Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy
Part Two. Philosophy of the Middle Ages
ALL the Philosophy which we first encounter in the Middle Ages, when independent states begin to rise, consists of bare remnants of the Roman world, which on its Fall had sunk in all respects so low that the culture of the world seemed to have come entirely to an end. Thus in the West hardly anything was known beyond the Isagoge of Porphyry, the Latin Commentaries of Boethius on the Logical works of Aristotle, and extracts from the same by Cassiodorus — most barren compilations; there is also what is just as barren, the dissertations ascribe to Augustine De dialectica and De categoriis, which last is a paraphrase of the Aristotelian work upon the categories. These were the first make-shifts or expedients for carrying on Philosophy; in them the most external and most formal reasoning is applied.
The whole effect of the scholastic philosophy is a monotonous one. In vain have men hitherto endeavoured to show in this theology, which reigned from the eighth or even sixth century almost to the sixteenth, particular distinctions and stages in development. In this case as in that of the Arabian philosophy, time does not allow — and if it did the nature of things would not allow — us to separate the scholastic philosophy into its individual systems or manifestations, but only to give a general sketch of the main elements present therein which it has actually taken up into thought. It is not interesting by reason of its matter, for we cannot remain at the consideration of this; it is not a philosophy. The name, however, properly speaking indicates a general manner rather than a system — if we may speak of a philosophic system. Scholasticism is not a fixed doctrine like Platonism or Scepticism, but a very indefinite name which comprehends the philosophic endeavours of Christendom for the greater part of a thousand years. However, this history which occupies nearly a thousand years is, as a matter of fact , comprised within one Notion which we propose to consider more closely; it has ever occupied the same standpoint, and. been grounded on the same principle; for it is the faith of the Church that we catch sight of, and a formalism which is merely an eternal analysis and constant re-iteration within itself. The more general acceptance of the Aristotelian writings has merely brought forth a difference of degree and caused no real scientific progress. Here there is indeed a history of men, but speaking properly none of scientific knowledge; the men are noble, pious, and. in all respects most distinguished.
The study of the scholastic philosophy is a difficult one, even if its language only be considered. The Scholastics certainly make use of a barbaric Latin, but this is not the fault of the Scholastics but of their Latin culture. Latin forms a quite unsuitable instrument for applying to philosophic categories such as these, because the terms which the new culture adopts could not possibly be expressed by this language without unduly straining it; the beautiful Latin of Cicero is not adapted for use in profound speculations. It cannot be expected of anyone to know at first hand this philosophy of the Middle Ages, for it is as comprehensive and voluminous as it is barren and ill-expressed.
Of the great schoolmen we still have many works left to us which are very lengthy, so that it is no easy task to study them: the later they are, the more formal do they become. The Schoolmen did not only write compendiums — for the writings of Duns Scotus amount to twelve, and those of Thomas Aquinas to eighteen folios. Abstracts of them are to be found in various works. The principal sources from which we obtain our knowledge are: 1, Lambertus DanŠus in the Prolegomena to his Commentarius in librum primum sententiarum Petri Lombardi, GenevŠ, 1580. (This is the best authority we have in abridged form): 2, Launoi: De varia Aristotelis in Academia Parisiensi fortuna; 3, Cramer: Continuation of Bossuet’s History of the World, in the last two volumes; 4, the Summa of Thomas Aquinas. In Tiedemann’s History of Philosophy extracts from the Scholastics are also to be found, as likewise in Tennemann; Rixner also makes judicious extracts.
We shall limit ourselves to general points of view. The name finds its origin in this way. From the time of Charles the Great it was only in two places — in the great schools attached to the great cathedral churches and monasteries — that a cleric, that is a canon who had the oversight of the instructors (informatores), was called scholasticus; he likewise gave lectures on the most important branch of science, theology. In the monasteries he who was the most advanced instructed the monks. We have not, properly speaking, to deal with these; but although scholastic philosophy was something altogether different, the name of Scholastics attached itself to those alone who propounded their theology scientifically and in a system. In place of the patres ecclesiŠ there thus arose later on the doctores.
The scholastic philosophy is thus really theology, and this theology is nothing but philosophy. The further content of theology is merely that which is present in the ordinary conceptions of religion; theology, however, is the science of the system as it must necessarily be present within every Christian, every peasant, &c. The science of theology is often placed in an external historical content, in exegesis, in the enumeration of the various manuscripts of the New Testament, in considering whether these are written on parchment, cotton fabrics or paper, whether in uncial letters or otherwise, and which century they belong to; further matters for consideration are the Jewish conceptions of time, the history of the Popes, Bishops and Fathers, and what took place at the councils of the Church. All these matters, however, do not pertain to the nature of God and its relation to mankind. The one essential object of theology as the doctrine of God, is the nature of God, dud this content is in its nature really speculative; those theologians who consider this are therefore nothing less than philosophers. The science of God is nothing but Philosophy. Philosophy and theology have hence here also been counted one, and it is their separation that constitutes the transition into modern times, seeing that men have thought that for thinking reason something could be true which is not true for theology. Down to the Middle Ages, on the contrary, it was held as fundamental that there should be but one truth. Thus the theology of the scholastics is not to be represented as though, as with us, it merely contained doctrines about God, &c., in historic guise, for in fact it also has within it the profoundest speculations of Aristotle and of the Neo-Platonists. Their philosophy, and much in them that is excellent, is found in Aristotle, only in a simpler and purer form; and to them too the whole lay beyond actuality and mingled with Christian actuality as it is represented to us.
From Christianity, within whose bounds we now have our place, Philosophy has to re-establish its position. In heathendom the root of knowledge was external nature as thought devoid of self, and subjective nature as the inward self. Both Nature and the natural self of mankind, and likewise thought, there possessed affirmative significance; hence all this was good. In Christianity the root of truth has, however, quite another meaning; it was not only the truth as against the heathen gods, but as against Philosophy also, against nature, against the immediate consciousness of man. Nature is there no longer good, but merely a negative; self-consciousness, the thought of man, his pure self, all this receives a negative position in Christianity. Nature has no validity, and affords no interest; its universal laws, as the reality under which the individual existences of nature are collected, have likewise no authority. the heavens, the sun, the whole of nature is a corpse. Nature is given over to the spiritual, and indeed to spiritual subjectivity; thus the course of nature is everywhere broken in upon by miracles. With this surrender of natural necessity we have the fact associated that all farther content, all that truth which constitutes the universal of that nature, is given and revealed. The one starting-point, the contemplation of nature, is thus for knowledge undoubtedly not present. Then this fact is likewise set aside that I am present as a self. The self as this immediate certainty has to be abrogated; it must also merge itself in another self, but in one beyond, and only there does it have its value. This other self, in which the proper self is made to have its freedom, is first of all likewise a particular self, that has not the form of universality: it is determined and limited in time and space, and at the same time has the significance of an absolute in and for itself. A real sense of self is thus abandoned, but what self-consciousness on the other hand gains is not a universal, a thought. In thought I have real affirmative significance, not as an individual, but as universal ‘I'; the content of truth is now, however, plainly individualized, and thus the thought of the ‘I’ falls away. Thereby, however, the highest concrete content of the absolute Idea is set forth, in which the opposites that are plainly infinite are united; it is the power which unites in itself what appears to consciousness infinitely removed from one another — the mortal and the absolute. This absolute is itself “this first of all as this concrete, not as abstraction, but as the unity of universal and individual; this concrete consciousness is for the first time truth. The reason of the former content being also true, comes to me as something not pertaining to myself, but as a thing received outside of self. The testimony of spirit, indeed, pertains thereto, and my inmost self is present there; but the testimony of spirit is a thing concealed, which does not further reveal itself, does not beget the content from itself, but receives it. The Spirit which bears witness is further itself distinguished from me as an individual; my testifying spirit is another, and there only remains to me the empty shell of passivity. Conditioned by this inflexible standpoint, Philosophy had to go forth once more. The first working up of this content, the inward operation of universal thought in the same, is the task scholastic philosophy has to undertake. The opposition between faith and reason forms the end arrived at; reason, on the one hand, feels the necessity of setting to work on nature in order to obtain immediate certainty, and on the other hand of finding in genuine thought, in specific production out of self, this same satisfaction.
We must now speak of the methods and manners of the scholastics. — In this scholastic activity thought pursues its work quite apart from all regard to experience; we no longer hear anything of taking up actuality and determining it through thought. Although the Notion came into recognition earlier than this, in Aristotle, in the first place, the Notion was not apprehended as the necessity of carrying the content further; for this was received in its successive manifestations, and there was present merely an intermingling of actuality accepted as truth and of thought. Still less, in the second place, was the greater part of the content permeated by Notions, for this content was taken up superficially into the form of thought — more especially with the Stoics and Epicureans. The scholastic philosophy altogether dissociates itself from any such endeavours it leaves actuality to exist alongside itself as if it were despised and had no interest. For reason found its true existence, its actualization, in another world and not in this; the whole progress of the cultivated world goes, however, to the re-instalment of a faith in the present world. Nevertheless, at first all knowledge and action, and whatever relates to an interest in this world, were entirely banished. Branches of knowledge that pertain to such ordinary matters as sight and hearing, restful contemplation and occupation with ordinary actuality here found no place; nor did such sciences as recognize a definite sphere of actuality after their own particular fashion, and constitute the material for genuine philosophy, nor arts which give to the Idea a sensuous existence. Likewise law and right, the recognition of the actual man, were not esteemed as pertaining to the social relationships of life, but to some other sphere. In this absence of rationality in the actual, or of rationality which has its actuality in ordinary existence, is found the utter barbarism of thought, in that it keeps to another world, and does not have the Notion of reason — the Notion that the certainty of self is all truth.
Now thought as sundered has a content, the intelligible world, as an actuality existent for itself, to which thought applies itself. Its conduct is here to be compared with that which takes place when the understanding applies itself to the sensuous and perceptible world, makes it as substance its basis, having a fixed object in it, and reasoning respecting it; it is then not the independent movement of Philosophy proper which penetrates existence and expresses it, for all it does is to find: predicates regarding it. The scholastic philosophy has thus the intelligible world of the Christian religion, God and all His attributes and works therewith connected, as an independent object; and thought is directed to God’s unchangeableness, to such questions as whether matter is eternal, whether man is free, &c. — just as the understanding passes to and fro over the phenomenal and perceived. Now the scholastic philosophy was here given over to the infinite movement of determinate Notions; the categories of possibility and actuality, freedom and necessity, constitution and substance, &c., are of this nature — they are not fixed, but pure movements. Anything whatever, determined as potential, transforms itself equally into the opposite, and must necessarily be surrendered; and determination can only save itself by a new distinction, because it must, on the one hand, be given up, and on the other retained. The scholastics are thus decried on account of the endless distinctions which they draw. For the sake of these determinations through the abstract Notion the Aristotelian philosophy was predominant, though not in its whole extent. It was the Aristotelian Organon that was held in such favour, and that indeed just as much for its laws of thought as for its metaphysical conceptions — the categories. These abstract Notions constituted in their determinateness the understanding of the scholastic philosophy, which could not pass beyond itself and attain to freedom, nor seize upon the freedom given by reason.
With this finite form a finite content is likewise directly associated. From one determination we pass on to another, and such determinations, as particular, are finite; the determination there relates itself externally and not as self-comprehensive and self-embracing. The result of this determination is that thought will really act as if it brought about conclusions, for to draw conclusions is the mode of formal logical progression. Philosophy thus consists of a methodical and syllogistic reasoning. Just as the Sophists of Greece wandered about amongst abstract conceptions on behalf of actuality, so did the scholastics on behalf of their intellectual world. To the former Being had validity; it they had rescued and delivered as against the negativity of the Notion, while along with that they had justified it through the same. The principal endeavour of the scholastics was in the same way to vindicate the Christian intellectual world as against the confusion of the Notion, and through the latter to demonstrate its conformity with the same. The universal form of the scholastic philosophy thus consisted in this — that a proposition was laid down, the objections to it brought forward, and these contradicted through counter-propositions and distinctions. Philosophy was hence not separated from theology, as it is not in itself, for Philosophy is the knowledge of absolute existence, that is to say, theology. But to that theology the Christian absolute world was a system which was held to be an actuality, as was ordinary actuality for the Greek sophists. Of Philosophy proper there thus remained only the laws of thought and abstractions.
