, Hilary (d. 366) developed in his work "De Trinitate" the principal truths of Christianity.

The catechetical instructions of Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church . He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. In 1883, Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII...

 (d. 386) especially his five mystagogical treatises, on the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

 and the three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, contain an almost complete dogmatic treatise, Epiphanius (d. 496), in his two works Ancoratus and Panarium, aimed at a complete dogmatic treatise, and Ambrose (d. 397) in his chief works: "De fide", "De Spiritu S.", "De incarnatione", "De mysteriis", "De poenitentia", treated the main points of dogma in classic Latinity, though without any attempt at a unifying synthesis. In regard to the Trinity and Christology, Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) was a model for later dogmatic theologians. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 (d. 430) wrote one or two works, as the "De fide et symbolo" and the "Enchiridium", which are compendia of dogmatic and moral theology, as well as his speculative work De Trinitate. His disciple Fulgentius of Ruspe
Fulgentius of Ruspe
Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe was bishop of the city of Ruspe, North Africa, in the 5th and 6th century who was canonized as a Christian saint...

 (d. 533) wrote an extensive and thorough confession of faith under the title, "De fide ad Petrum, seu regula rectæ fidei".

Towards the end of the Patristic Age Isidore of Seville (d. 636) in the West and John Damascene (b. ab. 700) in the East paved the way for a systematic treatment of dogmatic theology. Following closely the teachings of Augustine and Gregory the Great, Isidore proposed to collect all the writings of the earlier Fathers and to hand them down as a precious inheritance to posterity. The results of this undertaking were the "Libri III sententiarum seu de summo bono". Tajus of Saragossa (650) had the same end in view in his "Libri V sententiarum". The work of John Damascene (d. after 754) not only gathered the teachings and views of the Greek Fathers, but reduced them to a systematic whole; he deserves to be called the first and the only scholastic among the Greeks. His main work, which is divided into three parts, is entitled: "Fons scientiæ" (pege gnoseos), because it was intended to be the source, not merely of theology, but of philosophy and Church history as well. The third or theological part, known as "Expositio fidei orthodoxæ" (ekthesis tes orthodoxou pisteos), is a combination of positive and scholastic theology, and aims at thoroughness.

After John Damascene, Greek theology went through the Photian schism
Photian schism
The Photian schism is a term for a controversy lasting from 863-867 between Eastern and Western Christianity....

 (869). The only Greek prior to him who had produced a complete system of theology was Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, also known as Pseudo-Denys, was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum . The author is identified as "Dionysos" in the corpus, which later incorrectly came to be attributed to Dionysius...

, in the fifth century; but he was more popular in the West, at least from the eighth century on, than in the East. Although he openly wove into the Catholic system neo-Platonic thoughts and phrases, nevertheless he enjoyed an unparalleled reputation among the scholastics of the Middle Ages. For all that, Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 did not take its guidance from John Damascene or Pseudo-Dionysius, but from Augustine. Augustinian thought runs through the whole progress of Western Catholic philosophy and theology.

The Venerable Bede (d. 735), a contemporary of John Damascenehad solid education in theology, and extensive knowledge of the Bible and of the Fathers of the Church. He is the link which joins the patristic with the medieval history of theology.

Middle Ages (800-1500)

The beginnings of Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 may be traced back to the days of Charlemagne (d. 814). Thence it progressed in ever-guickening development to the time of Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury , also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109...

, Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bernard of Clairvaux, O.Cist was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian order.After the death of his mother, Bernard sought admission into the Cistercian order. Three years later, he was sent to found a new abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val...

, and Peter the Lombard, and onward to its full growth in the Middle Ages (first epoch, 800-1200). The most brilliant period of Scholasticism embraces about 100 years (second epoch, 1200–1300), and with it are connected the names of Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. From the beginning of the fourteenth century, owing to the predominance of Nominalism and to the sad condition of the Church, Scholasticism began to decline (third epoch, 1300–1500).

First epoch: beginning and progress of Scholasticism (800-1200)

In the first half of this epoch, up to the time of Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury
Anselm of Canterbury , also called of Aosta for his birthplace, and of Bec for his home monastery, was a Benedictine monk, a philosopher, and a prelate of the church who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109...

, the theologians were more concerned with preserving than with developing the writings of the Fathers. Theology was cultivated nowhere with greater industry than in the cathedral and monastic schools, founded and fostered by Charlemagne.

The earliest signs of a new thought appeared in the ninth century during the discussions relative to the Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 (Paschasius Radbertus, Ratramnus
Ratramnus, a Frankish monk of the monastery of Corbie, was a Carolingian theologian known best for his writings on the Eucharist and predestination. His Eucharistic treatise, De corpora et sanguine Domini , was a counterpoint to his abbot Paschasius Radbertus’ realist Eucharistic theology...

, Rabanus Maurus
Rabanus Maurus
Rabanus Maurus Magnentius , also known as Hrabanus or Rhabanus, was a Frankish Benedictine monk, the archbishop of Mainz in Germany and a theologian. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis . He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible...

). These speculations were carried to a greater depth in the second Eucharistic controversy against Berengarius of Tours (d. 1088), (Lanfranc
Lanfranc was Archbishop of Canterbury, and a Lombard by birth.-Early life:Lanfranc was born in the early years of the 11th century at Pavia, where later tradition held that his father, Hanbald, held a rank broadly equivalent to magistrate...

, Guitmund
The Norman Guitmund , bishop of Aversa, was a Benedictine monk who was an adversary of Berengar of Tours.In his youth he entered the Benedictine monastery of La-Croix-Saint-Leufroy in the diocese of Évreux, and about 1060 he was studying theology at the abbey of Bec, where he had Lanfranc as...

, Alger
Alger of Liège
Alger of Liège , known also as Alger of Cluny and Algerus Magister, was a learned clergyman from Liège who lived in the first half of the 12th century....

, Hugh of Langres
Hugh of Langres
Hugh of Langres was bishop of Langres.As a theologian, he wrote a work, De corpore et sanguine Christi, against Berengar of Tours. He had met Berengar and discussed his views at length....

, etc.). The only systematic theologian of this time, Scotus Eriugena (d. after 870), was an avowed pantheist.

Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109) was the first to bring a sharp logic to bear upon the principal dogmas of Christianity, and to draw up a plan for dogmatic theology. Taking the substance of his doctrine from Augustine, Anselm, as a philosopher, was not so much a disciple of Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 as of Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, in whose dialogues he had been schooled.

Another pillar of the Church was Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), the "Father of Mysticism". Though for the most part the author of ascetic works with a mystical tendency, he used the weapons of scientific theology against Abelard's Rationalism and the Realism of Gilbert de La Porrée
Gilbert de la Porrée
Gilbert de la Porrée , also known as Gilbert of Poitiers, Gilbertus Porretanus or Pictaviensis, was a scholastic logician and theologian.-Life:...

. It is upon the doctrine of Anselm and Bernard that the Scholastics of succeeding generations took their stand, and it was their spirit which lived in the theological efforts of the University of Paris. Less prominent, yet noteworthy, are: Ruprecht of Deutz, William of Thierry, Gaufridus, and others.

The first attempts at a theological system may be seen in the so-called Books of Sentences, collections and interpretations of quotations from the Fathers, more especially of Augustine. One of the earliest of these books is the Summa sententiarum of Hugh of St. Victor (1141). His works are characterized throughout by a close adherence to Augustine and, according to the verdict of Scheeben, may serve as guides for beginners in the theology of Augustine. The similar work of Robert Pulleyn (d. 1146) is careless in arranging the matter and confuses the various questions of which he treats. Peter the Lombard, called the "Magister Sententiarum" (d. 1164), on the other hand, stands above them all. What Gratian
Gratian (jurist)
Gratian, was a 12th century canon lawyer from Bologna. He is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Franciscus Gratianus, Johannes Gratianus, or Giovanni Graziano. The dates of his birth and death are unknown....

 had done for canon law the Lombard did for dogmatic and moral theology. He sifted and explained and paraphrased the patristic lore in his "Libri IV sententiarum", and the arrangement which he adopted was, in spite of the lacunæ, so excellent that up to the sixteenth century his work was the standard text-book of theology. The work of interpreting this text beganin the thirteenth century, and there was no theologian of note in the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on the Sentences
The Four Books of Sentences is a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century. It is a systematic compilation of theology, written around 1150; it derives its name from the sententiae or authoritative statements on biblical passages that it gathered together.-Origin and...

of the Lombard. Hundreds of these commentaries are still unprinted; no other work exerted such a powerful influence on the development of scholastic theology.

