History of Dogmatic Theology

The imposing edifice of Catholic theology has been reared not by individual nations and men, but rather by the combined efforts of all nations and the theologians of every century. Nothing could be more at variance with the essential character of theology than an endeavour to set upon it the stamp of nationalism: like the Catholic Church itself, theology must ever be international. In the history of dogmatic theology, as in the history of the Church, three periods may be distinguished:

  • the patristic

  • the medieval

  • the modern


The Great Fathers of the Church and the ecclesiastical writers of the first 800 years rendered important services by their positive demonstration and their speculative treatment of dogmatic truth. It is the Fathers who are honoured by the Church as her principal theologians, excelling as they did in purity of faith, sanctity of life, and fulness of wisdom, virtues which are not always to be found in those who are known simply as ecclesiastical writers. Tertullian (b. about 160), who died a Montanist, and Origen, (d. 254), who showed a marked leaning towards Hellenism, strayed far from the path of truth. But even some of the Fathers, e.g. St. Cyprian (d. 258) and St. Gregory of Nyssa, went astray on individual points; the former in regard to the baptism of heretics, the latter in the matter of apocatastasis. It was not so much in the catechetical schools of Alexandria, Antioch, and Edessa as in the struggle with the great heresies of the age that patristic theology developed. This serves to explain the character of the patristic literature, which is apologetical and polemical, parenetical and ascetic, with a wealth of exegetical wisdom on every page; for the roots of theology are in the Bible, especially in the Gospels and in the Epistles of St. Paul. Although it was not the intention of the Fathers to give a methodical and systematic treatise of theology, nevertheless, so thoroughly did they handle the great dogmas from the positive, speculative, and apologetic standpoint that they laid the permanent foundations for the centuries to follow. Quite justly does Möhler call attention to the fact that all modes of treatment may be found in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers: the apologetic style is represented by the letter of Diognetus and the letters of St. Ignatius; the dogmatic in pseudo-Barnabas; the moral, in the Pastor of Hermas; canon law, in the letter of St. Clement of Rome; church history, in the Acts of the martyrdom of Polycarp and Ignatius. Owing to the unexpected recovery of lost manuscripts we may add: the liturgical style, in the Didache; the catechetical, in the "Proof of the Apostolic Preaching" by St. Irenæus.

Although the different epochs of the patristic age overlap each other, it may be said in general that the apologetic style predominated in the first epoch up to Constantine the Great, while in the second epoch, that is to say up to the time of Charlemagne, dogmatic literature prevailed. We can here only trace in the most general outlines this theological activity, leaving to patrology the discussion of the literary details.

When the Christian writers entered the lists against paganism and Judaism, a double task awaited them: they had to explain the principal truths of natural religion, such as God, the soul, creation, immortality, and freedom of the will; at the same time they had to defend the chief mysteries of the Christian faith, as the Trinity, Incarnation, etc., and had to prove their sublimity, beauty, and conformity to reason. The band of loyal champions who fought against pagan Polytheism and idolatry is very large: Justin, Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus of Antioch, Hermias, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian, Minucius Felix, Commodianus, Arnobius, Lactantius, Prudentius, Firmicius Maternus, Eusebius of Cæsarea, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril of Alexandria, Nilus, Theodoret, Orosius, and Augustine. The most eminent writers in the struggle against Judaism were: Justin, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville. The attacks of the Fathers were not, of course, aimed at the Israelitic religion of the Old Testament, which was a revealed religion, but at the obstinacy of those Jews who, clinging to the dead letter of the Law, refused to recognize the prophetic spirit of the Old Testament.