Philosophy with the scholastics had consequently the same quality of want of independence as it had before this with the Christian Fathers and the Arabians. The Church as already constituted established itself amongst the Teutonic nations, and through its constitution it conditioned philosophy. The Christian Church had indeed spread itself abroad throughout the Roman world, but, more especially in the beginning, it merely formed a community of its own, by whom the world was renounced, and which made no special claims to recognition — or if such claims were made they were merely negative, because the individuals in the world were Simply martyrs, thus renouncing the world. But the Church in time became dominant, and the Roman emperors, both of the East and of the West, embraced Christianity. Thus the Church attained to a position openly recognized and undisturbed, from which it exercised much influence upon the world. The political world, however, fell into the bands of the Teutonic nations, and thereby a new form arose, and to this the scholastic philosophy pertains. We know the revolution by the name of the Migration of the Nations (supra, pp. 23, 24). Fresh races inundated the ancient Roman world and established themselves therein; they thus erected their new world on the ruins of the old — & picture which Rome in its present aspect still presents. There the splendour of the Christian temples is due in part to the remnants of the ancient, and new palaces are built on ruins and have ruins all around.
1. The principal feature in the Middle Ages is found in this disunion, the two sides here present; there are revealed in it two nations, two manners of speech. We see people who have hitherto ruled, a previous world having its own language, arts, and sciences, and on this to them foreign element the new nations grafted themselves, and these thus started upon their course internally dissevered. In this history we have thus before us not the development of a nation from itself, but one proceeding from its opposite, and one which is and remains burdened by this opposite, and which takes it up into itself and has to overcome it. Hence these people have in this way represented in themselves the nature of the spiritual process. Spirit is the making for itself a pre-supposition, the giving to itself the natural as a counterpoise, the separating itself therefrom, thus the making it an object, and then for the first time the working upon this hypothesis, formulating it, and from itself bringing it forth, begetting it, internally reconstructing it. Hence in the Roman as in the Byzantine world, Christianity has triumphed as a Church; but neither of these worlds was capable of effectuating the new religion in itself and of bringing forth a new world from this principle. For in both there was a character already present — customs, laws, a juridical system, a constitution (if it can be called constitution), a political condition, capacities, art, science, spiritual culture — in short, everything was there. The nature of spirit, on the contrary, requires that the world thus constituted should be begotten from it, and that this process of begetting should take place through the agency of reaction, through the assimilation of something which has gone before. These conquerors have thus established themselves in a foreign sphere, and have become the rulers over it; but at the same time they have come under the dominion of a new spirit which has been imposed upon them. Although on the one hand predominant, on the other they have come under the dominion of the spiritual element, because they conducted themselves passively in regard to it.
The spiritual Idea or spirituality has become imposed upon the dulness, both in mind and spirit, of these rough barbarians; their hearts were thereby pricked. The rough nature has in this way become immanent in the Idea as an eternal opposition, or there is kindled in them infinite pain, the most terrible suffering — such that it may oven be represented as a crucified Christ. They had to sustain this conflict within themselves, and one side of it is found in the philosophy which later on made its appearance amongst them, and was first of all received as something given. They are still uncultured people, but for all their barbaric dulness they are deep in heart and mind; on them, then, has the principle of mind been bestowed, and along with it this pain, this war between spiritual and natural, has necessarily been instituted. Culture here begins from the most terrible contradiction, and this has to be by it resolved. It is a kingdom of pain, but of purgatory, for that which is in the pain is spirit and not animal, and spirit does not die, but goes forth from its grave. The two sides of this contradiction are really thus related to one another in such a way that it is the spiritual which has to reign over the barbarians.
The true dominion of spirit cannot, however, be a dominion in the sense that its opposite is in subjection to it; spirit in and for itself cannot have the subjective spirit to which it relates confronting it as an externally obedient slave, for this last is itself also spirit. The dominion that exists must take up this position, that spirit is in subjective spirit in harmony with itself. The universal is thus that opposition in which the one can only have supremacy by the subjection of the other, but which already contains the principle of resolution in itself because mind must necessarily bear rule. And hence the consequent development is only this, that mind as reconciliation attains the mastery. To this it pertains that not the subjective consciousness, mind and heart alone, but also the worldly rule, laws, institutions, the human life, in so far as these rest in mind, must become rational. In the Republic of Plato we have met with the idea that the philosophers are those who ought to reign. Now is the time in which it is said that the spiritual are to govern, but this talk about the spiritual has been made to bear the significance that ecelesiasticism and the ecclesiastics ought to govern. The spiritual is thus made a particular form, an individual, but the real meaning that it bears is that the spiritual as such ought to be the determining factor; and this has passed current until the present day. Thus in the French Revolution we see that abstract thought is made to rule; in accordance with it constitution and laws are determined, it forms the bond between man and man; and men come to have the consciousness that what is esteemed amongst them is abstract thought, and that liberty and equality are what ought to be regarded; in this the subject also has his real value, even in relation to actuality.
One form of this reconciliation is likewise this, that the subject is satisfied with himself and in himself as he stands and moves, with his thoughts, his desires, with his spirituality; and thus that his knowledge, his thought, his conviction, has come to be the highest, and has the determination of the divine, of what holds good as absolute. The divine and spiritual is thus implanted in my subjective spirit, is identical with me; I myself am the universal, and it has efficacy for me only as I directly know it. This form of reconciliation is the newest, but the most one-sided. For the spiritual is not there determined as objective, but is only comprehended as it is in my subjectivity, in my consciousness: my conviction as such is taken as ultimate, and that is the formal reconciliation of subjectivity with itself. If the reconciliation has this form, the point of view of which we spoke before has no longer any interest; it is past and a mere matter of history. If the conviction as it immediately reveals itself within every subject is the true, the absolute, this process of mediation between God, as the true and absolute, and mankind, is no longer in as a necessity. The doctrines of the Christian religion have likewise the position of something foreign, pertaining to a particular time, that with which certain men have occupied themselves. The conception that the Idea is absolutely concrete, and is as spirit in a relation of opposition to the subject, has disappeared, and only shows itself as having passed away. In so far that which I have said about the principle of the Christian system, and shall still say of the scholastics, has interest only from the standpoint which I have given, when the interest is in the Idea in its concrete determination, and not from the standpoint of the immediate reconciliation of the subject with himself.
2. We have now to consider further the character of the opposition to any agreement with Philosophy; and to do this we must shortly call to mind the historical aspect of the case, although we need only treat of the main points therein. The first matter to consider is the. opposition that exists in the world. This form of opposition as it appears in history is as follows. Spirituality as such should be the spirituality of the heart; spirit, however, is one, and thus the communion of those who have this spirituality is asserted. Hence a community arises, which then becomes an external order, and thus, as we have seen (pp. 21, 22), expands into a church. In as far as spirit is its principle, it is, as spiritual, immediately universal, for isolation in feeling, opinion, &c., is unspiritual. The Church organizes itself, but yet it goes forth into worldly existence, attains to riches, possesses goods, and even becomes worldly and imbued with all the brute passions; for the spiritual is merely the original principle. The heart that is set on ordinary existence, on the world, and the whole of such human relationships as are hereby involved, is guided by these inclinations, desires and passions, by all this grossness and vulgarity. Thus the Church merely has the spiritual principle within itself without its being truly real, and in such a way that its further relationships are not yet rational; for such is their character before the development of the spiritual principle in the world. The worldly element without being conformable to the spiritual, is present as existence, and is the immediately natural worldly element; in this way the Church comes to have in itself the immediately natural principle. All the passions It has within itself — arrogance, avarice, violence, deceit, rapacity, murder, envy, hatred — all these sins of barbarism are present in it, and indeed they belong to its scheme of government. This government is thus already a rule of passion, although it professes to be a spiritual rule, and thus the Church is for the most part wrong in its worldly principles, though right in its spiritual aspect.
Hence the new religion separated our whole conception of the world into two different worlds, the intellectual but not subjectively conceived world, and the temporal world. Therefore life as a whole fell into two parts, two kingdoms. Directly opposite the spiritual worldly kingdom there stands the independent worldly kingdom, emperor against pope, papacy and Church — not a state, but a worldly government; there the world beyond, here the world beside us. Two absolutely essential principles conflict with one another; the rude ways of the world, the ruggedness of the individual will, beget an opposition most terrible and severe. The culture which now begins to show itself is confronted by this incomplete reality, as an actual world in opposition to its world of thought; and it does not recognize the one as present in the other. It possesses two establishments, two standards of measure and of weight, and these it does not bring together but leaves mutually estranged.
The spiritual kingdom likewise has as Church an immediate present of ordinary actuality, but the worldly kingdom, both as external nature and as the real self of consciousness, bas no truth or value in itself; for truth, as lying beyond it — the measure of truth that shines in it — is given to it from without as something inconceivable and. in itself complete. The worldly kingdom must thus be subject to the spiritual become worldly; the emperor is hence defender and protector of the Church (advocatus ecclesiŠ). The worldly element, in a certain sense, takes up a position of independence, no doubt, but it is still in unity with the other in such a way that it recognizes the spiritual as dominant. In this opposition a war must arise both on account of the worldly element which is present in the Church itself, and likewise on account of the directly worldly element of violence and of barbarism in worldly rule as it exists per se. The war must at first, however, prove disastrous to the worldly side, for just as its own position is asserted, the other is likewise recognized by it, and it is forced humbly to submit to this last, to the spiritual and its passions. The bravest, noblest emperors have been excommunicated by popes, cardinals, legates, and even by archbishops and bishops; and they could do nothing in self-defence, nor put their trust in out ward power, for it was internally broken; and thus they were ever vanquished and finally forced to surrender.
In the second place, as regards morality in the individual, we see on the one hand religion in its truly noble and attractive form in a few isolated individuals alone. I refer to those solitary spirits who are dead to the world and far removed therefrom, who find in their emotions what satisfies them, and, living in a little circle, can limit themselves to the sphere of religion. This is the case with women in the Middle Ages, or with the monks or other solitaries who were able to preserve themselves in a restricted and contracted state of fervour such as this, in which the spiritual side makes itself infinitely felt, although it lacks actuality. The one truth stood isolated and alone in man, the whole actuality of mind was not yet penetrated by it. On the other hand it is, however, essential that mind as will, impulse and passion, should demand quite another position, another mode of venting and realizing itself, than any such solitary and contracted sphere affords, that the world should require a more extended sphere of existence, an actual association of individuals, reason and thought coming together in actual relations and actions. This circle in which mind is realized — the human life — is, however, at first separated from the spiritual region of truth. Subjective virtue partakes more of the character of suffering and privation on its own account, morality is just this renunciation and self-surrender, and virtue as regards others merely has the character of benevolence. a fleeting, accidental character destitute of relation. All that pertains to actuality is hence not perfected by the truth, which remains a heavenly truth alone, a Beyond. Actuality, the earthly element, is consequently God-forsaken and hence arbitrary; a few isolated individuals are holy, and the others are not holy. In these others we first see the holiness of a moment in the quarter of an hour of worship, and then for weeks a life of rudest selfishness and violence and the most ruthless passion. Individuals fall from one extreme into another, from the extreme of rude excess, lawlessness, barbarism, and self-will, into the renunciation of all things without exception, the conquest of all desires.
The great army of the Crusaders gives us the best example of this. They march forth on a holy errand, but on the way they give free vent to all the passions, and in this the leaders show the example; the individuals allow themselves to fall into violence and heinous sin. Their march accomplished, though with an utter lack of judgment and forethought, and with the loss of thousands on the way, Jerusalem is reached: it is beautiful when Jerusalem comes in view to see them all doing penance in contrition of heart, falling on their faces and reverently adoring. But this is only a moment which follows upon months of frenzy, foolishness and grossness, which everywhere displayed itself on their march. Animated by the loftiest bravery, they go on to storm and conquer the sacred citadel, and then they bathe themselves in blood, revel in endless cruelties, and rage with a brutal ferocity. From this they again pass on to contrition and penance; then they get up from their knees reconciled and sanctified, and once more they give themselves up to all the littleness of miserable passions, of selfishness and envy, of avarice and cupidity: their energies are directed to the satisfaction of their lusts, and they bring to nought the fair possession that their bravery had won. This comes to pass because the principle is only present in them in its implicitude as an abstract principle, and the actuality of man is not as yet spiritually formed and fashioned. This is the manner in which the opposition in actuality manifests itself.