Neither the analogous work of his disciple, Peter of Poitiers
Peter of Poitiers
Peter of Poitiers Peter of Poitiers Peter of Poitiers (born at Poitiers or in its neighbourhood about 1130; died in Paris in 1215 (though Ulrich Rehm dates Peter's death to 1205 in "Bebilderte Vaterunser-Erklärungen des Mittelalters", Baden-Baden 1994, p. 62) was a French scholastic...

 (d. 1205), nor the important "Summa aurea" of William of Auxerre
William of Auxerre
William of Auxerre was a French scholastic theologian and official in the Roman Catholic Church.The teacher by whom William was most influenced was Praepositinus, or Prevostin, of Cremona, Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1206 to 1209...

 (d. after 1230) superseded the Lombard's "Sentences" Along with Alain of Lille (d, 1203), William of Auvergne
William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris
William of Auvergne was a French priest who served as Bishop of Paris from 1228 until his death in 1249. He is also known as Guillaume d'Auvergne, Guilielmus Alvernus, or William of Paris.-Life:...

 (d. 1248), who died as bishop of Paris, deserves special mention. Though preferring the free, unscholastic method of an earlier age, he yet shows himself at once an original philosopher and a profound theologian. Inasmuch as in his numerous monographs on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Sacraments, etc., he took into account the anti-Christian attacks of the Arabic writers on Aristoteleanism, he is the connecting link between this age and the thirteenth century.

Second epoch: Scholasticism at its zenith (1200-1300)

This period of Scholasticism was marked by the appearance of the theological Summae, as well as the mendicant orders
Mendicant Orders
The mendicant orders are religious orders which depend directly on the charity of the people for their livelihood. In principle, they do not own property, either individually or collectively , believing that this was the most pure way of life to copy followed by Jesus Christ, in order that all...

. In the thirteenth century the champions of Scholasticism were to be found in the Franciscans and Dominicans, beside whom worked also the Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

, Carmelites
The Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Carmelites is a Catholic religious order perhaps founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel, hence its name. However, historical records about its origin remain uncertain...

, and Servites.

Alexander of Hales
Alexander of Hales
Alexander Hales also called Doctor Irrefragabilis and Theologorum Monarcha was a notable thinker important in the history of scholasticism and the Franciscan School.-Life:Alexander was born at Hales ,...

 (d. about 1245) was a Franciscan, while Albert the Great (d. 1280) was a Dominican. The Summa theologiæ of Alexander of Hales is the largest and most comprehensive work of its kind, flavoured with Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

. Albert was an intellectual working not only in matters philosophical and theological but in the natural sciences as well. He made a first attempt to present the entire philosophy of Aristotle and to place it at the service of Catholic theology. The logic of Aristotle had been rendered into Latin by Boethius and had been used in the schools since the end of the sixth century; but his physics and metaphysics were made known to Western Christendom only through the Arabic philosophers of the thirteenth century. His works were prohibited by the Synod of Paris, in 1210, and again by a Bull of Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 in 1231. But after the Scholastics, led by Albert the Great, had gone over the faulty Latin translation once more, and had reconstructed the doctrine of Aristotle and its principles.

Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

 (d. 1274) and Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 (d. 1274), mark the highest development of Scholastic theology. St. Bonaventure follows Alexander of Hales, his fellow-religious and predecessor, but surpasses him in mysticism and clearness of diction. Unlike the other Scholastics of this period, he did not write a theological Summa, but a Commentary on the Sentences, as well as his Breviloquium, a condensed Summa. Alexander of Hales and Bonaventure represent the old Franciscan Schools, from which the later School of Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

 essentially differed.

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 holds the same rank among the theologians as does Augustine among the Fathers of the Church. He is distinguished by wealth of ideas, systematic exposition of them, and versatility. For dogmatic theology his most important work is the Summa theologica
Summa Theologica
The Summa Theologiæ is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas , and although unfinished, "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as a manual for beginners in theology and a compendium of all of the main...

. Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

 in his Encyclical "Æterni Patris" (1879) restored the study of the Scholastics, especially of St. Thomas, in all higher Catholic schools, a measure which was again emphasized by Pope Pius X
Pope Pius X
Pope Saint Pius X , born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the 257th Pope of the Catholic Church, serving from 1903 to 1914. He was the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized. Pius X rejected modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting traditional devotional practices and orthodox...


Richard of Middleton
Richard of Middleton
Richard of Middleton was a member of the Franciscan Order, a theologian, and philosopher. He was Norman, and therefore it is impossible to tell whether he came from France or England originally...

 (d. 1300) is a classical representative of the Franciscan School. Among the Servites, Henry of Ghent
Henry of Ghent
Henry of Ghent , scholastic philosopher, known as Doctor Solemnis , also known as Henricus de Gandavo and Henricus Gandavensis, was born in the district of Mude, near Ghent, and died at Tournai...

 (d. 1293), a disciple of Albert the Great, deserves mention; his style is original and rhetorical, his judgments are independent, his treatment of the doctrine on God attests the profound thinker. Thomas's pupil Peter of Tarentaise became Pope Innocent V
Pope Innocent V
Pope Blessed Innocent V , born Pierre de Tarentaise, was Pope from January 21 to June 22, 1276.He was born around 1225 near Moûtiers in the Tarentaise region of the County of Savoy, then part of the Kingdom of Arles in the Holy Roman Empire, but now in southeastern France...

. (d. 1276). Ulric of Strasburg (d. 1277) islittle known, though his unprinted Summa was held in high esteem in the Middle Ages. Ægidius of Rome (d. 1316) differed in detail from the teaching of Aquinas. But the attempt of the Augustinian Gavardus in the seventeenth century to create a distinctly "Ægidian School" proved a failure.

On the other hand, adversaries of Aquinas sprang up even in his lifetime. The first attack came from England and was led by William de la Mare
William de la Mare
William De La Mare was an English Franciscan theologian.He is known for his opposition to the theology of Thomas Aquinas, expressed in his work Correctorium fratris Thomae. It earned him the name Doctor correctivus.-External links:*...

, of Oxford (d. 1285). Duns Scotus (1266—1308) by bold and virulent criticism of the Thomistic system was to a great extent responsible for its decline. Scotus is the founder a new Scotistic School, in the speculative treatment of dogma. Where Aquinas likens the system of theology and philosophy to the animal organism, which the soul unifies, in Scotus's own words, on the other hand, the order of things is rather symbolized by the plant, the root shooting forth branches and twigs which have an innate tendency to grow away from the stem.

Scotism won a s victory over Thomism by its doctrine concerning the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

. Later Franciscans, among them Constantine Sarnanus (Costanzo Torri) (1589) and John of Rada (Juan de Rada) (1599), set about minimizing or even reconciling the doctrinal differences of the two.

Third epoch: gradual decline of Scholasticism (1300-1500)

The following period showed both consolidation, and disruption: the Fraticelli
The Fraticelli, sometimes confusingly called Fratricelli, were medieval Roman Catholic groups that could trace their origins to the Franciscans, but which came into being as a separate entity. The Fraticelli were declared heretical by the Church in 1296 by Boniface VIII...

, nominalism
Nominalism is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist. Thus, there are at least two main versions of nominalism...

, conflict between Church and State (Philip the Fair
Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair was, as Philip IV, King of France from 1285 until his death. He was the husband of Joan I of Navarre, by virtue of which he was, as Philip I, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne from 1284 to 1305.-Youth:A member of the House of Capet, Philip was born at the Palace of...

, Louis of Bavaria
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

, the Avignon Papacy
Avignon Papacy
The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. This arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown....