But far greater profit resulted from conflict with the heresies of the first eight centuries. As the flint, when it is struck by the steel, gives off luminous sparks, so did dogma, in its clash with heretical teaching, shed a new and wonderfully brilliant light. As the errors were legion, it was natural that in the course of the centuries all the principal dogmas were, one by one, treated in monographs which established their truth and provided them with a philosophical basis. The struggle of the Fathers against Gnosticism, Manichæism, and Priscillianism served not only to bring into clearer light the essence of God, creation, the problem of evil; it moreover secured the true principles of faith and the Church's authority against heretical aberrations. In the mighty struggle against Monarchianism, Sabellianism, and Arianism an opportunity was afforded to the Fathers and the oecumenical councils to establish the true meaning of the dogma of the Trinity, to secure it on all sides and to draw out, by speculation, its genuine import. When the contest with Eunomianism broke out, the fires of theological and philosophical criticism purified the doctrine of God and our knowledge of Him, both earthly and heavenly. Of world-wide interest were the Christological disputes, which, beginning with the rise of Apollinarianism, reached their climax in Nestorianism, Monophysitism, and Monothelitism, and were revived once more in Adoptionism. In this long and bitter strife, the doctrine of Christ's person, of the Incarnation, and Redemption, and in connection herewith Mariology also, was placed on a sure and permanent foundation, from which the Church has never varied a hair's breadth in later ages. The following may be mentioned as the Eastern Champions in this scientific dispute on the Trinity and Christology: the great Alexandrines, Clement, Origen, and Didymus the Blind; the heroic Athanasius and the three Cappadocians (Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa); Cyril of Alexandria and Leontius of Byzantium; finally, Maximus the Confessor and John Damascene. In the West the leaders were: Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Fulgentius of Ruspe, and the two popes, Leo I and Gregory I. As the contest with Pelagianism and Semi-pelagianism purified the dogmas of grace and liberty, providence and predestination, original sin and the condition of our first parents in Paradise, so in like manner the contests with the Donatists brought out more clearly and strongly the doctrine of the sacraments (baptism), the hierarchical constitution of the Church her magisterium or teaching authority, and her Infallibility. In all these struggles it was Augustine who ever led with indomitable courage, and next to him came Optatus of Mileve and a long line of devoted disciples. The last contest was decided by the Second Council of Nicæa (787); it was in this struggle that, under the leadership of St. John Damascene, the communion of saints, the invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics and holy images were placed on a scientific basis.

It may be seen from this brief outline that the dogmatic teachings of the Fathers are a collection of monographs rather than a systematic exposition. But the Fathers broke the ground and furnished the material for erecting the system afterwards. In the case of some of them there are evident signs of an attempt to synthesize dogma into a complete and organic whole. Irenæus (Adv, hær., III-V) shows traces of this tendency; the well-known trilogy of Clement of Alexandria (d. 217) marks an advance in the same direction; but the most successful effort in Christian antiquity to systematize the principal dogmas of faith was made by Origen in his work "De principiis", which is unfortunately disfigured by serious errors. His work against Celsus, on the other hand, is a classic in apologetics and of lasting value. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 394), skilled in matters philosophical and of much the same bent of mind as Origen, endeavoured in his "Large Catechetical Treatise" (logos katechetikos ho megas) to correlate in a broad synthetic view the fundamental dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Sacraments. In the same manner, though somewhat fragmentarily, Hilary (d. 366) developed in his valuable work "De Trinitate" the principal truths of Christianity. The catechetlcal instructions of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) especially his five mystagogical treatises, on the Apostles' Creed and the three Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, contain an almost complete dogmatic treatise, St. Epiphanius (d. 496), in his two works "Ancoratus" and "Panarium", aimed at a complete dogmatic treatise, and St. Ambrose (d. 397) in his chief works: "De fide", "De Spiritu S.", "De incarnatione", "De mysteriis", "De poenitentia", treated the main points of dogma masterfully and in classic Latinity, though without any attempt at a unifying synthesis. In regard to the Trinity and Christology, St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) is even today a model for dogmatic theologians. Though all the writings of St. Augustine (d. 430) are an inexhaustible mine, yet he has written one or two works, as the "De fide et symbolo" and the "Enchiridium", which may justly be called compendia of dogmatic and moral theology. Unsurpassed is his speculative work "De Trinitate" His disciple Fulgentius of Ruspe (d. 533) wrote an extensive and thorough confession of faith under the title, "De fide ad Petrum, seu regula rectæ fidei", a veritable treasure for the theologians of his day.