In the third place, we reach the opposition existing in the content of religion, in the religious consciousness; this has many forms, though we have here only to call to mind those that are most inward. On the one hand, we have the Idea of God — that He is known as the Trinity; on the other, we have worship, i.e. the process of individuals making themselves conformable to spirit, to God, and reaching the certainty of entering the kingdom of God. A present and actual church is an actuality of the kingdom of God upon earth, in such a way that this last is present for every man — every individual lives and must live in the kingdom of God. In this disposition we have the reconciliation of every individual; thereby each becomes a citizen of this kingdom, and participates in the enjoyment of this certainty. But this reconciliation is allied to the fact that in Christ the unity of the divine and human nature is shown forth, that is to say, the way in which the spirit of God must be present in man. This Christ thus cannot be one who is past and gone, and the life of reconciliation cannot be a mere recollection of that past. For as the just behold Christ in heaven, so must Christ be an object on earth which may likewise be beheld. In that case this process must be present — the individual must be united to this to him objective form, and it becomes identical with him; the history of Christ, that God reveals Himself as man, sacrifices Himself, and through this sacrifice raises Himself to the right hand of God, is in the individual always being accomplished in the culminating point which is called the sacrifice of the mass. The mediating element to which the individual relates himself in worship, is ever present in the mass as the objective of which the individual must be made to partake, as the Host and the act of partaking of the same. This Host, on the one hand, as objective, is held to be divine, and, on the other, it is in form an unspiritual and external thing. But that is the lowest depth of externality reached in the Church; for in this perfect externality it is before the thing that the knee must be bowed, and not in as far as it is an object that may be partaken of. Luther changed this way of regarding matters; in what is called the Supper, he has retained the mystical fact that the subject receives the divine element into himself; but he maintains that it is only divine in so far as it is partaken of in this subjective spirituality of faith, and ceases to be an external thing. But in the Church of the Middle Ages, in the Catholic Church generally, the Host is honoured even as an external thing; thus if a mouse eats of the Host, both it and its excrements are reverenced; there the divine element has altogether the form of externality. This is the central point of intense position which is on the one hand dissolved, and on the other remains in perfect contradiction, so that the Host, still held to be a merely external thing, must nevertheless be thus high and absolute.
With this externality the other side is connected — the consciousness of this relation — and here we then have the consciousness of what is spiritual, of what is the truth, in the possession of a priesthood. Thus as thing it is naturally also in the possession of another, from whom, since it is something distinguished by itself, it has to receive its distinction — or it must be consecrated — and this last is likewise an external action only, performed by individuals. The power to give this distinction to the thing is in the possession of the Church; from the Church the laity receive it.
But besides all this, the relationship of the subject in himself, the fact that he belongs to the Church and is a true member of the same, must be considered. After the admission of individuals into the Church their participation therein must likewise be brought about — that is, their purification from sin.. To this it is, however, essential, in the first place, that it should be known what evil is, and secondly, that the individual should desire the good and that pertaining to religion; and thirdly, that sin should be committed from an innate and. natural sinfulness. Now since what is inward, or conscience, must be of a right nature, the sins that are committed must be removed, and made as though they had not happened; man must ever be purified, baptized anew, so to speak, and received back again: the negation that shuts him out must ever be removed. Against this sinfulness positive commands and laws are now given, so that from the nature of spirit men cannot know what is good and evil. Thus the divine law is an external, which must hence be in someone’s possession; and priests are separated from others, so that they are exclusively acquainted both with the particular details of doctrine and the means of grace, i.e. the mode whereby the individual is religious in his worship and comes to know that he participates in the divine. In the same way that the administration of the means of grace belongs as an outward possession to the Church in relation to worship, so is the Church also in possession of a moral estimate for judging of the actions of individuals; it is in the possession of the conscience, as of knowledge as a whole, so that man’s inmost essence, his accountability, passes into other hands and to another person, and the subject is devoid of individuality even in his inmost self. The Church also knows what the individual ought to do; his faults must be known, and another, the Church, knows them; the sins must be taken away, and this also is effected in an external way, through purchase, fasting and stripes, through journeyings, pilgrimages, &c. Now this is a relation of self-suppression, unspirituality and deadness both of knowledge and will, in the highest things as well as in the most trivial actions.
These are the main facts as regards externality in religion itself, on which all further determinations depend.
3. We have now obtained a better idea of the elements present in this philosophy; but in barbaric nations Christianity could have this form of externality alone, and this pertains to history. For the dulness and frightful barbarism of such nations must be met by servitude, and through this service must their education be accomplished. Man serves under this yoke; this fearful discipline had to be gone through if the Teutonic nations were to be raised into spiritual life. But this severe and wearisome service has an end, an object; infinite spring and infinite elasticity, the freedom of spirit, is the prize. The Indians are in equal servitude, but they are irrevocably lost — identified and identical with nature, yet in themselves opposed to nature. Knowledge is thus limited to the Church, but in this very knowledge a positive authority is firmly rooted, and it is a prominent feature of this philosophy, whose first quality is consequently that of lack of freedom. Thought thus does not appear as though it proceeded from itself and was grounded in itself, but as being really independent of self and depending on a given content, the doctrine of the Church — which, although speculative itself, also contains the mode of the immediate existence of external objects.
In theological form it may be said that, in general, the Middle Ages signify the dominion of the Son and not of Spirit; for this last is still in the possession of the priesthood. The Son has differentiated Himself from the Father, and is regarded as remaining in this differentiation, so that the Father in Him is only implicit; but in the unity of both we first reach Spirit, the Son as Love. If we remain a moment too long in the difference without likewise asserting the identity, the Son is the Other; and in this we find the Middle Ages defined and characterized. The character of Philosophy in the Middle Ages is thus in the second place an attempt to think, to conceive, to philosophize under the burden of absolute hypotheses; for it is not the thinking Idea in its freedom, but set forth in the form of an externality. We thus find here in Philosophy the same character as is present in the general condition of things, and for this reason I before called to mind the concrete character that prevails; for on every period of time one special characteristic is always imprinted. The philosophy of the Middle Ages thus contains the Christian principle, which is the highest incentive to thought, because the Ideas therein present are thoroughly speculative. Of this one side is that the Idea is grasped by the heart, if we call the individual man the heart. The identity of the immediate individuality with the Idea rests in this, that the Son, the mediator, is known as this man; this is the identity of spirit with God for the heart as such. But the connection itself, since it is likewise a connection with God in God, is hence immediately mystical and speculative; thus here there is the call to thought which was first of all responded to by the Fathers, and then by the scholastics.
But since, in the third place, there exists the opposition between the doctrine of the Church and the worldly man — who has indeed through thought worked his way out of this same barbarism, but who in his healthy human understanding has not yet penetrated to reason — the mode in which Philosophy was treated at this time for the setting forth of formal thought, has still no concrete content. We may appeal to the human concrete mind; in it we have a living present as thinking and feeling; a concrete content such as this has its root in the thought of man, and constitutes the material for his independent consciousness. Formal thought directs its course by this; the wanderings of abstract reflection have in such consciousness an aim, which sets a limit upon them, and leads them back to a human concrete. But the reflections of the scholastics on such a content depend unsupported on the determinations of formal thought, on formal conclusions; and all the determinations regarding natural relationships, laws of nature, &c., that may issue, receive as yet no sustenance from experience; they are not yet determined by the healthy human understanding. In this respect the content like wise is unspiritual, and these unspiritual relationships are inverted and carried into the spiritual in so far as advance is made to determinateness of a higher kind. These three points constitute the main characteristics of this philosophy.
More particularly we would shortly deal with the chief representatives of this philosophy. Scholastic philosophy is considered to begin with John Scotus Erigena who flourished about the year 860, and who must not be confused with the Duns Scotus of a later date. We do not quite know whether he belonged to Ireland or to Scotland, for Scotus points to Scotland, and Erigena to Ireland. With him true philosophy first begins, and his philosophy in the main coincides with the idealism of the Neo-Platonists. Here and there stray works of Aristotle were likewise known, even to John Scotus, but the knowledge of Greek was very limited and rare. He shows some knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew tongues, and even of Arabic as well; but we do not know how he attained to this. He also translated from Greek to Latin writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, a later Greek philosopher of the Alexandrian school, who more especially followed Proclus: namely, De coelesti hierarchia, and others which Brucker calls (Hist. crit. phil. T. III. p. 521), nugŠ et deliria Platonica. Michael Balbus, Emperor of Constantinople, had in the year 824 made a present of these works to the Emperor Louis the Pious; Charles the Bald caused them to be translated by Scotus, who long resided at bis court. In this way something of the Alexandrian philosophy became known in the West. The Pope quarrelled with Charles, and complained to him of the translator, against whom he made the reproach that “he should have first sent the book to him in conformity with the general usage, and asked his approval.” John Scotus afterwards lived in England as head of a school at Oxford, which had been founded by King Alfred.
Scotus was also the author of some original works, which are not without depth and penetration, upon nature and its various orders (De naturŠ divisione), &c. Dr. Hjort, of Copenhagen, published an epitome of the writings of Scotus Erigena, in 1823. Scotus Erigena sets to work philosophically, expressing himself in the manner of the Neo-Platonists, and not freely, and as from himself, Thus in the method of expression adopted by Plato, and also by Aristotle, we are rejoiced to find a new conception, and on bringing it to the test of philosophy, to find it both correct and profound; but here everything is ready to hand, cut and dry. Yet, with Scotus, theology is not yet built on exegesis, and on the authority of the Church; the Church in many cases rejected his writings. Thus Scotus is reproached by a Lyons church council in these words: “There have come to us the writings of a boastful, chattering man, who disputes about divine providence and predestination, in human fashion, or, as he himself boasts, with philosophic arguments, and without relying on the holy scriptures and bringing forward the authority of the Fathers. And he dares to defend this on its own merit, and to establish it on its own laws, without submitting himself to the holy scriptures and the authority of the Fathers.” Scotus Erigena hence even said: “The true Philosophy is the true Religion, and the true Religion is the true Philosophy. The separation came later on. Scotus then made a beginning, but properly he does not belong to the scholastics.
All further scholastic philosophy attaches itself more to the doctrines of the Christian Church; the ecclesiastical system which it thereby made its necessary basis, became early established through church councils, while the faith of the Evangelical Church already prevailed before the time of these councils from which the Catholic Church derives its support. The most important and most interesting thoughts which pertain to the scholastics, are, on the one hand, the strife between nominalism and realism; and, on the other, the proof of the existence of God — quite a new manifestation.
The efforts of the scholastics were further directed, firstly, to the building up of the dogmas of the Christian Church on metaphysical bases. After this, the collected doctrines of the Church were systematically treated. Then the scholastics had branches or modifications of these dogmas, which were not determined by the doctrinal system. Those grounds themselves, and then these farther and special points of view, were objects handed over for free discussion. Neo-Platonic philosophy was what lay before the theologians first of all; the manner of this school is recognized in the older and purer scholastics. Anselm and Abelard are the more distinguished of those who follow later.
Amongst those who wished to give additional proof of the doctrines of the Church through thought, is Anselm, a man of great distinction and high repute. He was born at Aosta, in Piedmont, about 1034; in 1060 he became a monk at Bee, and in 1093 was raised to the rank of Archbishop of Canterbury; in 1109 he died. He sought to consider and prove philosophically the doctrines of the Church, and it has even been said of him that he laid the basis for scholastic philosophy.
He speaks as follows of the relation of faith to thought: “Our faith must be defended by reason against the godless, and not against those who glory in the name of Christian; for of these we may rightly demand that they should hold firm to the obligations which they came under in baptism. Those others must be shown through reason how irrationally they strive against us. The Christian must go on through faith to reason, and not come from reason to faith; but if he cannot attain to comprehension, he must still less depart from faith. For if he is able to press on to knowledge, he rejoices therein; when he is unable so to do, he humbly adores.” He makes a noteworthy remark, which contains his whole philosophy, in his work Cur Deus homo (1. 2), which is rich in speculative thought: “It appears to me great negligence if we are firm in the faith, and do not seek also to comprehend what we believe.” Now this is declared to be arrogance; immediate knowledge, faith, is held to be higher than knowledge. But Anselm and the scholastics maintained the opposite view.
