Essay on Abelard and Aquinas

Essay on Abelard and Aquinas

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Peter Abelard was a renowned dialectician from 1079 to 1142. He subjected theological doctrines to logical analysis. In other words, he used rational argument to discover truth. Saint Thomas Aquinas, was a believer in the power of reason, giving St. Augustine's theory an alternate approach. He taught in Paris and Italy during the years 1225 to 1274. Both of these new age thinkers changed the way Catholic followers viewed the "natural world."

Peter Abelard was one of the new thinkers that applied scholasticism to his theological aspects. According to the excerpt "Scholastic thinkers assumed that some teachings of Christianity, which thy accepted as true by faith, could also be demonstrated to be true by reason" (238). Peter Abelard's famous literary work was Sic et Non (Yes or No). He collected a list of about 150 philosophical and theological questions. He then produced quotations from the Fathers [Church] on one side, and on the other side their contradictory statements. From this work he used rational argument to discover truth. He believed that through reason, man could gain a greater knowledge of God. His greatest achievement was dialect, he created a new method of logical analysis. "Although he never intended to challenge the Christian Faith, Abelard raised, with critical scrutiny, fears that the dialectical approach would undermine faith and foster heresy"(238). His goal was to simplify theological works to logical analysis. A Cistercian monk, later known as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, opposed Abelard's logical views. Because of St. Bernard, Abelard was forced to quit his teachings, shortly after he died in 1142. Ideally, Abelard wanted prospective thinkers to search for the underlying truth about Catholicism....


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...pects, even to present day rationalists. Although Abelard had textual evidence of these theological doctrines, some were still questionable and not always factual. The difference between the two works is that through Aquinas' point of view he cannot really be seen as wrong because there is no textual evidence against him because his work is based in his beliefs. However, Abelards' works can be questioned because people, at the time, had been asking his theological questions for years.

Both Abelard and Aquinas were the two leading followers of scholastics of their time. Summa Theologica and Sic et Non, to this day, are controversial ways man has looked for reason in finding the truth about God and the divine order of life. The views on the "natural world" were challenged without challenging the Christian faith, while being followers of the Christian faith.

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