Towards the end of the Patristic Age Isidore of Seville (d. 636) in the West and John Damascene (b. ab. 700) in the East paved the way for a systematic treatment of dogmatic theology. Following closely the teachings of St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great, St. Isidore proposed to collect all the writings of the earlier Fathers and to hand them down as a precious inheritance to posterity. The results of this undertaking were the "Libri III sententiarum seu de summo bono" Tajus of Saragossa (650) had the same end in view in his "Libri V sententiarum". The work of St. John Damascene (d. after 754) was crowned with still greater success; for not only did he gather the teachings and views of the Greek Fathers, but by reducing them to a systematic whole he deserves to be called the first and the only scholastic among the Greeks. His main work, which is divided into three parts, is entitled: "Fons scientiæ" (pege gnoseos), because it was intended to be the source, not merely of theology, but of philosophy and Church history as well. The third or theological part, known as "Expositio fidei orthodoxæ" (ekthesis tes orthodoxou pisteos), is an excellent combination of positive and scholastic theology, and aims at thoroughness both in establishing and in elucidating the truth. Greek theology has never gone beyond St. John Damascene, a standstill caused principally by the Photian schism (869). The only Greek prior to him who had produced a complete system of theology was Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, in the fifth century; but he was more popular in the West, at least from the eighth century on, than in the East. Although he openly wove into the genuine Catholic system neo-Platonic thoughts and phrases, nevertheless he enjoyed an unparalleled reputation among the greatest Scholastics of the Middle Ages because he was supposed to have been a disciple of the Apostles, For all that, Scholasticism did not take its guidance from St. John Damascene or Pseudo-Dionysius, but from St. Augustine, the greatest of the Fathers. Augustinian thought runs like a golden thread through the whole progress of Western philosophy and theology. It was Augustine who led everywhere, who always pointed out the right path, and from whom all schools sought direction. Even the heretics tried to bolster up their errors with the strength of his reputation. Today his greatness is recognized and appreciated more and more, as specialized research goes more deeply into his works and brings to view his genius. As Scheeben remarks, "It would be easy to compile from his writings a rich system of dogmatic theology." We cannot help admiring the skill with which he ever kept God, as the beginning and end of all things, in the central position, even where he was compelled to depart from earlier opinions which he had found to be untenable. The English-speaking world may well be proud of the Venerable Bede (d. 735), a eontemporary of St. John Damascene. Owing to his unusually solid education in theology, his extensive knowledge of the Bible and of the Fathers of the Church, he is the link which joins the patristic with the medieval history of theology.

II. THE MIDDLE AGES (800-1500)

(2) The Middle Ages (800-1500)

The beginnings of Scholasticism may be traced back to the days of Charlemagne (d. 814). Thence it progressed in ever-guickening development to the time of Anselm of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Peter the Lombard, and onward to its full growth in the Middle Ages (first epoch, 800-1200). The most brilliant period of Scholasticism embraces about 100 years (second epoch, 1200-1300), and with it are connected the names of Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and Duns Scotus. From the beginning of the fourteenth century, owing to the predominance of Nominalism and to the sad condition of the Church, Scholasticism began to decline (third epoch, 1300-1500).

A. First epoch: Beginning and Progress of Scholasticism (800-1200)

In the first half of this epoch, up to the time of St. Anselm of Canterbury, the theologians were more concerned with preserving than with developing the treasures stored up in the writings of the Fathers. The sacred science was cultivated nowhere with greater industry than in the cathedral and monastic schools, founded and fostered by Charlemagne. The earliest signs of a new thought appeared in the ninth century during the discussions relative to the Last Supper (Paschasius Radbertus, Ratramnus, Rabanus Maurus). These speculations were carried to a greater depth in the second Eucharistic controversy against Berengarius of Tours (d. 1088), (Lanfranc, Guitmund, Alger, Hugh of Langres, etc.). Unfortunately, the only systematic theologian of this time, Scotus Eriugena (d. after 870), was an avowed Pantheist, so that the name of "Father of Scholasticism" which some would give him, is wholly unmerited. But the one who fully deserves this title is St. Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109). For he was the first to bring a sharp logic to bear upon the principal dogmas of Christianity, the first to unfold and explain their meaning in every detail, and to draw up a scientific plan for the stately edifice of dogmatic theology. Taking the substance of his doctrine from Augustine, St. Anselm, as a philosopher, was not so much a disciple of Aristotle as of Plato, in whose masterly dialogues he had been thoroughly schooled. Another pillar of the Church was St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), the "Father of Mysticism". Though for the most part the author of ascetic works with a mystical tendency, he used the weapons of scientific theology against Abelard's Rationalism and the exaggerated Realism of Gilbert de La Porrée. It is upon the doctrine of Anselm and Bernard that the Scholastics of succeeding generations took their stand, and it was their spirit which lived in the theological efforts of the University of Paris. Less prominent, yet noteworthy, are: Ruprecht of Deutz, William of Thierry, Gaufridus, and others.