Anselm may be regarded from this point of view as quite specially the founder of scholastic theology. For the thought of proving through a simple chain of reasoning what was believed — that God exists — left him no rest day and night, and tortured him for long. At first he believed his desire to prove the divine truths through reason to be a temptation of the devil, and he was in great anxiety and distress on that account; finally, however, success came to him by the grace of God in his Proslogium. This is the so-called ontological proof of the existence of God which he set forth, and which made him specially famous. This proof was included among the various proofs up to the time of Kant, and — by some who have not yet reached the Kantian standpoint — it is so included even to the present clay. It is different from what we find and read of amongst the ancients. For it was said that God is absolute thought as objective; for because things in the world are contingent, they are not the truth in and for itself — but this is found in the infinite. The scholastics also knew well from the Aristotelian philosophy the metaphysical proposition that potentiality is nothing by itself, but is clearly one with actuality. Later, on the other hand, the opposition between thought itself and Being began to appear with Anselm. It is noteworthy that only now for the first time through the Middle Ages and in Christianity, the universal Notion and Being, as it is to ordinary conception, became established, in this pure abstraction as these infinite extremes; and thus the highest law has come to consciousness. But we reach our profoundest depths in bringing the highest opposition into consciousness. Only no advance was made beyond the division as such, although Anselm also tried to find the connection between the sides. But while hitherto God appeared as the absolute existent, and the universal was attributed to Him as predicate, an opposite order begins with Anselm — Being becomes predicate, and the absolute Idea is first of all established as the subject, but the subject of thought. Thus if the existence of God is once abandoned as the first hypothesis, and established as a result of thought, self-consciousness is on the way to turn back Within itself. Then we have the question coming in, Does God exist? while on the other side the question of most importance was, What is God?
The ontological proof, which is the first properly metaphysical proof of the existence of God, consequently came to mean that God as the Idea of existence which unites all reality in itself, also has the reality of existence within Himself; this proof thus follows from the Notion of God, .that He is the universal essence of all essence. The drift of this reasoning is, according to Anselm (Proslogium, c. 2), as follows: “I It is one thing to say that a thing is in the understanding, and quite another to perceive that it exists. Even an ignorant person (insipiens) will thus be quite convinced that in thought there is something beyond which nothing greater can be thought; for when he hears this he understands it, and everything that is understood is in the understanding. But that beyond which nothing greater can be thought cannot certainly be in the understanding alone. For if it is accepted as in thought alone, we may go on farther to accept it as existent; that, however, is something greater “than what is merely thought.” Thus were that beyond which nothing greater can be thought merely in the understanding, that beyond which nothing greater can be thought would be something beyond which something greater can be thought. But that is truly impossible; there thus without doubt exists both in the understanding and in reality something beyond which nothing greater can be thought.” The highest conception cannot be iii the understanding alone; it is essential that it should exist. Thus it is made clear that Being is in a superficial way subsumed under the universal of reality, that to this extent Being does not enter into opposition with the Notion. That is quite right; only the transition is not demonstrated — that the subjective understanding abrogates itself. This, however, is just the question which gives the whole interest to the matter. When reality or completion is expressed in such a way that it is not yet posited as existent, it is something thought, and rather opposed to Being than that this is subsumed under it.
This mode of arguing held good until the time of Kant; and we see in it the endeavour to apprehend the doctrine of the Church through reason. This opposition between Being and thought is the starting point in philosophy, the absolute that contains the two opposites within itself — a conception, according to Spinoza, which involves its existence likewise. Of Anselm it is however to be remarked that the formal logical mode of the understanding, the process of scholastic reasoning is to be found in him , the content indeed is right, but the form faulty. For in the first place the expression “the thought of a Highest” is assumed as the prius. Secondly, there are two sorts of Objects of thought — one that is and another that is not; the object that is only thought and does not exist, is as imperfect as that which only is without being thought. The third point is that what is highest must likewise exist. But what is highest, the standard to which all else must conform, must be no mere hypothesis, as we find it represented in the conception of a highest acme of perfection, as a content which is thought and likewise is. This very content, the unity of Being and thought, is thus indeed the true content; but because Anselm has it before him only in the form of the understanding, the opposites are identical and conformable to unity in a third determination only — the Highest — which, in as far as it is regulative, is outside of them. In this it is involved that we should first of all have subjective thought, and then distinguished from that, Being. We allow that if we think a content (and it is apparently indifferent whether this is God or any other), it may be the case that this content does not exist. The assertion “Something that is thought does not exist” is now subsumed under the above standard and is not conformable to it. We grant that the truth is that which is not merely thought but which likewise is. But of this opposition nothing here is said. Undoubtedly God would be imperfect, if He were merely thought and did not also have the determination of Being. But in relation to God we must not take thought as merely subjective.; thought here signifies the absolute, pure thought, and thus we must ascribe to Him the quality of Being. On the other hand if God were merely Being, if He were not conscious of Himself as self-consciousness, He would not be Spirit, a thought that thinks itself.
Kant, on the other hand, attacked and rejected Anselm’s proof — which rejection the whole world afterwards followed up — on the ground of its being an assumption that the unity of Being and thought is the highest perfection. What Kant thus demonstrates in the present day — that Being is different from thought and that Being is not by any means posited with thought — was a criticism offered even in that time by a monk named Gaunilo. He combated this proof of Anselm’s in a Liber pro insipiente to which Anselm himself directed a reply in his Liber apologeticus adversus insipientem. Thus Kant says (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 464 of the sixth edition): If we think a hundred dollars, this conception does not involve existence. That is certainly true: what is only a conception does not exist, but it is likewise not a true content, for what does not exist, is merely an untrue conception. Of such we do not however here speak, but of pure thought; it is nothing new to say they are different — Anselm knew this just as well as we do. God is the infinite, just as body and soul, Being and thought are eternally united; this is the speculative, true definition of God. To the proof which Kant criticizes in a manner which it is the fashion to follow now-a-days, there is thus lacking only the perception of the unity of thought and of existence in the infinite; and this alone must form the commencement.
Other proofs such, for example, as the cosmological, which argues from the contingency of the world to an absolute existence, have thereby not reached the idea of absolute essence as spirit, and are without consciousness of the fact that it is an object of thought. The old physico-theological proof, which even Socrates possessed, from beauty, order, organic ends, indeed implies an understanding, a richer thought of absolute existence, and not alone an indeterminate Being, but in this proof it likewise remains unknown that God is the Idea. And then what sort of an understanding is God? A different and immediate one; then this spirit is independent. Further, disorder likewise exists, and thus there must be something else conceived of than this apparent order of nature only.
But from asking about the existence of God, from making his objective mode a predicate and thus knowing. that God is Idea, to pass to making the absolute existence I=I, thinking self-consciousness, not as predicate ]ant in such a way that each thinking I is the moment of this self-consciousness — is still a long stride. Here, where we see this form first emerge, absolute existence is clearly to be taken as the Beyond of finite consciousness; this is to itself the null and void, and it has not yet grasped its sense of self. Its thoughts regarding things are manifold, and the mere fact of being a thing is to it likewise just such a predicate as the rest; but it is thereby not yet turned back within itself, it knows of existence, but not of itself.
In this, says Tennemann Vol. VIII. See. I. p. 121), “Anselm has laid the first formal ground of scholastic theology;” but even before this the same was present, only to a more limited extent, and merely for individual dogmas — as is also the case with Anselm. His writings bear witness of great penetration and mental ability; and he gave rise to the philosophy of the scholastics, inasmuch as he united theology to philosophy. The theology of the Middle Ages thus stands much higher than that of modern times; never have Catholics been such barbarians as to ,say that there should not be knowledge of the eternal truth, and that it should not be philosophically comprehended. This is one point which has to be specially noted in Anselm, the other is that he apprehended in its unity that highest opposition between thought and Being spoken of above.
With Anselm Peter Abelard is associated, both being mainly concerned in the introduction of philosophy into theology. Abelard lived about 1100 — from 1079 to 1142 — and is famed for his learning, but still more famed in the world of sentiment and passion for his love to Heloise and his after fate. After the days of Anselm he attained to great repute, and he followed him in his treatment of the doctrines of the Church, more especially seeking to give a philosophic proof of the Trinity. He taught at Paris. Paris about this time was to the theologians what Bologna was to the jurists, the central point of the sciences; it was at that time the seat of philosophizing theology. Abelard often delivered his lectures there before a thousand listeners. Theological science and philosophizing regarding it, was in France (as was jurisprudence in Italy) a matter of great importance, which, as most significant in the development of France, has hitherto been too much neglected. The conception prevailed that philosophy and religion were one and the same; which they absolutely speaking are. But the distinction was soon reached, “that much may be true in philosophy and false in theology...” this the Church denied. Tennemann (Vol. VIII. See. II. pp. 460, 461) quotes as follows from a rescript of the Bishop Stephen They say that this is true according to philosophy, and not according to the Catholic faith, just as if there were two contradictory truths, and as if in the doctrines of the accursed heathen a truth contradictory to the truth of the holy scriptures could be present.” While then undoubtedly, through the separation of the four faculties in the University of Paris which came about in 12 70, philosophy became separated from theology, it was yet forbidden to it to subject theological beliefs and dogmas to disputation.
We now go on to the more definite form which the scholastic theology reached; for in a second development of scholastic philosophy the main endeavour became to make the teaching of the Christian Church methodical, while still keeping its connection with all previous metaphysical arguments. These and their counter-arguments were placed side by side in stating every dogma, so that theology became represented in a scientific system, while before this the ecclesiastical teaching in the general education of the clergy was limited to the propounding of successive dogmas, and the writing down of passages from Augustine and other Fathers bearing on each proposition.
Peter of Novara in Lombardy was the first of those who brought this to pass; he dates from the middle of the twelfth century, and was the originator of this method. He died in the year 1164. Petrus Lombardus set forth a whole system of scholastic theology which remained for several centuries the basis of the doctrine of the Church. He composed to that end his Quatuor libros sententiarum, and hence he likewise received the name Magister sententiarum. For in those times every learned schoolman had some predicate such as Doctor acutus, invincibilis, sententiosus, angelicus, &c. Others also availed themselves of the same title for their works; thus Robert Pulleyn wrote Sententiarum libros octo.
Lombard collected the principal points in church doctrines from councils and Fathers, and then added subtle questions respecting particular items; with these the schools occupied themselves, and they became a subject of disputation. He himself, indeed, answered these questions, but he caused counter-arguments to follow, and his answer often left the whole matter problematical, so that the questions were not properly decided. The arguments are thus enumerated on either side; even the Fathers contradicted themselves, and numerous passages from them were, quoted by both the opposed sides in support of their respective views. In this way theses arose, then quŠstiones, in reply to these argumenta, then again positiones, and finally dubia; according as men chose to take the words in this sense or that, and followed this or that authority. Yet a certain degree of method began to enter in.
Speaking generally, this middle of the twelfth century forms the epoch in which scholasticism became more universal as a learned theology. The book of Lombard was all through the Middle Ages commentated by the doctores theologicŠ dogmatice, who were now held to be the recognized guardians of ecclesiastical doctrine, while the clergy had charge of the soul. Those doctors had great authority, they held synods, criticized and condemned this or that doctrine and book as heretical, &c., in synods or as the Sorbonne, a society of such doctors in the University of Paris. They took the place of assemblages of the Church, and were something like the Fathers in reference to the Christian doctrine. In particular they rejected the writings of the mystics like Amalrich and his disciple David of Dinant, who, resembling Proclus in their point of view, went back to unity. Amalrich, who was attacked as a heretic in 1204, for instance said, “God is all, God and the Creature are not different, in God all things are, God is the one universal substance.” David asserted, “God is the first matter and everything is one in matter, and God is just this unity.” He divided everything into three classes, bodies, souls, eternal immaterial substances or spirits. “The indivisible principle of souls is the nous, and that of spirits is God. These three principles are identical and hence all things in essence are one.” His books were burned.
The other individual who was equally famous with Peter Lombard, was Thomas Aquinas, born in 1224 of the noble race Aquino, in his paternal castle Roccasicca, in the province of Naples. He entered the Order of Dominicans, and died in 1274 on a journey to a church council at Lyons. He possessed a very extensive knowledge of theology, and also of Aristotle; he was likewise called Doctor angelicus and communis, a second Augustine. Thomas Aquinas was a disciple of Albertus Magnus, he wrote commentaries on Aristotle and on Petrus Lombardus; and he also himself composed a summa theologicŠ (that is, a system) which with his other writings obtained for him the greatest honour, and which became one of the principal text-books in scholastic theology. In this book there are found, indeed, logical formalities — not, however, dialectical subtleties, but fundamental metaphysical thoughts regarding the whole range of theology and philosophy.