). The spread of Nominalism owed much to two pupils of Duns Scotus: the Frenchman Peter Aureolus (d. 1321) and the Englishman William Occam (d. 1347). Marsilius of Padua
Marsilius of Padua
Marsilius of Padua Marsilius of Padua Marsilius of Padua (Italian Marsilio or Marsiglio da Padova; (circa 1275 – circa 1342) was an Italian scholar, trained in medicine who practiced a variety of professions. He was also an important 14th century political figure...

 and John of Jandun
John of Jandun
John of Jandun was an Averroist philosopher, theologian, and political writer. He was born at Jandun in the Ardennes, in what is now France...

 opposed the primacy of the pope. The principle "Concilium supra Papam" was important to the times of the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

 and Council of Basel. Pierre d'Ailly
Pierre d'Ailly
Pierre d'Ailly was a French theologian, astrologer, and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church....

 (d. 1425) and Jean Gerson
Jean Gerson
Jean Charlier de Gerson , French scholar, educator, reformer, and poet, Chancellor of the University of Paris, a guiding light of the conciliar movement and one of the most prominent theologians at the Council of Constance, was born at the village of Gerson, in the bishopric of Reims in...

 (d. 1429) embraced doctrines which they abandoned after the Western Schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

 was healed.

Prominent later nominalists were the general of the Augustinians, Gregory of Rimini
Gregory of Rimini
Gregory of Rimini , also called Gregorius de Arimino or Ariminensis, was one of the great scholastic philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages...

 (d. 1359), and Gabriel Biel
Gabriel Biel
Gabriel Biel was a German scholastic philosopher and member of the Brethren of the Common Life born in Speyer. In 1432 he was ordained to the priesthood and entered Heidelberg University. He succeeded academically and became an instructor in the faculty of the arts.- Life :His studies were pursued...

 (d. 1495), who has been called the "last Scholastic". Nominalist subtleties, coupled with an austere Augustinism, made Gregory of Rimini the precursor of Baianism
Baianism is a term applied to the theology of Catholic theologian Michael Baius . It claims thorough Augustinianism over the scholasticism which held sway over most Catholic theologians at the time...

 and Jansenism
Jansenism was a Christian theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Otto Jansen, who died in 1638...

. Gabriel Biel praised Occam and commented on his writings.

Nominalism had less effect on the Dominican theologians. With the possible exceptions of Durand of St. Pourçain (d. 1332) and Holkot (d. 1349), its members were as a rule loyal Thomists. Most prominent among them during the first half of the fourteenth century were: Hervæus de Nedellec (d. 1323), an opponent of Scotus; John of Paris
John of Paris
John of Paris , also called Jean Quidort and Johannes de Soardis was a French philosopher, theologian, and Dominican monk.-Life:John of Paris was born in Paris, France at an unknown date...

 (d. 1306); Peter of Palude (d. 1342); and especially Raynerius of Pisa (d. 1348), who wrote an alphabetical summary of the doctrine of Aquinas. A prominent figure in the fifteenth century is Antonine of Florence (d. 1459), a compiler and versatile author of a "Summa Theologiæ". A powerful champion of Thomism was John Capreolus (d. 1444), the "Prince of Thomists" (princeps Thomistarum). In his adamantine "Clypeus Thomistarum", he repelled the adversaries of Thomism with the very words of Thomas.

It was only in the early part of the sixteenth century that commentaries on the "Summa Theologica" of Aquinas began to appear, among the first to undertake this work being Cardinal Cajetan of Vio (d. 1537) and Konrad Köllin (d. 1536). The philosophical Summa contra Gentiles
Summa contra Gentiles
The Summa contra Gentiles by St. Thomas Aquinas has traditionally been dated to 1264, though more recent scholarship places it towards the end of Thomas’ life, 1270-73 . The work has occasioned much debate as to its purpose, its intended audience and its relationship to his other works...

found a masterly commentator in Francis of Ferrara (d. 1528).

The Franciscans partly favoured Nominalism, partly adhered to pure Scotism. Among the latter group were: Francis Mayronis (d. 1327); John of Colonia; Peter of Aquila
Peter of Aquila
Peter of Aquila was an Italian Friar Minor, theologian and bishop.Peter was born at L'Aquila in the Abruzzi, Italy, towards the end of the thirteenth century. In 1334 he figures as master of theology and provincial of his order in Tuscany. In 1334 he was appointed confessor of Queen Joan I of...

 (d. about 1370), who as abbreviator of Scotus was called Scotellus (little Scotus); Nicolaus de Orbellis (ca. 1460), and Franciscus Lichetus (d. 1520), a famous commentator of Scotus. William of Vorrilong (about 1400), Stephen Brulefer (d. 1485), and Nicholas of Niise (Nicolaus Denyse) (d. 1509) belong to a third class which is characterized by the tendency to closer contact with Bonaventure.

Splits are discernible in the schools of the other orders. While the Augustinians James of Viterbo
James of Viterbo
Blessed James of Viterbo , known as Giacomo da Viterbo, Jacobus de Viterbo, surname Capocci, and nicknamed Doctor speculativus, was an Augustinian friar and student of Giles of Rome.He was born in Viterbo, Italy...

 (d. 1308) and Thomas of Strasburg
Thomas of Strasburg
Thomas of Strasburg was a fourteenth-century scholastic of the Augustinian Order.In 1347, two years after he became general, his second son died of the plague. In 1345 he became the general of his order, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. During his tenure he would revise the...

 (d. 1357) attached themselves to Ægidius of Rome, Gregory of Rimini, mentioned above, championed an undisguised nominalism. Alphonsus Vargas of Toledo (d. 1366), on the other hand, was an advocate of Thomism in its strictest form. Among the Carmelites, also, divergencies of doctrine appeared. Gerard of Bologna
Gerard of Bologna
Gerard of Bologna was an Italian Carmelite theologian and scholastic philosopher.A convinced Thomist, he took a doctorate in theology in 1295 at the University of Paris. Subsequently he was elected general of the Carmelite Order, in 1297....

 (d. 1317) was a staunch Thomist, while John Baconthorp (d. 1346) delighted in trifling controversies against the Thomists, and endeavoured to found a new school in his order. Generally speaking, however, the later Carmelites were followers of Aquinas.

The Order of the Carthusians produced in the fifteenth century a prominent and many-sided theologian in the person of Dionysius Ryckel (d. 1471), surnamed "the Carthusian", a descendant of the Leevis family, who set up his chair in Roermond
Roermond is a city, a municipality, and a diocese in the southeastern part of the Netherlands.The city of Roermond is a historically important town, on the lower Roer at the east bank of the Meuse river. It received city rights in 1231...

 (Holland). From his pen we possess commentaries on the Bible, Pseudo-Dionysius, Peter the Lombard, and Aquinas. He was equally conversant with mysticism and scholasticism. Albert the Great, Henry of Ghent, and Dionysius are representative of German theology of the Middle Ages. The anonymous German Theology, edited by Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, is distinct from the German Theology of bishop Berthold of Chiemsee
Berthold of Chiemsee
Berthold of Chiemsee was a German bishop and theological writer.His real name was Berthold Pürstinger, frequently called Pirstinger; but he is generally known as Berthold of Chiemsee, from his episcopal see, situated on one of the islands of the Bavarian lake of Chiemsee. We have little...

 (d. 1543).

Outside the religious orders were many other. The Englishman Thomas Bradwardine
Thomas Bradwardine
Thomas Bradwardine was an English scholar, scientist, courtier and, very briefly, Archbishop of Canterbury. As a celebrated scholastic philosopher and doctor of theology, he is often called Doctor Profundus, .-Life:He was born either at Hartfield in Sussex or at Chichester, where his family were...

 (d. 1340), was the foremost mathematician of his day and Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. His sombre work De causa Dei contra Pelagianos was later used by Calvinist Anglicans. Richard Radulphus, Bishop of Armagh (d. 1360), in his controversy with the Armenians, paved the way for Wyclif. (The Carmelite Thomas Netter
Thomas Netter
Thomas Netter was an English Scholastic theologian and controversialist. From his birthplace he is commonly called Thomas Waldensis.-Life:...