The first attempts at a theological system may be seen in the so-called "Books of Sentences", collections and interpretations of quotations from the Fathers, more especially of St. Augustine. One of the earliest of these books is the "Summa sententiarum" of Hugh of St. Victor (1141). His works are characterized throughout by a close adherence to St. Augustine and, according to the verdict of Scheeben, may even yet serve as guides for beginners in the theology of St. Augustine. Less praise is due to the similar work of Robert Pulleyn (d. 1146), who is careless in arranging the matter and confuses the various questions of which he treats. Peter the Lombard, called the "Magister Sententiarum" (d. 1164), on the other hand, stands far above them all. What Gratian had done for canon law the Lombard did for dogmatic and moral theology. With untiring industry he sifted and explained and paraphrased the patristic lore in his "Libri IV sententiarum", and the arrangement which he adopted was, in spite of the lacunæ, so excellent that up to the sixteenth century his work was the standard text-book of theology. The work of interpreting this masterpiece began as early as the thirteenth century, and there was no theologian of note in the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on the Sentences of the Lombard. Hundreds of these commentaries are still resting, unprinted, beneath the dust of the libraries. No other work exerted such a powerful influence on the development of scholastic theology. Neither the analogous work of his disciple, Peter of Poitiers (d. 1205), nor the important "Summa aurea" of William of Auxerre (d. after 1230) superseded the Lombard's "Sentences" Along with Alain of Lille (d, 1203), William of Auvergne (d. 1248), who died as Archbishop of Paris, deserves special mention. Though preferring the free, unscholastic method of an earlier age, he yet shows himself at once an original philosopher and a profound theologian. Inasmuch as in his numerous monographs on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Sacraments, etc., he took into account the anti-Christian attacks of the Arabian exponents of Aristoteleanism, he is, as it were, the connecting link between this age and the most brilliant epoch of the thirteenth century.

B. Second Epoch: Scholasticism at its Zenith (1200-1300)

This period of Scholasticism was marked not only by the appearance of the "Theological Summæ", but also by the building of the great Gothic cathedrals, which bear a sort of affinity to the lofty structures of Scholasticism. (Cf. Emil Michael, S. J., "Geschichte des deutschen Volkes vom 13. Jahrh. bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters", V, Freiburg, 1911, 15 sq.) Another characteristic feature was the fact that in the thirteenth century the champions of Scholasticism were to be found in the great religious orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans, beside whom worked the Augustinians, Carmelites, and Servites. This brilliant period is ushered in by two master-minds: the one a Franciscan, Alexander of Hales (d. about 1245), the other a Dominican, Albert the Great (d. 1280). The "Summa theologiæ" of Alexander of Hales, the largest and most comprehensive work of its kind, is distinguished by its deep and mature speculation, though flavoured with Platonism. The arrangement of the subjects treated reminds one of the method in vogue today. An intellectual giant not merely in matters philosophical and theological but in the natural sciences as well, was Albert the Great. It was he who made the first attempt to present the entire philosophy of Aristotle in its true form and to place it at the service of Catholic theology — an undertaking of far-reaching consequences. The logic of Aristotle had indeed been rendered into Latin by Boethius and had been used in the schools since the end of the sixth century; but the physics and metaphysics of the Stagirite were made known to the Western world only through the Arabian philosophers of the thirteenth century, and then in such a way that Aristotle's doctrine seemed to clash with the Christian religion. This fact explains why his works were prohibited by the Synod of Paris, in 1210, and again by a Bull of Gregory IX in 1231. But after the Scholastics, led by Albert the Great, had gone over the faulty Latin translation once more, had reconstructed the genuine doctrine of Aristotle and recognized the fundamental soundness of his principles, they no longer hesitated to take, with the approval of the Church, the pagan philosopher as their guide in the speculative study of dogma.

Two other representatives of the great orders are the gigantic figures of Bonaventure (d. 1274) and of Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), who mark the highest development of Scholastic theology. St. Bonaventure, the "Seraphic Doctor", clearly follows in the footsteps of Alexander of Hales, his fellow-religious and predecessor, but surpasses him in depth of mysticism and clearness of diction. Unlike the other Scholastics of this period, he did not write a theological "Summa", but amply made up for it by his "Commentary on the Sentences", as well as by his famous "Breviloquium", a "casket of pearls", which, brief as a compendium, is nothing less than a condensed Summa. Alexander of Hales and Bonaventure are the real representatives of the old Franciscan Schools, from which the later School of Duns Scotus essentially differed. Yet it is not Bonaventure, but Thomas Aquinas, who has ever been honoured as the "Prince of Scholasticism". St. Thomas holds the same rank among the theologians as does St. Augustine among the Fathers of the Church. Possessed of angelic rather than human knowledge, the "Doctor angelicus" is distinguished not only for the wealth, depth, and truth of his Ideas and for his systematic exposition of them, but also for the versatility of his genius, which embraced all branches of human knowledge. For dogmatic theology his most important work is the "Summa theologica". Experience has shown that, as faithful adherence to St. Thomas means progress, so a departure from his teachings invariably brings with It a decline of Catholic theology. It seems providential, therefore, that Leo XIII in his Encyclical "Æterni Patris" (1879) restored the study of the Scholastics, especially of St. Thomas, in all higher Catholic schools, a measure which was again emphasized by Pope Pius X. The fears prevalent in some circles that by the restoration of Scholastic studies the results of modern thought would be forced back to the antiquated viewpoint of the thirteenth century are shown to be groundless by the fact that both popes, while insisting on the acquisition of the "wisdom of St. Thomas", yet emphatically disclaim any intention to revive the unscientific notions of the Middle Ages. It would be folly to ignore the progress of seven centuries, and, moreover, the Reformation, Jansenism, and the philosophies since Kant have originated theological problems which St. Thomas in his time could not foresee. Nevertheless, it is a convincing proof of the logical accuracy and comprehensiveness of the Thomistic system that it contains at least the principles necessary for the refutation of modern errors.