Thomas Aquinas likewise added questions, answers and doubts, and he gave the point on which the solution depended. The main business of scholastic theology consisted in working out the summa of Thomas. The principal point was to make theology philosophic and more widely systematic; Peter Lombard and Thomas Aquinas are best known in respect of this endeavour, and for long their works formed the basis of all further learned elaborations of doctrine. With Thomas, Aristotelian forms constitute the basis — that of substance (forma substantialis) is, for instance, analogous to the entelechy (energeia) of Aristotle. He said of the doctrine of knowledge, that material things consist of form and matter; the soul has the substantial form of the stone in itself.
In respect of the formal development of philosophic theology a third individual is famous, namely, Duns Scotus, Doctor subtilis, a Franciscan, who was born at Dunston in the county of Northumberland, and who little by little obtained thirty thousand disciples. In the year 1304 he came to Paris, and in 1308 to Cologne, as a doctor in the university newly instituted there. He was received with great rejoicings, but he died there of apoplexy soon after his arrival, and is said to have been buried alive. He is supposed to have been only 31, according to others 43, and according to others again 63 years old, for the year of his birth is not known. He wrote commentaries on the Magister sententiarum, which procured for him the fame of a very keen thinker, following the order of beginning with the proof of the necessity of a supernatural revelation as against the mere light of reason. On account of his power of penetration he has been likewise called the Deus inter philosophos. He was accorded the most excessive praise. It was said of him: “He developed philosophy to such an extent that he himself might have been its discoverer if it had not already been discovered; he knew the mysteries of the faith so well that he can scarcely be said to have believed them; he knew the secrets of providence as though he had penetrated them, and the qualities of angels as though he were himself an angel; he wrote so much in a few years that scarcely one man could read it all, and hardly any were able to understand it.”
According to all testimony it appears that Scotus helped the scholastic. method of disputation to reach its height, finding the material for the same in arguments and counterarguments arranged in syllogisms; his manner was to add to each sententia a long succession of distinctiones, quŠstiones, problemata, solutiones, argumenta, pro et contra. Because he also refuted his arguments in a similar series, everything fell once more asunder; hence he was held to be the originator of the quodlibetan method. The Quodlibeta signified collections of miscellaneous dissertations on individual objects in the every-day manner of disputation, which speaks of everything, but without systematic order and without any consistent whole being worked out and set forth; others, on the other hand, wrote summas. The Latin of Scotus is exceedingly barbarous, but well suited for exact philosophic expression; he invented an endless number of new propositions, terms and syntheses.
We must further remark a third development, which proceeded from the external historical circumstance that in the end of the twelfth and in the thirteenth century the Western theologians became more generally acquainted with the Aristotelian writings and their Greek and Arabian commentators, in Latin translations from the Arabic. These now became much used by them, and were made the subject of further commentaries and discussions. The veneration, admiration and respect which Aristotle received, now reached its height.
The familiar acquaintance with Aristotle and the Arabians became first evident in Alexander of Hales (died 1245), the Doctor irrefragabilis. The earlier stages by which this familiarity came about has been shown above (p. 35). Hitherto the acquaintance with Aristotle was very slight, and through many centuries it was limited, as we saw above (p. 37), more especially to his Logic, which had survived from the earliest times and was transmitted in the works of Boethius, Augustine and Cassiodorus. It was only when we came to Scotus Erigena that we found (p. 59) a knowledge of Greek, although it was quite unusual in his day. In Spain, under the Arabians, the sciences flourished greatly. In particular the university of Cordova in Andalusia was a centre-point of learning; many from the lands of the West journeyed thither, just as even the Pope Sylvester II., so well known in his earlier days as Gerbert, escaped as a monk to Spain for the purpose of studying with the Arabs. The sciences of medicine and alchemy were diligently pursued. Christian doctors there studied medicine under the Jewish-Arabian teachers. It was principally the Aristotelian metaphysics and physics which were then known, and from these abstracts (summŠ) were constructed. The logic and metaphysics of Aristotle were spun out with extreme fineness into endless distinctions, and brought into genuine syllogistic forms of the understanding, which constituted for the most part the principle for the treatment of the subject dealt with. In this way dialectic subtlety was much increased, while the properly speculative side in Aristotle remained for the spirit of externality, and consequently also of irrationality, in the back-ground.
The Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II. then sent for Aristotelian books from Constantinople and had them translated into Latin. At first, indeed, on the first appearance of the Aristotelian writings, the Church made difficulties; the reading of his metaphysics and physics and the abstracts prepared therefrom, as also the exposition of the same, was forbidden by a church synod held at Paris 1209. Likewise in 1215 the cardinal Robert Corceo came to Paris and there held a visitation of the university, on which occasion he ordained that regular lectures on the dialectical writings of Aristotle Should be held while he forbade the reading of and lecturing on the metaphysics and natural philosophy of Aristotle, and the abstracts prepared from them; he also condemned the doctrines of the heretics David of Dinant and Amalrich and likewise the Spaniard Mauritius. Pope Gregory, in a bull issued to the University of Paris in 1231, without mentioning metaphysics, forbade the books of the Physics to be read until they had been examined and purified from all suspicion of error. But later on, in 1366, it was on the other hand ordained by two cardinals that ino one could be made a magister unless he had studied the prescribed books of Aristotle — amongst which were the Metaphysics and some of the Physics — and had proved himself capable of explaining them. It was only much later on, however, when Greek literature in general had again become widely diffused, that men became better acquainted with the Greek text of the Aristotelian writings.
Amongst those who distinguished themselves through their commentaries on Aristotle’s writings, we must specially mention Albertus Magnus, the most celebrated German schoolman, of the noble race of Bollstadt. Magnus either was his family name, or it was given him on account of his fame. He was born in 1193 or 1205 at Lauingen on the Danube in Swabia, and began by studying at Padua, where his study is still shown to travellers. In the year 1221 he became a Dominican friar, and afterwards lived at Cologne as Provincial of his Order in Germany: in 1280 he died. It is said of him that in his youth he showed himself very dull and stupid, until, according to a legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to him in company with three other beautiful women, incited him to the study of Philosophy, liberated him from his dulness of understanding, and promised him that he should enlighten the Church, and, in spite of his science, should still die in the faith. What happened was in accordance with this prophecy, for five years before his death he forgot all his philosophy as quickly as he learned it, and then actually died in the dulness and orthodoxy of his earlier years. Hence there is current regarding him an old saying: “Albert changed. quickly from an ass into a philosopher, and from a philosopher into an ass.” His learning was generally understood to consist largely of magic. For although natural objects have nothing to do with scholasticism proper, which was really perfectly blind to nature, he occupied himself much therewith; and amongst other devices he manufactured a talking machine which alarmed his pupil Thomas of Aquino, who even aimed a blow at it, thinking he saw therein a work of the devil. Likewise the fact that he received and entertained William of Holland in the middle of winter in a garden full of blossom, is counted as magic. While as for us — we find the winter-garden in Faust quite natural.
Albert wrote a great deal, and twenty-one folios remain to. us of his writings. He wrote on Dionysius the Areopagite, commentated the Magister sententiarum, was specially conversant with the Arabians and the Rabbis, as he was also well acquainted with the works of Aristotle, although he himself understood neither Greek nor Arabic. He likewise wrote on the Physics of Aristotle. There is found in him a remarkable instance of deficient knowledge of the history of Philosophy. He derived the name Epicurean (Opera, T.V. pp. 530, 531) from the fact that they idled away their time [auf der faulen Haut lńgen] (epi cutem) or else from cura because they concerned themselves with many useless things (supercurantes). He represents the Stoics as being something like our choir-boys; he says that they were people who made songs (facientes cantilenas), and roamed about in porticoes. For, as he here remarks in a very learned way, the first philosophers clothed their philosophy in verses, and then sang them in halls and porches, and hence they are called standers in the porch (Stoici). Gassendi relates (Vita Epicuri, I. c. 11, p. 51) that Albertus Magnus mentioned as the first Epicureans, Hesiodus, Athalius or Achalius (of whom we know nothing), CŠcina, or, as others call him, Tetinnus, a friend of Cicero, and Isaacus, the Jewish philosopher. How that is arrived at we do not know at all. Of the Stoics Albertus, on the contrary, mentions Speusippus, Plato, Socrates and Pythagoras. These anecdotes give us a picture of the condition of culture in these times.
In the fourth place we must mention an important matter, to which much attention was devoted in the Middle Ages, namely that particular philosophic question which formed the subject of controversy between the Realists and the Nominalists, and the discussion of which was continued through very nearly the whole of the Scholastic period. Speaking generally, this controversy is concerned with the metaphysical opposition between the universal and the individual; it occupies the attention of Scholastic philosophy for several centuries, and reflects great credit upon it. A distinction is drawn between the earlier and later Nominalists and Realists, but otherwise their history is very obscure; and we know more of the theological aspect of the subject than of this.
The beginning of the controversy dates back to the eleventh century, Roscelinus being the earliest Nominalist. The famous Abelard, although he professes to be an opponent of Roscelinus, is himself nothing more or less than a Nominalist. Roscelinus wrote also against the doctrine of the Trinity, and was pronounced guilty of heresy in 1092 at an ecclesiastical council which met at Soissons. His influence was, however, but small.
The matter in question is the universal as such (universale), or the genus, the essence of things, what in Plato was called the Idea — for instance, Being, humanity, the animal. The followers of Plato asserted that these universals exist; their existence was individualized, and thus ‘tableness’ was said to be also a real existence (supra, Vol. II. p. 29). We make representations of a thing to ourselves, and say ‘it is blue;’ this is a universal. The question now is whether such universals are something real in and for themselves, apart from the thinking subject, and independent of the individual existing thing, so that they exist in the individual things independently of the individuality of the thing and of each other; or whether the universal is only nominal, only in the subjective representation, a thing of thought. Those who maintained that the universals had a real existence apart from the thinking subject and distinct from the individual thing, and that the Idea alone constitutes the essence of things, were termed Realists — a use of the term in quite an opposite sense to that which passes current now. I mean that this expression has for us the signification that things as they are in their immediacy have an actual existence; and to this idealism is opposed, that being a name which was given later to the philosophy which ascribes reality to ideas alone, and asserts that things as they appear in their individuality have no truth. The realism of the Scholastics in the same way maintained that the Universal has an independent, absolute existence, for Ideas are not liable to destruction, like natural things, therefore they are immutable and the only true existence. In opposition to this, the others, the Nominalists or Formalists, asserted that if generals or universals are formed, these are only names, matters of form, representations which we make to ourselves, a subjective generalization, a product of the thinking mind; the individual alone is the real.
This is then the matter in question; it is of great interest, and is founded upon a much higher opposition than any the ancients know of. Roscelinus made universal conceptions arise only from the necessities of language. He maintained that ideas or universals, like Being, life, reason, are in themselves nothing but mere abstract notions or generic names, which, as such, have in and for themselves no universal reality of their own: that which has Being and life is found in the individual alone. Against these assertions arguments are brought forward by which one can see that the manner in which the Christian world was taken as basis, often became in the highest degree ridiculous. For instance, Abelard reproaches Roscelinus for having asserted that no thing has parts, that only the words which denote the things are divisible. Abelard proved that according to Roscelinus, Christ did not eat a real part of the broiled fish, but only a part — I do not know which — of the word “broiled fish,” since according to him there were no parts — which interpretation would be preposterous and highly blasphemous. Our way of reasoning from “healthy human understanding,” is not much better.
Walter of Mortagne (d. 1174) aimed at the union of the particular and the universal, saying that the universal must be individual, that universals must be united with individuals in accordance with their essence. In later times the two rival factions were known to fame as Thomists, from the Dominican Thomas Aquinas, and Scotists, from the Franciscan Johannes Dans Scotus. Nevertheless, the original question as to whether universal notions have reality, and, if so, to what extent they have it, underwent a great variety of modifications and gradations, just as the opposing parties received very various names. Nominalism, in its crude form, declared universal notions to be mere names, which have reality only in speech, and it ascribed reality to individuals alone; Realism followed the exactly opposite course of attributing reality only to universals, while it considered that what distinguished individual things was an accident only or a pure difference. Neither of these two theories was correct in the manner of passing from the universal to the particular. There were some, however, among the Schoolmen who grasped the true conception that individuation, the limitation of the universal, and indeed of what is most universal, Being and entity, is a negation. Others said that the limit is itself something positive, but that it is not one with the universal by union with it, for it rather stands in a metaphysical connection with it, that is, in a connection such as that which binds. thought with thought. This implies that the individual is only a clearer expression of what is already contained in the general conception; so that these conceptions, in spite of their being divided into parts and differentiated, still remain simple; Being or entity, moreover, really is a Notion.