 (d. 1430), surnamed Waldensis, stands out as a controversialist against the Wyclifites and Hussites.) Nicholas of Cusa
Nicholas of Cusa
Nicholas of Kues , also referred to as Nicolaus Cusanus and Nicholas of Cusa, was a cardinal of the Catholic Church from Germany , a philosopher, theologian, jurist, mathematician, and an astronomer. He is widely considered one of the great geniuses and polymaths of the 15th century...

 (d. 1404) inaugurated of a new and unorthodox speculative system in dogmatic theology. A thorough treatise on the Church was written by John Torquemada (d. 1468), and a similar work by St. John Capistran (d. 1456). Alphonsus Tostatus (d. 1454) was a scholar, the equal of Nicholas of Lyra
Nicholas of Lyra
Nicholas of Lyra , or Nicolaus Lyranus, a Franciscan teacher, was among the most influential practitioners of Biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages. He was a doctor at the Sorbonne by 1309 and ten years later was appointed the head of all Franciscans in France. His major work, Postillae perpetuae...

 (d. 1341) in Scriptural learning; he interspersed his Biblical commentaries on the Scriptures with dogmatic treatises. His work "Quinque paradoxa" is a treatise on Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

 and Mariology
Roman Catholic Mariology is theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ as developed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic teachings on the subject have been based on the belief that "The Blessed Virgin, because she is the Mother of God, is believed to hold a certain...


Modern times (1500-1900)

The Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 brought about a more accurate definition of important Catholic articles of faith. From the period of the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 the revival of classical studies gave new vigour to exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 and patrology, while the Reformation stimulated the universities which had remained Catholic, especially in Spain (Salamanca, Alcalá, Coimbra) and in the Netherlands (Louvain), to intellectual research. Spain, which had fallen behind during the Middle Ages, now came boldly to the front. The Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 of Paris regained its lost prestige only towards the end of the sixteenth century. Among the religious orders the newly-founded Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 probably contributed most to the revival and growth of theology. Scheeben distinguishes five epochs in this period.

First epoch: to the Council of Trent (1500-1570)

It was only by a slow process that Catholic theology rose again. The whole literature of this period bears an apologetical and controversial character and deals with those subjects which had been attacked most bitterly: the rule and sources of faith, the Church, grace, the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist. Numerous defenders of the Catholic faith were Germans: Johann Eck
Johann Eck
Dr. Johann Maier von Eck was a German Scholastic theologian and defender of Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation. It was Eck who argued that the beliefs of Martin Luther and Jan Hus were similar.-Life:...

 (d. 1543), Cochlæus (d. 1552), Staphylus
Staphylus is almost always associated with grapes or wine. In Greek mythology, he was:# The son of wine-god Dionysus and Ariadne. His brothers include Oenopion , Thoas, Peparethus, Phanus and Euanthes . Both Staphylus and Phanus are counted among the Argonauts...

 (d. 1564), James of Hoogstraet (d. 1527), John Gropper
John Gropper
Johann Gropper was a Roman Catholic church politician of the Reformation period.-Early life: follower of Erasmus:...

 (d. 1559), Albert Pighius
Albert Pighius
Albert Pighius was a Dutch Roman Catholic theologian, mathematician, and astronomer.-Life:...

 (d. 1542), Cardinal Hosius (d. 1579), Martin Cromer (d. 1589), and Peter Canisius (d. 1597). The last-named gave to the Catholics not only his world-renowned catechism, but also a most valuable Mariology.

In England John Fisher
John Fisher
Saint John Fisher was an English Roman Catholic scholastic, bishop, cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on 22 June in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and 6 July on the Church of England calendar of saints...

, Bishop of Rochester (d. 1535), and Thomas More
Thomas More
Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

 (d. 1535) championed the cause of the Catholic faith with their pen. Cardinal Pole (d. 1568), Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner was an English Roman Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I of England.-Early life:...

 (d. 1555), and Cardinal William Allen (d. 1594) placed their learning at the service of the Catholic Church, while the Jesuit Nicholas Sanders
Nicholas Sanders
Nicholas Sanders was an English Roman Catholic priest and polemicist.-Early life:Sanders was born at Chariwood , Surrey, the son of William Sanders, once sheriff of Surrey, who was descended from the Sanders of Sanderstead...

 wrote one of the best treatises on the Church. In Belgium the professors of the University of Louvain opened new paths for the study of theology, foremost among them were: Ruardus Tapper (d. 1559), John Driedo (d. 1535), Jodocus Ravesteyn (d. 1570), John Hessels (d. 1566), Johannes Molanus (d. 1585), and Garetius (d. 1571). To the last-named we owe an excellent treatise on the holy Eucharist.

In France Jacques Merlin, Christopher Chefontaines (d. 1595), and Gilbert Génebrard
Gilbert Génebrard
Gilbert Génebrard was a French Benedictine exegete and Orientalist.In his early youth he entered the Cluniac monastery of Mausac near Riom, later continued his studies at the monastery of Saint-Allyre in Clermont, and completed them at the College de Navarre in Paris, where he obtained the...

 (d. 1597) rendered great services to dogmatic theology. Sylvester Prierias (d. 1523), Ambrose Catharinus (d; 1553), and Cardinal Seripandus are the boast of Italy. But, above all other countries, Spain is distinguished: Alphonsus of Castro (d. 1558), Michael de Medina (d. 1578), Peter de Soto (d. 1563). Some of their works have remained classics, such as "De natura et gratia" (Venice 1547) of Dominic Soto; "De justificatione libri XV" (Venice, 1546) of Andrew Vega; "De locis theologicis" (Salamanca, 1563) of Melchior Cano
Melchior Cano
Melchior Cano was a Spanish Scholastic theologian.-Clerical life:He was born in Tarancón, New Castile, and joined the Dominican Order in Salamanca, where by 1546 he had succeeded Francisco de Vitoria to the theological chair in the university. A man of deep learning and originality, proud and a...


Second epoch: late Scholasticism at its height (1570-1660)

After the close of the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 (1545–1563), Catholic theology was an active field.

Controversial theology

Controversial theology was the speciality of Cardinal Bellarmine (d. 1621), who defended almost the whole of Catholic theology against the attacks of the Reformers. Other defenders were the Spanish Jesuit Gregory of Valencia
Gregory of Valencia
Gregory of Valencia was a Spanish humanist and scholar who was a professor at the University of Ingolstadt. Born at Medina, he entered the newly-founded Jesuit order in 1565 after studying philosophy and jurisprudence at the University of Salamanca.In 1571, he was called by St...

 (d. 1603) and his pupils Adam Tanner (d. 1632) and James Gretser (d. 1625), who taught in the University of Ingolstadt
University of Ingolstadt
The University of Ingolstadt was founded in 1472 by Louis the Rich, the Duke of Bavaria at the time, and its first Chancellor was the Bishop of Eichstätt. It consisted of five faculties: humanities, sciences, theology, law and medicine, all of which were contained in the Hoheschule...

. Thomas Stapleton
Thomas Stapleton
Thomas Stapleton was an English Catholic controversialist.-Life:He was the son of William Stapleton, one of the Stapletons of Carlton, Yorkshire. He was educated at the Free School, Canterbury, at Winchester College, and at New College, Oxford, where he became a Fellow, 18 January 1553...

 (d. 1608) wrote on the material and formal principle of Protestantism. Cardinal du Perron (d. 1618) of France entered the arena against James I of England
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 and Philip Mornay, and wrote a treatise on the holy Eucharist. The pulpit orator Bossuet
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet was a French bishop and theologian, renowned for his sermons and other addresses. He has been considered by many to be one of the most brilliant orators of all time and a masterly French stylist....

 (d. 1627) attacked Protestantism from the standpoint of history.

The Præscriptiones Catholicae was a voluminous work of the Italian Gravina
Dominic Gravina
Dominic Gravina was an Italian Dominican theologian.-Life:He entered the Dominican Order at Naples, and made his classical and sacred studies in the order's schools. As professor of theology in the Dominican college of St...