Thomas, who was a Realist, declared the universal Idea to be indeterminate, and placed individuation in determinate matter (materia signata), i.e. matter in its dimensions or determinations. According to him, the original principle is the universal Idea; the form, as actus purus, may, as with Aristotle, exist on its own account; the identity of matter and form, the forms of matter, as such, are further removed from the original principle, — while thinking substances are mere forms. But for Scotus the universal is rather the individual One, the one he thinks may appear also in the other; he maintained therefore the principle of individuation, and the formal character of the universal. In his view indeterminate matter becomes individual through an inward positive addition; the substantial forms of things are their real essence. Occam thus represents the views of Scotus: “In the thing that exists outside of the soul the same Nature exists realiter with the difference limiting (contrahente) it to a determinate individual, being only formally distinguished, and in itself neither universal nor individual, but incompletely universal in the thing, and completely universal in the understanding.” Scotus racked his brains much over this subject. To universals the Formalists allowed only an ideal reality in the divine and human intellect beholding them. We thus see how closely connected with this is the thought which we first meet with in the Scholastics, namely the seeking and giving of so-called proofs of God’s existence (supra, pp. 62-67).
The opposition between Idealists and Realists appeared at an early stage, it is true, but it was not until later, after the time of Abelard, that it became the order of the day, and was invested with general interest. This was brought about chiefly by the Franciscan William Occam, of the village of Occam in the county of Surrey in England, who was surnamed Doctor invincibilis, and flourished in the beginning of the fourteenth century: the year of his birth is unknown. He is greatly celebrated for his skill in handling the weapons of logic he is keen in discrimination and fertile in devising arguments and counter-arguments. Occam was a leading champion of Nominalism, which up to this time had found only here and there a defender, like Roscelinus and Abelard; his numerous followers received the name of Occamists and were Franciscans, while the Dominicans retained the name of Thomists. The conflict between Nominalists and Realists raged with a burning vehemence, and was carried to the greatest extremes; a pulpit is still shown which was separated by a wooden partition from the platform of the opponent, in order that the disputants might not come to blows. Henceforth theology was taught under two forms (theologia scholastica secundum utramque partem). Owing to the civil wars in France, politics also began gradually to affect the relationship between the orders, and this lent increased importance to the conflict into which jealousy had plunged the rival factions. In 1322, at a convention of his order, and also on other occasions, Occam and his order defended to the utmost of their power the claims of the different princes, such as the King of France and the Emperor of Germany, Louis of Bavaria, against the pretensions of the Pope.
Among the words of William to the Emperor were these, “Do thou defend me with the sword, and I will defend thee with the pen.” Interdicts of the Paris University and Papal bulls were issued against Occam. The Paris University forbade his doctrines to be taught or his works quoted. A special prohibition was issued in 1340: “No teacher shall venture to assert plainly, or in so many words, that some familiar maxim of the author on whom he is lecturing is false, but shall either assent to it, or distinguish the true and the false significance; otherwise the dangerous result is to be apprehended that the truths of the Bible might be in like manner rejected. No teacher shall assert that a maxim cannot be thus explained or further defined.” Occam was excommunicated in 1328, and died at Munich in 1343.
Occam asks in one of his writings (in libr. I. Sentent. Dist. Il. QuŠst. 4), “Whether what is immediately and proximately denoted by the universal and by the generic name is a real thing outside of the soul, something intrinsic and essential in the things to which it is common and which are called by its name, and yet in reality distinguished from them.” This definition of the Realists is given more in detail by Occam as follows: “As to this question, one opinion is that each generic designation or universal is a thing really existing outside of the soul in each and every individual, and that the Being (essentia) of each individual is really distinguished from each individual” (i.e. from its individuality), and from each universal. Thus man, the universal, is a true thing outside of the soul, which exists in reality in each human being, but is distinguished from each human being, from universal living nature, and from the universal substance, and in this way from all species and genera, those that are subordinate as well as those that are not subordinate.” The universal, the common designation of all the individuals, is therefore, according to this, not identical with the Self, the ultimate point of subjectivity. “As many universal predicables as there are of any individual thing” — e.g. humanity, reason, Being, life, quality, &c. — (“so many really different things there are in nature, each of which is really distinct from the other and from that individual, and all these things are in no wise multiplied in themselves, however much the separate predicables are multiplied, which are in every individual of the same kind.” That is the most uncompromising way of stating the independence and isolation of every universal quality in a thing. Occam refutes this, saying: “Nothing which is one in number can, without being changed or multiplied, be present in several subjects or individuals. Science invariably restricts itself to propositions regarding the known; it is, therefore, a matter of no moment whether the terms of the propositions are known things outside of the soul, or only in the soul and therefore it is not necessary for the sake of science to assume universal things, really distinct from individual things.”
Occam proceeds to state other opinions opposed to that first given; he does not exactly give his own decision, yet in this same passage (QuŠst. 8) he, in the main, argues in favour of the opinion “that the universal is not something real that has explicit subjectivity (esse subjectivum) neither in the soul nor in the thing. It is something conceived, which, however, has objective reality (esse objectivum) in the soul, while the external thing has this objective reality as an explicitly existent subject (in esse subjectivo). This comes to pass in the following manner. The understanding, which perceives a thing outside the soul, forms the mental image of a similar thing, so that, if it had productive power, it would, like an artist, exhibit it in an absolutely existing subject, as numerically an individual distinct from any preceding. Should anyone be displeased by this manner of speaking of the mental image as being formed, it may be said that the ,mental image and every universal conception is a quality existing subjectively in the mind, which by its nature is the sign of a thing outside of the soul, just as the spoken word is a sign of the thing, arbitrarily instituted for marking out that thing.” Tennemann says (Vol. VIII. Section II. p. 864): “One result of this theory was that the principle of individuation, which had occupied to such an extent the attention of the Scholastics, was cast aside as utterly unnecessary.” Thus the main question with the Scholastics concerns the definition of the universal, and this was in itself highly important and significant for the culture of more modern times. The universal is the One, but not abstract; it is conceived or thought of as comprehending all things in itself. With Aristotle the universal was, in a judgment, the predicate of the subject in question; in a syllogism it was the terminus major. With Plotinus, and especially with Proclus, the One is still incommunicable, and is known only by its subordinate forms. But because the Christian religion is a revelation, God is no longer therein the unapproachable, incommunicable, a hidden mystery: for the various stages of the progression from Him are verily His manifestation, and the Trinity is thus the revealed. In this way the triads and the One are not distinguished, but these three Persons in the Godhead are themselves God and One, i.e. One as it is for another, as in itself relative. The Father, the God of Israel, is this One; the moment of the Son and of the Spirit is the Most High in spiritual and bodily presence, the former in the Church, the latter in Nature. With the Neo-Platonists the universal is, on the contrary, only the first condition of things which then merely opens out and develops; with Plato and Aristotle it is rather the Whole, the All, the All in One.
Buridan, a Nominalist, inclines to the view of the Determinists that the will is determined by circumstances. Against him is cited the case of the ass which, being placed between two equal bundles of hay, perforce perished from hunger.
Louis XI., in 1473, confiscated the books of the Nominalists and interdicted the teaching of their doctrines, but in the year 1481 this interdict was removed. In the theological and philosophical faculty Aristotle is said to have been interpreted and studied, as were also his commentators, AverroŰs, Albertus Magnus, and Thomas Aquinas.
The study of dialectics was carried to a very great height, but it was quite formal in character; this constitutes the fifth point for consideration. With this is closely connected the interminable finding out of termini technici. This formal dialectic was very ingenious in devising objects, problems and questions, destitute of all religious and philosophic interest, on which to practise its method of procedure. The last remark that we have, however, in this connection to make regarding the Scholastics is this, that it was not only into the ecclesiastical system that they introduced all possible formal relations of the understanding, but that also objects intelligible in themselves — the intellectual conceptions and religious ideas — they represented as immediately and sensuously real, as brought down into the externality of altogether sensuous relations, and in these relations subjected to systematic investigation. Originally, it is true, the basis was spiritual, but the externality in which it was at once comprehended, made of the spiritual something perfectly unspiritual. It may therefore be said that, on the one hand, the Scholastics showed great profundity in their treatment of Church dogma; and, on the other hand, that they secularized it by placing it in quite inappropriate external relations;. thus here we have the worst kind of secularity. For the dogma of the Church explicitly contains, in the historical form of the Christian religion, a number of ordinary conceptions determined in an external way, which are connected with the spiritual, it is true, but trench upon sensuous relationships. If a network of such relationships is then contrived, there arises a host of oppositions, contrasts, contradictions, which have not the very slightest interest for us. It is this aspect of the matter that the Scholastics have taken up and handled with finite dialectic; and it is on this account that the Scholastics in later times were so much ridiculed. Of this I have some examples to give.
Julian, Archbishop of Toledo, sought, with as great earnestness as if the salvation of the human race depended on it, to answer questions which contain an absurd assumption. In doing so he no less gives himself up to petty triflings than do the philologists when they institute investigations regarding Greek accents, metres, and verse-divisions. For instance, there arises a question of this kind as to the dead. It is a dogma of the Church, that man will rise again; now if to this it be added that he will be clothed with the body, we thereby enter the sensuous sphere. The following were inquiries which arose in connection with this question: “What will be the age of the dead when they rise? Will they rise as children, youths, grown men, or aged? In what form will they rise? What will be the constitution of their bodies? Will the fat be again fat, and the lean again lean? Will the distinction of sex continue in that future life? Will those who rise again recover all that they lost here in the way of nails and hair?” Thus a special distinction was drawn between the actual dogma, which was indisputable, and the various aspects of the supersensuous world which are connected with that dogma. These were regarded, though often only for the time being, as detached from the doctrinal system of the Church. For the system was not so definitely formulated but that anything in it might have to be proved from the Fathers, until a council or a special synod decided the point. Disputes were also possible regarding the proofs which were given of the content of this system; and besides there was quite a large amount of matter which was open to discussion, and respecting which the Scholastics — with the exception, of course, of the noble men, renowned as Doctores and writers, expressed themselves in finite syllogisms and forms, which degenerated into an utterly empty and formal craze for disputation. The Scholastic Philosophy is thus the direct opposite of the empirical science of the understanding, with which curiosity is largely mingled, and which, careless of the Notion, follows after facts alone.
About 840 another subject of discussion was raised, namely, the birth of Christ, whether it was natural or supernatural. This led to a protracted controversy. Paschasius Radbertus wrote two volumes, De partu beatŠ virginis; and many others wrote and argued on the same topic. They went so far as even to speak of an accoucheur, and to discuss this subject; and many questions were raised, to which our sense of what is fitting forbids us even to turn our thoughts.
God’s wisdom, omnipotence, foresight, and predetermination led in the same way to a host of contradictions in abstract, meaningless, local and trivial particulars, which concern not God. In the works of Petrus Lombardus, where the Trinity, the Creation, and the Fall are dealt with, as also angels and their orders and ranks, questions are found such as whether God’s providence and predetermination would have been possible, had nothing been created; and where God was before the Creation. Thomas of Strasburg answered: Tunc ubi nunc, in se, quoniam sibi sufficit ipse.
Lombardus goes on to ask “If God can know more than He knows?” as if potentiality and actuality still remained distinguished; “If God retains at all times all power that He has once possessed? Where the angels were after their creation? If the angels have always existed? “A multitude of other questions of this kind are raised regarding the angels. Then he asks: “At what age was Adam created? Why was Eve made from the rib, and not from some other part of the man? Why during sleep, and not when the man was awake? Why did the first human pair not have intercourse in Paradise? How the human race would have been propagated, if man had not sinned? If in Paradise children would have been born with limbs fully grown, and the complete use of their senses? Why it was the Son, and not the Father or the Holy Ghost, who became man?” To do this rests in the very Notion of the Son. “If God could not have also become incarnate in female form?”
Additional examples of quŠstiones of this kind are given by those who ridiculed such dialectic, for instance by Erasmus in his Encomium moriŠ: “Could there be several sonships (filiationes) in Christ? Is the proposition possible that God the Father hates the Son? Might God not have also taken the form of a woman, or have passed into the devil? Might He not also have appeared in the form of an ass or of a pumpkin? In what manner would the pumpkin have preached and wrought miracles, and how would it have been crucified?” Thus were intellectual determinations combined and distinguished in a manner altogether without sense or thought. The main point is that the Scholastics were like barbarians in their way of handling divine things and bringing them into sensuous determinations and relations. They thus introduced a completely sensuous rigidity and these altogether external and senseless forms into the purely spiritual, thus bringing it to a lower and unspiritual level; Hans Sachs similarly made a NŘrnberg version of Sacred history [die g÷ttliche Geschichte vernŘrnbergert]. In such representations as are given in the Bible of the wrath of God, or of the history of God’s work of creation, it is said that God did this or that, naming some human and homely action. God is certainly not to be looked on as something alien and unapproachable; on the contrary, we are to come to Him with courage and with all our heart. But to bring Him into the province of thought, and strive in earnest after a knowledge of Him, is a very different matter. The reverse of this is to bring forward arguments pro and contra, for they decide nothing, and are of no use; they are no more than the assumptions which are only sensuous and finite determinations, and therefore infinite differences and distinctions. This barbarous use of the understanding is utterly irrational; it is like putting a golden necklace on a sow. The One is the Idea of the Christian religion, and it is also the philosophy of the great and noble Aristotle; neither of the two could have been more bedraggled and besmirched to so low a pass had the Christians brought their spiritual Idea.
In the above sketch we have mentioned the principal heads which come under our consideration in studying Scholastic philosophy. With regard to this intrusion of distinctions of the understanding and sensuous relations into that which in and for itself and by virtue of its very nature is spiritual, absolute and infinite, it is to be remarked that to this craze for reducing everything to the finite, some noble spirits here and there opposed themselves. As such we must here, in the sixth place, make honourable mention of the many great Scholastics who have been named Mystics, for although they are to be distinguished from the real ecclesiastical Scholastics, they followed upon identical lines, and are closely connected with them. They took but little interest in these discussions and arguments, and maintained their purity in regard to Church doctrines and philosophic speculation. Some of them were pions and spiritual men, who carried on their philosophic studies upon the lines of the Neo-Platonic philosophy, as Scotus Erigena had done in earlier times. Among them genuine philosophy is to be found — termed also Mysticism; it tends to inwardness and bears a great resemblance to Spinozism. They also derived morality and the religious sentiment from actual feelings, and the meditations and maxims we have from them embody these views.
John Charlier, more generally known as Von Jerson or Gerson, was born in 1363; he wrote a theologia mystica.
Very similar were the views expressed by Raymundus of Sabunde or Sabeyde, a Spaniard of the fifteenth century, and professor at Toulouse about the year 1437. In his theologia naturalis, which he handled in a speculative spirit, he dealt with the Nature of things, and with the revelation of God in Nature and in the history of the God-man. He sought to prove to unbelievers the Being, the trinity, the incarnation, the life, and the revelation of God in Nature, and in the history of the God-man, basing his arguments on Reason. From the contemplation of Nature he rises to God; and in the same way he reaches morality from observation of man’s inner nature. This purer and simpler style must be set off against the other, if we are to do justice to the Scholastic theologians in their turn.
Roger Bacon treated more especially of physics, but remained without influence. He invented gunpowder, mirrors, telescopes, and died in 1294.
Raymundus Lullus, the Doctor illuminatus, made himself famous chiefly by the art of thinking which he invented, which was called the ars magna. He was born at Majorca in 1234, and was one of those eccentric, unsettled natures whose activity finds vent in all directions. He had a strong inclination towards alchemy and great enthusiasm for the sciences in general, as well as a fiery, restless power of imagination. In his youth he led a reckless life, throwing himself headlong into a round of pleasures; then he retreated to a desert, and had there many visions of Jesus. At this time the impulse shaped itself in his ardent nature to dedicate his life to spreading the blessings of Christianity among the Mohammedans in Asia and Africa. In order to carry on this work of conversion he learned Arabic, travelled through Europe and Asia, sought for assistance from the Pope and all the crowned heads of Europe, without giving up, for all that, his interest in his ‘Art.’ He suffered persecution and passed through many hardships and strange adventures, perils of death, imprisonments. cruelties. He lived long in Paris at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and was the author of well-nigh four hundred works. After a life of the utmost restlessness, he died in 1315, revered as a saint and martyr, his death being the result of cruel treatment which he had suffered in Africa.
The chief object aimed at in this man’s ‘Art ‘ was an enumeration and arrangement of the various concepts under which all objects fall, or of the pure categories according to which they can be determined, so that it may be possible in regard to every object to indicate with ease the conceptions applicable to it. Lullus is so systematic that he becomes at times mechanical. He constructed a diagram in circles, on which were marked triangles through which the circles pass. In these circles he arranged the various concepts, and strove to give a complete catalogue of them. Some of the circles were fixed, others movable, and they were six in number, two of them indicating the subjects, three the predicates, while the outermost circle represented possible questions. For each class he had nine qualities, to indicate which he chose nine letters, B C D E F G H I K. Thus in the first place he wrote round the diagram nine absolute predicates, goodness, greatness, duration, power, wisdom, volition, virtue, truth, splendour; then he wrote nine relative predicates, diversity, unanimity, opposition, beginning, middle, end, the qualities of being greater, equal, or less; in the third place he set down the questions Whether? What? Whence? Why? How great? Of what nature? When? Where? How and wherewith? the ninth of which contains two determinations; in the fourth place he put nine substances (esse), viz. God (divinum), angel (angelicum), heaven (coeleste), man (humanum), imaginativum, sensitivum, vegetativum, elementativum, instrumenlativum; in the fifth place were nine accidents, i.e. natural relations, viz. quantity, quality, relation, activity, passivity, possession, position, time, place; and sixthly nine moral relations, the virtues, viz. justice, prudence, courage, temperance, faith, hope, love, patience, piety; and the vices, viz. envy, wrath, inconstancy, covetousness, falsehood, gluttony, riotousness, pride, sluggishness (acedia). These circles had to be placed in a certain way, in order to give proper combinations. By turning them round according to certain rules, by which all substances received the absolute and relative predicates which fitted them, it was supposed that there would be obtained in every possible combination universal science, truth, and the knowledge of concrete objects in general.
After thus dealing with the subject in detail, we must pronounce judgment on the Scholastics, and give an estimate of them. Though the subjects which they investigated were lofty, and though there were noble, earnest and learned individuals in their ranks, yet this Scholasticism on the whole is a barbarous philosophy of the finite understanding, without real content, which awakens no true interest in us, and to which we cannot return. For although religion is its subject matter, thought here reached such an excessive point of subtlety that, as a form of the mere empty understanding, it does nothing but wander amongst baseless combinations of categories. Scholastic philosophy is this utter confusion of the barren understanding in the rugged North German nature. We see here two different worlds, a kingdom of life and a kingdom of death. The intellectual kingdom, which is outside and above, while in the popular conception, is thereby brought within the sphere of the mere understanding and the senses, even though by nature it is purely speculative; and this does not take place as in art, but, on the contrary, after the fashion of ordinary reality. As the relationship of Father and Son, to begin with, appealed to the senses, so the divine world was furnished for the imaginative faculty and for purposes of devotion (in a way unknown to the disciples of Plato) with angels, saints and martyrs, instead of with thoughts; — or the thoughts are nothing but a rubbishy metaphysic of the understanding. In the supersensuous world there was no reality of the thinking, universal, rational self-consciousness to be met with: in the immediate world of sensuous nature, on the other hand, there was no divinity, because nature was but the grave of God, in the same way that God was outside of nature. The existence of the Church, as the government of Christ upon earth, is higher, it is true, than the external existence which stands in contrast to it; for religion must rule our temporal affairs, and through the subjection of worldly power the Church became a theocracy. But the divine kingdom, the dwelling-place of the dead, was to be reached only through the gate of death; yet the natural world was dead to an equal degree — all that lived in it was the vision of that other world, and hope — it had no present. It was of no avail to introduce mediators as a connecting link, the Virgin Mary, or the dead in a world beyond. The reconciliation was formal, not absolute; for it was nothing but the longing of man for a satisfaction to be found only in another world. What purpose does all this serve? It lies behind us as a thing of the past, and must continue useless to us on its own merits. There is no good, however, in calling the Middle Ages a barbarous period. It is a singular kind of barbarism, and is not simple and rude; for the absolute Idea and the highest culture have sunk into barbarism, and that through the agency of thought. Thus we have here, on the one hand, the most hideous form of barbarism and perversion, but, on the other hand, the never-failing source of a higher reconciliation.
If we seek an immediate contrast to scholastic philosophy and theology and their methods, we may say that it is to be found in the “healthy human understanding,” in outward and inward experience, in the contemplation of nature, and in humanity. The character of Greek humanity, for instance, was that everything concrete, everything that possessed interest for mind, had its place in the human breast, and its root in the feelings and thoughts of man. Intelligent consciousness, cultured science, has in such content its real material — that in which it is and remains at home with itself; knowledge busies itself on all sides with that which concerns it, and remains true to itself, while both on its serious and its playful side it finds in this material, in Nature and its uniform laws, a standard and a guide by which to direct its course aright. Even should we go astray on ground like this, our errors keep in view the fixed centre-point of the self-consciousness of the human wind, and as errors even they have a root therein, which as such forms the justification for them. It is only a one-sided withdrawal from the unity of this root with the altogether concrete groundwork and original, that is really faulty. What we see here, in contrast with the above, is the infinite truth, expressed as spirit, committed to a nation of barbarians who have not the self-consciousness of their spiritual humanity — they have a human breast, it is true, but not yet a human spirit. The absolute truth does not yet make itself real and present in actual consciousness, but men are torn out of themselves. They still find this content of spirit within themselves, introduced as into a strange vessel full of the most intense impulses and desires of physical and intellectual life, but it is like a ponderous stone, whose enormous pressure they only feel, but which they neither digest nor assimilate with their own impulses or desires. Thus they can only find rest and reconciliation when they come absolutely out of themselves, and they have become fierce and savage in the very circumstances and by the very means which ought to have rendered their spirit peaceable and mild.
Just as truth was not yet the foundation of reality, so science was likewise destitute of firm basis. The understanding, when it comes to think, applies itself, it is true, in the first place to the mysteries of religion, which, as an altogether speculative content, exist for the rational Notion only. But as Spirit, the rational element in question, has ,not yet taken its place in thought, thought is still Godforsaken, it is still only abstract, finite understanding, a manner of thinking which is in itself quite formal and ,devoid of content, which is a stranger to subjects of such ,profundity as this, even when it is ostensibly occupying .itself with the same. This understanding therefore draws its content entirely from things to which it remains altogether alien, and which remain altogether alien to it; yet it is not thereby at all circumscribed, for it observes no bounds in its determinations and distinctions. It is just as if one were to arbitrarily form and connect propositions, words and tones — without making the presupposition that they should by themselves express a concrete sense — which need be only capable of being uttered, without having any restriction except possibility, that is, that they must not contradict each other.
In the second place, in so far as the understanding keeps to the given religious content, it can prove this content; one can demonstrate that it must be so, just as if it were a geometrical proposition. But there still remains something to be desired, in order that the satisfaction may be complete; the content is proved, but I nevertheless do not understand it. Thus Anselm’s excellent proposition (supra, pp. 63, 64) in which we may perceive the general character of the scholastic understanding, is a proof, it maybe admitted, of the existence of God, but it shows no comprehension of it. Though I see the truth of the proposition, I have not attained to the final point, the object of my desire; for there is lacking the I, the inner bond, as inwardness of thought. This lies only in the Notion, in the unity of the particular and the universal, of Being and thought. For the comprehension of this unity, without which there could be no true proof, it was implied that further progress should not take place after the manner of the understanding. It was necessary that from the nature of thought itself it should become evident how., taken on its own account, it negates itself, and how the determination of Being itself rests therein, or that the manner in which thought determines itself into Being should be shown forth. On the other hand it must in like manner be demonstrated in, the case of Being that it is its peculiar dialectic to abrogate itself, and from itself to make itself a universal Notion. The determination of itself into Being is certainly an object of thought, whose content is thought itself. This is inwardness, not a mere conclusion drawn from pre-suppositions. Here in scholastic philosophy, however, the object is not the nature of thought and Being, for what they are is a mere matter of assumption.