 (7 vols., Naples, 1619–39). Martin Becanus
Martin Becanus
Martinus Becanus was a Flemish Jesuit priest, known as a theologian and controversialist.-Life:He was born in Hilvarenbeek in the Southern Netherlands; his original surname was Schellekens...

 (Martin Verbeeck) (d. 1624), a Belgian Jesuit, published his handy Manuale controversiarum. In Holland the defence of religion was carried on by the two learned brothers Adrian (d. 1669) and Peter de Walemburg (d. 1675), both auxiliary bishops of Cologne and controversialists, who easily ranked among the best. The Eastern Church was represented in the two Greek converts, Peter Arcudius (d. 1640) and Leo Allatius
Leo Allatius
Leo Allatius was a Greek scholar, theologian and keeper of the Vatican library....

 (d. 1669).

Positive theology

The development of positive theology went hand in hand with the progress of research into the Patristic Era and into the history of dogma. These studies were especially cultivated in France and Belgium. A number of scholars, thoroughly versed in history, published in monographs the results of their investigations into the history of particular dogmas. Joannes Morinus (d. 1659) made the Sacrament of Penance the subject of special study; Isaac Habert (d. 1668), the doctrine of the Greek Fathers on grace; Hallier (d. 1659), the Sacrament of Holy orders, Jean Garnier
Jean Garnier
Jean Garnier was a French Jesuit church historian, patristic scholar, and moral theologian.-Life:He was born at Paris, entered the Society of Jesus at the age of sixteen, and, after a distinguished course of study, taught at first the humanities, then philosophy, at Clermont-Ferrand , and theology...

 (d. 1681), Pelagianism; Étienne Agard de Champs
Étienne Agard de Champs
Étienne Agard de Champs was a French Jesuit theologian and author.-Life:...

 (d. 1701), Jansenism; Tricassinus (d. 1681), Augustine's doctrine on grace.

Unorthodox voices were Baius, Jansenius the Younger, Launoy
Jean de Launoy
Jean de Launoy was a French historian. Known as "le denicheur des saints", he was a critical historiographer. He was on the sceptical side over the supposed papal bull Sacratissimo uti culmine...

, de Marca, Dupin
Dupin may refer to:* André Marie Jean Jacques Dupin , French advocate* C. Auguste Dupin, a fictional detective* Charles Dupin , French Catholic mathematician* Jacques Dupin , French poet...

, and others. Pierre Nicole
Pierre Nicole
Pierre Nicole was one of the most distinguished of the French Jansenists.Born in Chartres, he was the son of a provincial barrister, who took in charge his education...

 and Antoine Arnauld
Antoine Arnauld
Antoine Arnauld — le Grand as contemporaries called him, to distinguish him from his father — was a French Roman Catholic theologian, philosopher, and mathematician...

 were Jansenists, who wrote a monumental work on the Eucharist, "Perpétuité de la foi" (Paris, 1669–74).

The Jesuit Petavius (d. 1647) and the Oratorian Louis Thomassin
Louis Thomassin
Louis Thomassin was a French theologian and Oratorian.-Life:At the age of thirteen he entered the Oratory and for some years was professor of literature in various colleges of the congregation, of theology at Saumur, and finally in the seminary of Saint Magloire, in Paris, where he remained until...

 (d. 1695), wrote "Dogmata theologica". They placed positive theology on a new basis without disregarding the speculative element.


Religious orders fostered scholastic theology. Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure were proclaimed Doctors of the Church, respectively by Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 and Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V
Pope Sixtus V , born Felice Peretti di Montalto, was Pope from 1585 to 1590.-Early life:The chronicler Andrija Zmajević states that Felice's family originated from modern-day Montenegro...


At the head of the Thomists was Domingo Bañez
Domingo Báñez
Domingo Bañez was a Spanish Dominican and Scholastic theologian. The qualifying Mondragonensis, attached to his name, seems to be a patronymic after his father John Bañez of Mondragón, Gipuzkoa....

 (d. 1604), the first and greatest opponent of the Jesuit Luis Molina
Luis Molina
Luis de Molina , was a Spanish Jesuit priest and a staunch Scholastic defender of 'human liberty' in the Divine grace and human liberty controversy of the Renaissance ....

 (d. 1600). He wrote a commentary on the theological Summa of Aquinas, which, combined with a similar work by Bartholomew Medina (d. 1581), forms a harmonious whole. Under the leadership of Bañez a group of scholarly Dominicans took up the defence of the Thomistic doctrine on grace: Alvarez
Alvarez or Alvares may refer to:People:*Álvarez *Álvares*Alvarez of Córdoba , Roman Catholic saint* Vicente Álvarez Travieso, first alguacil mayor of San Antonio, Texas...

 (d. 1635), Tomas de Lemos
Tomas de Lemos
Tomás de Lemos was a Spanish Dominican theologian and controversialist.-Life:At an early age he entered the Order of St. Dominic in his native town; he obtained, in 1590 the lectorate in theology and was at the same time appointed regent of studies in the convent of St. Paul at Valladolid...

 (d. 1629), Pedro de Ledesma (d. 1616), Antoine Massoulié
Antoine Massoulié
Antoine Massoulié was a French Dominican theologian. He was uncompromising against Quietism, and Molinism.-Life:...

 (d. 1706), Reginaldus (Antonin Reginald or Regnault) (d. 1676), John Paul Nazarius
John Paul Nazarius
John Paul Nazarius was an Italian Dominican theologian.-Biography:He was born at Cremona. He entered the order at an early age in his native town and from the beginning was noted for his spirituality and love of study. It is most probable that he studied philosophy and theology at the University...

 (d. 1646), John a St. Thoma (d. 1644), Xantes Mariales
Xantes Mariales
Xantes Mariales was an Italian Dominican theologain.-Life:He was of a noble Venetian family. At an early age he entered the Dominican convent of Sts. John and Paul...

 (d. 1660), Jean Baptiste Gonet
Jean Baptiste Gonet
Jean Baptiste Gonet was a French Dominican theologian.-Life:...

 (d. 1681), Antoine Goudin (d. 1695), Vincent Contenson
Vincent Contenson
Vincent Contenson was a French Dominican theologian and preacher....

 (d. 1674), and others. The Carmelites of Salamanca produced the Cursus Salmanticensis (Salamanca, 1631–1712) in 15 folios, as commentary on the Summa (thr names of the authors of this work are not known).

Outside the Dominican Order, also, Thomism had supporters: the Benedictine Alphonsus Curiel (d. 1609), Francis Zumel (d. 1607), John Puteanus (d. 1623), and the Irishman Augustine Gibbon de Burgo (d. 1676), who laboured in Spain and at Erfurt in Germany. The Catholic universities were active in the interest of Thomism. At Louvain William Estius (d. 1613) wrote a Thomist commentary on the "Liber Sententiarum" of Peter the Lombard, while his colleagues Johannes Wiggers and Francis Sylvius
Francis Sylvius
Francis Sylvius was a Flemish Roman Catholic theologian.-Life:...

 (d. 1649) explained the theological Summa of the master himself. In the Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 Thomism was represented by Gammaché (d. 1625), Andrew Duval (d. 1637), and Nicholas Ysambert (d. 1624). The University of Salzburg
University of Salzburg
The University of Salzburg, or Paris Lodron University after its founder, the Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron, is located in the Austrian city of Salzburg, Salzburgerland, home of Mozart. It is divided into 4 faculties: catholic theology, law, humanities and natural science.Founded in 1622, it...

 also furnished the Theologia scholastica of Augustine Reding
Augustine Reding
Augustine Reding was a Swiss Benedictine, the Prince-Abbot of Einsiedeln, and theological writer.-Life:...

, who held the chair of theology in that university from 1645 to 1658, and died as Abbot of Einsiedeln in 1692.

The Franciscans of this epoch maintained doctrinal opposition to the Thomists, with steadily continued Scotist commentaries on Peter the Lombard. Irish Franciscans who promoted theological activity: Mauritius Hibernicus (d. 1603), Anthony Hickay (Hiquæus, d. 1641), Hugh Cavellus, and John Ponce
John Ponce
John Ponce was an Irish Franciscan scholastic philosopher and theologian.He originated the classic formulation of Ockham's Razor, in the shape of the Latin phrase entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem, "entities are not to be multiplied unnecessarily".-Life:His family name was John Punch...

 (Pontius, d. 1660). The following Italians and Belgians also deserve to be mentioned: Francis de Herrera (about 1590), Angelus Vulpes (d. 1647), Philip Fabri (d. 1630), Bosco
Bosco was an Irish children's television programme produced during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was produced by the Lambert Puppet Theatre. Designed by Jan Mitchell, Bosco was voiced by Miriam Lambert initially; in later years Paula Lambert took over the character...

 (d. 1684), and Cardinal Brancatus de Laurea (d. 1693). Scotistic manuals for use in schools were published about 1580 by Cardinal Sarnanus and by William Herincx, this latter acting under the direction of the Franciscans. The Capuchins
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

, on the other hand, adhered to Bonaventure, as, e.g., Peter Trigos (d. 1593), Joseph Zamora (d. 1649), Gaudentius of Brescia, (d. 1672), Marcus a Baudunio (Marc de Bauduen) (d. 1673), and others.

Jesuit theologians

The Society of Jesus substantially adhered to the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, yet at the same time it made use of an eclectic freedom. Luis Molina
Luis Molina
Luis de Molina , was a Spanish Jesuit priest and a staunch Scholastic defender of 'human liberty' in the Divine grace and human liberty controversy of the Renaissance ....

 (d. 1600) was the first Jesuit to write a commentary on the Summa of St. Thomas. He was followed by Cardinal Toletus (d. 1596) and by Gregory of Valencia (d. 1603), mentioned above as a controversialist.

A leading Jesuit group are the Spaniards Francisco Suárez
Francisco Suárez
Francisco Suárez was a Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher and theologian, one of the leading figures of the School of Salamanca movement, and generally regarded among the greatest scholastics after Thomas Aquinas....

, Gabriel Vasquez
Gabriel Vásquez
Gabriel Vasquez was a Spanish Jesuit theologian....

, and Didacus Ruiz. Francisco Suárez (d. 1617), the most prominent among them, had the title "Doctor eximius", which Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV , born Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini, was Pope from 17 August 1740 to 3 May 1758.-Life:...

 gave him. In his colleague Gabriel Vasquez (d. 1604), Suárez found a good critic. Didacus Ruiz (d. 1632) wrote on God and the Trinity, subjects which were also thoroughly treated by Christopher Gilles (d. 1608). Harruabal (d. 1608), Ferdinand Bastida (d. about 1609), Valentine Herice belong to the history of Molinism
Molinism, named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, is a religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will. William Lane Craig is probably its best known advocate today, though other important Molinists include Alfred Freddoso, Alvin...


During the succeeding period James Granado (d. 1632), John Præpositus (d. 1634), Caspar Hurtado
Caspar Hurtado
Gaspar Hurtado was a Spanish Jesuit theologian.-Life:He studied at the University of Alcalá de Henares, where in the examination for the doctorate he won the highest place from numerous competitors...

 (d. 1646), and Anthony Perez (d. 1694) wrote commentaries on Aquinas. Theological manuals were written by Arriaga
Arriaga is a Basque surname that may apply to:*Guillermo Arriaga, Mexican author, screenwriter and producer*Fr. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga, S.J., Mexican theologian, sedevacantist*Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga 1806-1826, Basque-Spanish composer...

 (d. 1667), Martin Esparza (d. 1670), Francis Amicus (d. 1651), Martin Becanus (d. 1625), Adam Tanner (d. 1632), and finally by Sylvester Maurus
Sylvester Maurus
Sylvester Maurus was an Italian Jesuit theologian.-Life:He entered the Society of Jesus, 21 April 1636...

 (d. 1687), who is clear and a philosopher.

Major monographs were:
  • against Baius and his followers, Martínez de Ripalda (d. 1648), work on the supernatural order;
  • Leonard Lessius (d. 1623), treatises on God and His attributes;
  • Ægidius Coninck (d. 1633), on the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the sacraments;
  • Cardinal John de Lugo
    John de Lugo
    John de Lugo , a Spanish Jesuit and Cardinal, was an eminent theologian of the Renaissance.-Biography:He was born at Madrid in November, 1583, though he used to call himself a "Hispalensis", because his family seat was at Seville...

     (d. 1660), a moralist, wrote on the virtue of faith and the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist;
  • Claude Tiphanus (d. 1641), on the notions of personality
    Personality psychology
    Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

     and hypostasis.

Cardinal Pallavicini, (d. 1667), known as the historiographer of the Council of Trent, won repute as a dogmatic theologian by several of his writings.

Third epoch: decline of Scholasticism (1660-1760)

Other counter-currents of thought set in: Cartesianism
Cartesian means of or relating to the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes—from his name—Rene Des-Cartes. It may refer to:*Cartesian anxiety*Cartesian circle*Cartesian dualism...

 in philosophy, Gallicanism
Gallicanism is the belief that popular civil authority—often represented by the monarchs' authority or the State's authority—over the Catholic Church is comparable to that of the Pope's...

, and Jansenism
Jansenism was a Christian theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace, and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Otto Jansen, who died in 1638...

. Italy was least affected. Theology within the schools of the old religious orders was not unchanged; almost all the theological literature of this period and the revival of Scholasticism are due to them.

A product of the Thomistic school, widely used, was the standard work of the Dominican Charles René Billuart (d. 1757), a skilled explanation and defence of the Thomistic system in scholastic form. The dogmatic theology of Vincent Louis Gotti
Vincent Louis Gotti
Vincenzo Ludovico Gotti was a Cardinal and theologian of the Roman Catholic Church.Gotti was born in Bologna. Educated by Jesuits, he entered the Dominican Order at the age of sixteen. After studies in Salamanca in Spain, he was assigned to various posts teaching theology and philosophy first in...

 was a rival. Other Thomists produced monographs: Drouin
- People :* André Drouin, Canadian politician* Claude Drouin , Canadian politician* Jacques Drouin , Canadian animator* Jude Drouin , Canadian ice hockey player* Marie-Josée Drouin , Canadian economist...

 on the sacraments and Bernard de Rubeis (d. 1775) on original sin. More eclectic in their adherence to Thomism were Celestine Sfondrato (d. 1696) and José Saenz d'Aguirre (d. 1699); the latter's work "Theology of St. Anselm" is in three volumes. Among the Franciscans Claudius Frassen (d. 1680) issued his elegant Scotus academicus, a counterpart to the Thomistic theology of Billuart. Of the Scotistic School also were Gabriel Boyvin, Crescentius Krisper (d. 1721), and Dalmatius Kick (d. 1769). Eusebius Amort
Eusebius Amort
Eusebius Amort was a German Roman Catholic theologian.-Life:Amort was born at Bibermuhle, near Tolz, in Upper Bavaria...

 (d. 1775), the foremost theologian in Germany, combined conservatism with due regard for modern demands.

Jesuits were still active: Edmond Simonet, Joannes de Ulloa (d. about 1723), and Marin
-Places:*Marin, Haute-Savoie, a commune in France*Le Marin, a commune in the French overseas department of Martinique*Marín, Nuevo León, a town and municipality in Mexico*Marín, Pontevedra, a municipality in Galicia, Spain*Marin County, California...

 were the authors of voluminous scholastic works. Textbooks of theology were written by Platel (d. 1681), Antoine (d. 1743), Pichler (d. 1736), Sardagna (d. 1775), Erber, Monschein (d. 1769), and Gener. The "Theologia Wirceburgensis" was published in 1766-71 by the Jesuits of Würzburg.

The new school of Augustinians, who based their theology on the system of Gregory of Rimini rather than on that of Ægidius of Rome. Because of the stress they laid on the rigoristic element in Augustine's doctrine on grace, they were for a time suspected of Baianism
Baianism is a term applied to the theology of Catholic theologian Michael Baius . It claims thorough Augustinianism over the scholasticism which held sway over most Catholic theologians at the time...

 and Jansenism; but were cleared of this suspicion by Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV , born Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini, was Pope from 17 August 1740 to 3 May 1758.-Life:...