The understanding may take its start from experience, a given concrete content, a determinate contemplation of nature, the human heart, right, duty, which are just exactly what inwardness means. It way find its determinations, so to speak, on behalf of this content, and starting from this point it may come to abstractions, such as matter and force in physics. In this case, although a general form such as this does not satisfy the content, it has at any rate therein a fixed point, by which it eau regulate itself, and a boundary line for speculation, which would otherwise have no limit set to its roaming. Or when we have the concrete perception of state and family, reasoning has in this content a fixed point which gives it guidance — a conception, which is the main thing; the deficiency in its form becomes concealed and forgotten, and emphasis is not laid on it. But in scholastic philosophy, in the third place, a basis was not sought in such objects as direct the course of reflection; with this understanding of the Scholastics it was rather the case that they received in the categories the external culture of the understanding as tradition, and enlarged upon it. Because there was no standard set up for this scholastic understanding, either by concrete intuition or by the pure Notion,, it remained unregulated in its externality. In later times this spirit-forsaken understanding came across the philosophy of Aristotle, in an external way; but that philosophy is a two-edged sword, a highly determinate, clear understanding, which is at the same time speculative Notion; in it the abstract determinations of the understanding, taken by themselves, and powerless thus to stand, pass away by means of dialectic, and have truth only when taken in their connexion. The speculation that we find in Aristotle has this condition, that such thought never abandons itself to free reflection, but keeps ever before it the concrete nature of the object; this nature is the Notion of the thing, and this speculative essence of the thing is the ruling spirit, which does not leave the determinations of reflection free on their own account. But the Scholastics laid down hard and fast the abstract determinations of the understanding, which are always inadequate to their absolute subject, and in like manner they took every example from life as subject, and since the concrete contradicts them, they could hold fast by these determinations of the understanding only by defining and limiting. In so doing, however, they involved themselves in an endless web of distinctions, which could themselves be held in the concrete, and maintained thereby alone. There is thus no “healthy human understanding” in such procedure of the Scholastics; the former cannot oppose itself to speculation, but it can very well take up a position hostile to ungrounded reflection, seeing that it contains a basis and a rule of guidance for abstract determinations of the understanding. The Aristotelian philosophy is quite opposed to this Scholastic procedure, but it became therein alienated from itself. The fixed conception of the supersensuous world with its angels and so on was a subject which the Scholastics elaborated without any regulating standard, in barbaric fashion, and they enriched and embellished it with the finite understanding and with the finite relationships of the same. There is present no immanent principle in the thinking itself, but the understanding of the Scholastics got into its possession a ready-made metaphysic, without the need of making it relate to the concrete; this metaphysic was killed, and its parts in their lifelessness were separated and parcelled out. It might be said of the Scholastics that they philosophized without conception, that is, without a concrete; for esse reale, esse formale, esse objectivum, quidditas (to ti hn einai) they made their subjects of discussion.
This crude understanding, in the fourth place, made everything equal, reduced it all to the same level, and that in virtue of its abstract universality, which was held to be valid. In politics also the understanding aims at making all alike equal. This crude understanding did not make away with itself and its finitude, but in its dealings with them simply reduced to finite relations Heaven, the Idea, the intellectual, mystic, speculative world; for it makes no difference (and can make none) whether its finite determinations are valid here or not. Hence arose these senseless questions, and the endeavours to decide them; for it is senseless, I may even say it is distasteful and revolting, although it may be logically correct, to carry over determinations into a field where they are utterly out of place, as soon as it comes to be a matter of comprehending a concrete content in its universality. This understanding in its operations furnishes no bridge from the universal to the particular, and the conclusions which ,it draws it leaves up in the clouds as conceptions of its fancy. If, for instance, law is divided into canonical law, criminal law, and so on, the ground of division is not taken from the universal itself; and it is thus left vague which particular determination is in accordance with the universal object. If this object is God, — for instance, such a determination as that He became man — the relation between God and man is not derived from their nature. Because God only manifests Himself, He can do so in any way whatever; then, because nothing is impossible with God the pumpkin idea is easily introduced (p. 90), since it is a matter of indifference in which determination the Universal is supposed to be. Regarding the apple in Paradise the understanding asks to what species of apple it belonged.
We must go on to indicate the principles which have been adopted and stand opposed to one other, and the development of the same, in order to comprehend the transition into modern history and the present standpoint of philosophy. For this reason we must speak of the further progress of universal spirit. For thought was distorted by reason of its being bound to an externality, and spirit was in it no longer acting for spirit. Because then in this and similar ways the Idea of spirit had, as it were, its heart pierced through, the parts remained without spirit and life, and were worked upon by the understanding. Amongst the learned ignorance of the rational was displayed, a complete and unnatural lack of spirituality; and in the same way there was the most utter and terrible ignorance amongst the others, the monks. This destruction of knowledge brought about the transition to a different state of affairs; while heaven and the divine were thus degraded, the lofty aspirations and high spiritual claims of the clerical element rose above the secular. For we saw that the supersensuous world of truth, as the world of religious conceptions, was ruined by the understanding making all things equal. We saw, on the one hand, a handling of dogma in philosophic fashion, but we saw also a development of formal logical thought, the secularization of the absolutely existent content. In the same way the existing Church, this presence of heaven upon earth, brought itself down to the level of the secular, by entering upon the possession of riches and lands. In this way the distinction between the world and the Church is blotted out, not in a rational manner as regards the Church, but in a way that is altogether revolting, and which amounts to destruction: it is a reality, I grant, but one most terrible and barbarous. For state, government, right, property, civil order, all these enter into religion as rational differences, that is, laws on their own account fixed. The acknowledgment of ranks, classes, divisions, their different occupations, the stages and degrees of evil, as well as of good, are an entering into the form of finitude, actuality, existence of the subjective will, while what is religious has only the form of infinity. But the Church in its outward existence is inviolable, it can throw over all the laws of the good; every offence against it is a violation of sanctity. Evil and its penalties are made eternal, divergences of opinion are punished even with death: so are heresy and also heterodoxy in respect of the most abstract and empty determinations of an endless system of dogmas. Abominable practices and evil passions, utter wantonness, voluptuousness, bribery, dissoluteness, avarice, crimes of all kinds found their way into the Church, because it was unrestrained by laws; and it founded and maintained the system of government. The secular ought to be only secular; but this whole secular government of the Church claims at the same time the dignity and authority of the divine. This mingling of the sacred. divine, inviolable, with temporal interests, begets, on the one hand, fanaticism, as among the Turks, and on the other hand, the humility and obedientia passiva of the laity against this dread power. It was this ruin of the supersensuous world, as represented in knowledge and as the actual Church, that inevitably forced man out of a temple such as this, the Holy of Holies degraded into finitude.
Against this disunion, on the other hand, the secular element has spiritualized itself in itself; or it has established itself firmly in itself, and that in a manner which the Spirit justifies. To religion was lacking the presence of its culminating point, the present reality of its head; to the present secularity there is lacking the presence in it of thought, reason, spirit. In the tenth century there was manifested in Christendom a general impulse to build churches, although it was not possible to regard God Him. self as present therein. It was thus that Christianity rose up, in her longing to take to herself the principle of reality as absolutely her own,. But neither these buildings, nor external wealth, nor the power and dominion of the Church, nor monks, nor clergy, nor Pope, are the principle of real actual presence in her; they were insufficient for the spiritual. The Pope or the Emperor is not Dalai-lama, the Pope is only the Vicar of Christ; Christ, as a past existence, is in memory and hope alone. Impatient at the lack of reality and at the want of holiness, Christendom goes to seek this true Head; and this is the ruling motive of the Crusades. Christendom sought Christ’s outward presence in the land of Canaan, the traces of Him, the mount where He suffered, His grave; they took possession of the Holy Sepulchre. What they represent to themselves as real they also take possession of in fact as real; but a grave is a grave — all that they find is a grave, and even that is torn from them. “Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” Christians made the mistake of thinking that they would find satisfaction in this; this was the true object of their search; but they did not understand themselves. These holy spots, the Mount of Olives, the Jordan, Nazareth, as external sensuous presence of Place without presence of time, are things of the past, a mere memory, no perception of the immediate present; the Christians found only their loss, their grave, in this present. Barbarians all the time, they did not seek the universal, the world-controlling position of Syria and Egypt, this central point of the earth, the free connection of commerce; Bonaparte did this when mankind became rational. The Crusaders were by the Saracens and by their own violence and repulsiveness, as also by their own misery (p. 53), brought to confess that they had in this deceived themselves. This experience taught them that they must hold to the actual reality which they despised, and seek in this the realization of their intelligible world. What they sought for they were to find in them. selves, in the present of the understanding; thought, personal knowledge and will constitute this present. Because their acts, their aims and their interests are upright, and thus are constituted the Universal, the present is rational. What pertains to the world has thus become fixed in itself, that is, it has received into itself thought, justice, reason.
With reference to the general aspect of the period, from an historical point of view, it way be remarked that as on the one side we see the selflessness of spirit, the fact that spirit is not at home with itself, the torn and rent condition of man, on the other side we see the political condition becoming more consolidated, in the establishment of an independence which is no longer merely selfish. In the first independence there is contained the moment of barbarism, which has need of fear in order to be held within bounds. Now, however, we see justice and order enter in; it is true that the ruling order is the feudal system with its servitude, but everything therein has certainly a firm basis in justice. Justice, however, has its root in freedom, and thus the individual therein brings himself into existence, and is recognized; nevertheless relationships which properly belong to the state are here still made the concern of private individuals. Feudal monarchy, which now emerges in opposition to the self-abnegation of the Church, determines essential rights, it is true, according to birth; ranks are not, however, like the system of caste among the Indians, for in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, for instance, anyone might from the lowest class rise to the very highest position. Even under the feudal system, moreover, justice, civil order, legal freedom gradually emerged. In Italy and Germany cities obtained their rights as citizen republics, and caused these to be recognized by the temporal and ecclesiastical power; wealth displayed itself in the Netherlands, Florence and the free cities on the Rhine. In this way men gradually began to emerge from the feudal system; an example of this is seen in the case of the Capitani. The fact that the lingua volgare became the language used may also be looked on as a springing up of self-abnegation of spirit — as in Dante’s Divina Commedia.
The spirit of the times took this new direction; it forsook the intellectual world, and looked upon its present world, this hither side. The finite heaven, the content which had lost its religious character, drove it to the finite present. With this revolution the scholastic philosophy sinks and is lost, as its thoughts are outside of reality. While the Church heretofore believed itself to be in possession of divine truth, so now the temporal government, as it received into itself order and right, and worked its way out through the hard discipline of service, felt itself to be a divine institution, and consequently considered that it had the divine element here present in it, and that it was justified in having an independent existence in opposition to the divine element in the Church, which takes up an exclusive position as regards the laity. Since in this way the temporal power, the worldly life, self-consciousness, has taken into itself the higher and more divine ecclesiastical principle, the harsh contrast has disappeared. The power of the Church appeared as the violence of the Church, not aiming at operating in accordance with reality and in reality, but at being mighty in the spirit. There at once came into the secular element the consciousness that abstract Notions were filled with the reality of the present, so that this was no longer a nullity, but had truth also in itself.
With this commerce and the arts are associated. It is implied in the arts that man brings what is divine out of himself; as artists were at one time so pious that as individuals they had self-abnegation as their principle, it was they from whose subjective abilities these representations were produced. With this is connected the circumstance that the secular knew that it had in itself the right to hold to such determinations as are founded on subjective freedom. In his handicraft the individual is taken in reference to his work, and is himself the producer. Thus men came to the point of knowing that they were free, and insisting on the recognition of that freedom, and having the power of exercising their activity for their own objects and interests. Thus spirit came again to itself; it drew itself together again, and looked into its reason, as if looking into its own hands. This new birth is pointed out as the revival of the arts and sciences which were concerned with present matter, the epoch when the spirit gains confidence in itself and in its existence, and finds its interest in its present. It is in reality reconciled with the world, not implicitly, far away in mere thought, at the last day, at the world’s transfiguration, i.e. when the world is reality no more, but it has to do with the world as not by any means annihilated. The man who was moved to seek what was moral and right, could no longer find it on such soil, but looked round about him to seek it elsewhere. The place which was pointed out to him is himself, his inner life, and external Nature; in the contemplation of Nature the spirit begins to have a sense of being present therein.
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