. To this school belonged the scholarly Lupus (d. 1681) at Louvain and Cardinal Noris (d. 1704). Its best work on dogmatic theology came from the pen of Giovanni Lorenzo Berti
Giovanni Lorenzo Berti
Giovanni Lorenzo Berti was an Italian Augustinian theologian.The General of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine, Schiaffinati, instructed him to write a book, to be used by all the students of the Order, expounding the whole of Augustine of Hippo's thought and particularly his doctrine of grace...

 (d. 1766). His fellow-workers in the same field were Fulgentius Bellelli (d. 1742) and Joseph Bertieri.

The French Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

 took up Jansenism, with Pasquier Quesnel
Pasquier Quesnel
Pasquier Quesnel was a French Jansenist theologian.He was born in Paris, and, after graduating from the Sorbonne with distinction in 1653, he joined the French Oratory in 1657...

, Lebrun
Lebrun or Le Brun may refer to:*Charles Le Brun , French painter*Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun , French lyric poet*Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance , French statesman...

, and Gaspard Juenin. The Sorbonne of Paris also adopted aspects of Jansenism and Gallicanism; leaders were Louis Habert (d. 1718), du Hamel (d. 1706), Nicolas L'Herminier, Charles Witasse (d. 1716). Exceptions were Louis Abelly
Louis Abelly
Louis Abelly was Vicar-General of Bayonne, a parish priest in Paris, and subsequently Bishop of Rodez in 1664, but in 1666 abdicated and attached himself to St. Vincent de Paul in the House of St. Lazare, Paris . His ascetical works reveal his deep and sincere piety. He was a bitter foe of the...

 (d. 1691) and Martin Grandin, who were papal loyalists, as was Honoratus Tournély (d. 1729), whose "Prælectiones dogmaticæ" are numbered among the best theological text-books.

Against Jansenism stood the Jesuits Dominic Viva (d. 1726), La Fontaine (d. 1728), Lorenzo Alticozzi (d. 1777), and Faure
Faure or Fauré is a French family name and may refer to:People:* Edgar Faure, French politician* Élie Faure, French art historian and essayist* Émile Alphonse Faure, lead battery pioneer* Cédric Fauré, French football striker...

 (d. 1779). Gallicanism and Josephinism
Josephinism is the term used to describe the domestic policies of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor . During the ten years in which Joseph was the sole ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy , he attempted to legislate a series of drastic reforms to remodel Austria in the form of the ideal Enlightened state...

 were also pressed by the Jesuit theologians, especially by Francesco Antonio Zaccaria
Francesco Antonio Zaccaria
Francesco Antonio Zaccaria was an Italian theologian, historian, and prolific writer.He joined the Austrian province of the Society of Jesus, in 18 October 1731. Zaccaria taught grammar and rhetoric at Gorz, and was ordained priest at Rome in 1740...

 (d. 1795), Alfonso Muzzarelli
Alfonso Muzzarelli
Alfonso Muzzarelli was an Italian Jesuit theologian and scholar.-Life:He entered the Jesuit novitiate on 20 October 1768, and taught grammar at Bologna and Imola...

 (d. 1813), Bolgeni (d. 1811), Roncaglia
-Places:*Roncaglia , within the present municipal boundaries of Piacenza in Emilia-Romagna, and known for two Imperial Diets convened by Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor*Roncaglia, a frazione of Casale Monferrato, Piedmont-People:...

, and others. The Jesuits were seconded by the Dominicans Giuseppe Agostino Orsi
Giuseppe Agostino Orsi
Giuseppe Agostino Orsi was a cardinal, theologian, and ecclesiastical historian.Born as Agostino Francesco Orsi at Florence on 9 May 1692, of the aristocratic Florentine family Orsi, he studied grammar and rhetoric under the Jesuits, but entered the Dominican Order at Fiesole on 21 February 1708...

 (d. 1761) and Thomas Maria Mamachi
Thomas Maria Mamachi
-Biography:He was born at Chios, an island in the Archipelago, 4 December 1713; died at Corneto, near Montefiascone in Italy on 7 June 1792. At the age of sixteen he entered the convent of Chios and passed later to St. Mark's at Florence and the Minerva at Rome....

 (d. 1792). Another champion in this struggle was Cardinal Gerdil (d. 1802). Alphonsus Liguori
Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori was an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, scholastic philosopher and theologian, and founder of the Redemptorists, an influential religious congregation...

 (d. 1787) wrote popular works.

Fourth epoch: at a low ebb (1760-1840)

In France the influences of Jansenism and Gallicanism were still powerful; in the German Empire Josephinism
Josephinism is the term used to describe the domestic policies of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor . During the ten years in which Joseph was the sole ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy , he attempted to legislate a series of drastic reforms to remodel Austria in the form of the ideal Enlightened state...

 and Febronianism
Febronianism was a powerful movement within the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, in the latter part of the 18th century, directed towards the nationalizing of Catholicism, the restriction of the power of the papacy in favor of that of the episcopate, and the reunion of the dissident churches with...

 spread. The suppression of the Society of Jesus by Pope Clement XIV
Pope Clement XIV
Pope Clement XIV , born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, was Pope from 1769 to 1774. At the time of his election, he was the only Franciscan friar in the College of Cardinals.-Early life:...

 occurred in 1773. The period was dominated by the European Enlightenment, the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, and German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...


De Lamennais (d. 1854) and Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg
Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg
Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg was a German writer and scholar, and liberal Catholic churchman as well as Vicar general and administrator of the Diocese of Constance...

 (1774–1860), were both unorthodox. There were standard manuals of Wiest (1791), Klüpfel (1789), Marian Dobmayer
Marian Dobmayer
Marian Dobmayer was a German Benedictine theologian.-Life:...

 (1807), and Brenner (1826). The ex-Jesuit Benedict Stattler
Benedict Stattler
Benedict Stattler was a German Jesuit theologian, an opponent of Immanuel Kant.-Life:Benedict Stattler was born at Kötzting, Bavaria. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Landsberg in 1745 and, after the usual studies, taught philosophy and theology in Solothurn , Innsbruck, and Ingolstadt...

 (d. 1797) tried to apply to dogma the philosophy of Christian Wolff
Christian Wolff (philosopher)
Christian Wolff was a German philosopher.He was the most eminent German philosopher between Leibniz and Kant...

, Zimmer
Zimmer is a common surname of German origin, from Zimmermann, German for carpenter.*A Y-DNA Project exists for this surname.Zimmer may refer to:* Alana Zimmer, fashion model* Andreas Zimmer, German neurobiologist* Andy Zimmer, American basketball player...

 (1802), even that of Friedrich Schelling. Liebermann (d. 1844), who taught at Strasburg and Mainz, produced a more traditional dogmatic theology, but concealing his dislike for the Scholastics. It appeared in the years 1819-26 and went through many editions.

Georg Hermes
Georg Hermes
Georg Hermes , German Roman Catholic theologian, was born at Dreierwalde, in Westphalia, and was educated at the gymnasium and university of Münster, in both of which institutions he afterwards taught....

 (d. 1831) of Bonn attempted to treat Catholic theology in a Kantian spirit, as did Anton Günther
Anton Günther
Anton Günther was an Austrian Roman Catholic philosopher whose work was condemned by the church as heretical tritheism.-Biography:...

 (d. 1863) in Vienna, who sought to unravel the mysteries of Christianity by means of a modern Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

 and to resolve them into purely natural truths.

Fifth epoch: restoration of dogmatic theology (1840-1900)

A revival of Catholic dogmatic theology was seen from the 1840s, particularly in Germany, with Joseph Görres (d. 1848), the "loud shouter in the fray". Ignaz von Döllinger (d. 1890) developed Church history, and Johann Adam Möhler
Johann Adam Möhler
Johann Adam Möhler was a German Roman Catholic theologian.He was born at Igersheim in Württemberg, and after studying philosophy and theology in the lyceum at Ellwangen, entered the University of Tübingen in 1817. Ordained to the priesthood in 1819, he was appointed to a curacy...

 advanced patrology and symbolism. Both positive and speculative theology received a new lease of life, the former through Heinrich Klee
Heinrich Klee
Heinrich Klee was a German theologian and Biblical exegete who argued against liberal and Rationalist currents in Catholic thought....

 (d. 1840), the latter through Franz Anton Staudenmaier
Franz Anton Staudenmaier
Franz Anton Staudenmaier was a Catholic theologian.Born at Donzdorf, Württemberg, he was a pupil at the Latin school of Gmünd between 1815 and 1818 and at the Gymnasium at Ellwangen from 1818 to 1822...

 (d. 1856). At the same time men like Joseph Kleutgen
Joseph Kleutgen
Joseph Wilhelm Karl Kleutgen was a German Jesuit theologian and philosopher.-Life:Kleutgen was born in Dortmund, Westphalia. He began his studies with the intention of becoming a priest, but owing to the Protestant atmosphere of the school which he attended, his zeal for religion gradually cooled...

 (d. 1883), Karl Werner (d. 1888), and Albert Stöckl
Albert Stöckl
Albert Stöckl was a German neo-scholastic philosopher and theologian....

 (d. 1895) supported Scholasticism by thorough historical and systematic writings.

In France and Belgium the dogmatic theology of Cardinal Gousset (d. 1866) of Reims and the writings of Jean Baptiste Malou, Bishop of Bruges (d. 1865) exerted great influence. In North America there were the works of Francis Kenrick
Francis Kenrick
Francis Patrick Kenrick was an Irish-born clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the third Bishop of Philadelphia and the sixth Archbishop of Baltimore .-Early life and education:...

 (d. 1863); Cardinal Camillo Mazzella
Camillo Mazzella
Camillo Mazzella was an Italian Jesuit theologian and cardinal.He was born at Vitulano, near Benevento, and died in Rome....

 (d. 1900) wrote his dogmatic works while occupying the chair of theology at Woodstock College
Woodstock College
Woodstock College was a Jesuit seminary that existed from 1869 to 1974. It was the oldest Jesuit seminary in the United States. The school was located in Woodstock, Maryland, west of Baltimore, from its establishment until 1969, when it moved to New York City, where it operated in cooperation with...

, Maryland. In England Nicholas Wiseman (d. 1865), Cardinal Manning (d. 1892), and John Henry Newman (d. 1890) advanced Catholic theology.

In Italy, where the traditions had never been forgotten, men like Gaetano Sanseverino
Gaetano Sanseverino
Gaetano Sanseverino was an Italian philosopher and theologian. He made a comparative study including the scholastics, particularly St...

 (d. 1865), Matteo Liberatore
Matteo Liberatore
Matteo Liberatore was an Italian Jesuit philosopher, theologian, and writer.-Life:...

 (d. 1892), and Salvator Tongiorgi
Salvator Tongiorgi
Salvator Tongiorgi was an Italian Jesuit philosopher and theologian.-Life:Born in Rome, Tongiorgi entered the Society of Jesus at the age of seventeen. After the usual noviceship, literary and philosophical studies, a half-decade was spent in teaching rhetoric at Reggio Emilia and humanities at...

 (d. 1865) set to work to restore Scholastic philosophy, found to be the most effective weapon of the time, against tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

alism and ontologism
Ontologism is a philosophical system most associated with Nicholas Malebranche which maintains that God and divine ideas are the first object of our intelligence and the intuition of God the first act of our intellectual knowledge.-Bibliography:...

, which had a numerous following among Catholic scholars in Italy, France, and Belgium. The pioneer work in positive theology fell to the Jesuit Giovanni Perrone
Giovanni Perrone
Giovanni Perrone was an Italian theologian born in Chieri .He studied theology at Turin and at the age of 21 went to Rome, where he joined the Society of Jesus. In 1816 he was sent as professor of theology to Orvieto, and in 1823 was appointed to a similar post in the Collegium Romanum...

 (d. 1876) in Rome. Under his leadership other theologians, as Carlo Passaglia
Carlo Passaglia
Carlo Passaglia , Italian divine, was born at Lucca.Passaglia was soon destined for the priesthood, and was placed under the care of the Jesuits at the age of fifteen. He became successively doctor in mathematics, philosophy and theology in the university of Rome. In 1844 he was made professor in...

 (d. 1887), Clement Schrader
Clement Schrader
Clement Schrader Clement Schrader Clement Schrader (b. at Itzum, in Hanover, Germany, November 1820; d. at Poitiers, France, 23 February 1875 was a German Jesuit theologian.-Life:Schrader studied at the German College at Rome (1840–48) and entered the Society of Jesus on 17 May 1848...

 (d. 1875), Cardinal Franzelin (d. 1886), Domenico Palmieri
Domenico Palmieri
Domenico Palmieri was an Italian Jesuit theologian.-Life:He studied in his native city, where he was ordained priest in 1852. On 6 June 1852, he entered the Society of Jesus, where he completed his studies. He taught in several places, first rhetoric, then philosophy, theology, and the Sacred...

 (d. 1909), and others, continued the work and reasserted the right of the speculative element in the domain of theology.

Among the Dominicans was Cardinal Zigliara, an inspiring teacher and fertile author. Germany, where Franz Xaver von Baader
Franz Xaver von Baader
Franz Xaver von Baader was a German Roman Catholic philosopher and theologian.-Life:He was born in Munich, the third son of F. P. Baader, court physician to the Prince-elector of Bavaria. His brothers were both distinguished — the elder, Clemens, as an author; the second, Joseph , as an...

 (d. 1841), Günther, and Jakob Frohschammer
Jakob Frohschammer
Jakob Frohschammer was a German theologian and philosopher.-Biography:Frohschammer was born at Illkofen, near Regensburg. Destined by his parents for the Roman Catholic priesthood, he studied theology at Munich, but felt an ever-growing attraction to philosophy...

 (d. 1893) continued to teach unorthodox views, produced a number of prominent theologians, as Johannes von Kuhn
Johannes von Kuhn
Johannes von Kuhn was a German Catholic theologian. With Franz Anton Staudenmaier he occupied the foremost rank among the speculative dogmatists of the Catholic school at the University of Tübingen.-Life:...

 (d. 1887), Anton Berlage
Anton Berlage
Anton Berlage was a German Catholic dogmatic theologian.-Life:...

 (d. 1881), Franz Xaver Dieringer
Franz Xaver Dieringer
Franz Xaver Dieringer was a Catholic theologian, b. 22 August 1811, at Rangendingen ; d. 8 September 1876, at Veringendorf .-Life:...

 (d. 1876), Johann Heinrich Oswald (d. 1903), Albert Knoll
Albert Knoll
Albert Knoll was an Austrian Capuchin dogmatic theologian.-Life:...

 (d. 1863), Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger
Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger
Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger was a leading German Catholic theologian and author of the Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum commonly referred to simply as "Denzinger".- Life of Denzinger :...

 (d. 1883), Constantine von Schäzler
Constantine von Schäzler
Constantine von Schäzler was a German Jesuit theologian.-Life:By birth and training a Protestant, he was a pupil at the Protestant gymnasium St. Anna of Ratisbon; took the philosophical course at the University of Erlangen in 1844-45; then studied law at Munich, 1845–47, and at Heidelberg, 1847-48...

 (d. 1880), Bernard Jungmann
Bernard Jungmann
Bernard Jungmann was a German Catholic dogmatic theologian and ecclesiastical historian.-Biography:He was born at Münster in Westphalia on 1 March 1833; died at Leuven , 12 January 1895...

 (d. 1895), Johann Baptist Heinrich (d. 1891), and others. But Germany's leading orthodox theologian at this time was Joseph Scheeben (d. 1888), a man of remarkable talent for speculation.

The First Vatican Council
First Vatican Council
The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned...

 was held (1870), and the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII , born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci to an Italian comital family, was the 256th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, reigning from 1878 to 1903...

on the value of Scholastic, especially Thomistic, philosophy and theology was issued (1879). Both these events became landmarks in the history of dogmatic theology.