Before the brilliancy of the genius of St. Thomas even great theologians of this period wane into stars of the second and third magnitude. Still, Richard of Middleton (d. 1300), whose clearness of thought and lucidity of exposition recall the master mind of Aquinas, is a classical representative of the Franciscan School. Among the Servites, Henry of Ghent (d. 1293), a disciple of Albert the Great, deserves mention; his style is original and rhetorical, his judgments are independent, his treatment of the doctrine on God attests the profound thinker. In the footsteps of St. Thomas followed his pupil Peter of Tarentaise, who later became Pope Innocent V (d. 1276), and Ulric of Strasburg (d. 1277), whose name is little known, though his unprinted "Summa" was held in high esteem in the Middle Ages. The famous General of the Augustinians, Ægidius of Rome (d. 1316), a scion of the noble family of the Colonna, while differing in some details from the teaching of St. Thomas yet in the main adhered to his system. In his own order his writings were considered as classics. But the attempt of the Augustinian Gavardus in the seventeenth century to create a distinctly "Ægidian School" proved a failure. On the other hand, adversaries of St. Thomas sprang up even in his lifetime. The first attack, came from England and was led by William de la Mare, of Oxford (d. 1285). Speaking broadly, English scholars, famous for their originality, played no mean part in the intellectual life of the Middle Ages. Being more of an empirical and practical than of an aprioristic and theoretical bent of mind, they enriched science with a new element. Their predilection for the natural sciences is also the outcome of this practical sense. Like the links of an unbroken chain follow the names of Bede, Alcuin, Alfred (Anglicus), Alexander of Neckham, Alexander of Hales, Robert Grosseteste, Adam of Marsh, John Basingstoke, Robert Kilwardby, John Pecham, Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus, Occam. Kuno Fischer is right when he says: "When travelling along the great highway of history, we may traverse the whole of the Middle Ages down to Bacon of Verulam without leaving England for a moment" ("Francis Bacon", Heidelberg, 1904, p. 4).

This peculiar English spirit was embodied in the famous Duns Scotus (1266—1308). while in point of ability he belongs to the golden age of scholasticism, yet his bold and virulent criticism of the Thomistic system was to a great extent responsible for its decline. Scotus cannot be linked with the old Franciscan school; he is rather the founder of the new Scotistic School, which deviated from the theology of Alexander of Hales and Bonaventure not so much in matters of faith and morals as in the speculative treatment of dogma. Greater still is his opposition to the fundamental standpoint of Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas likens the system of theology and philosophy to the animal organism, in which the vivifying soul permeates all the members, holds them together, and shapes them into perfect unity. In Scotus's own words, on the other hand, the order of things is rather symbolized by the plant, the root shooting forth branches and twigs which have an innate tendency to grow away from the stem. This fundamental difference also sheds light on the peculiarities of Scotus's system as opposed to Thomism: his formalism in the doctrine of God and the Trinity, his loose conception of the Hypostatic Union, his relaxation of the bonds uniting the sacraments with the humanity of Christ, his explanation of transubstantiation as an adductive substitution, his emphasis on the supremacy of the will, and so on. Though it cannot be denied that Scotism preserved theological studies from a one-sided development and even won a signal victory over Thomism by its doctrine concerning the Immaculate Conception, it is nevertheless evident that the essential service it rendered to Catholic theology in the long run was to bring out, by the clash of arguments, the enduring solidity of the Thomistic structure. No one can fail to admire in St. Thomas the perspicuity of thought and the lucidity of diction, as contrasted with the abstruse and mystifying conceptions of his critic. In later centuries not a few Franciscans of a calmer judgment, among them Constantine Sarnanus (1589) and John of Rada (1599), set about minimizing or even reconciling the doctrinal differences of the two masters.

C. Third Epoch: Gradual Decline of Scholasticism (1300-1500)

The death of Duns Scotus (d. 1308) marks the close of the golden era of the Scholastic system. What the following period accomplished in constructive work consisted chiefly in preserving, reproducing, and digesting the results of former ages. But simultaneously with this commendable labour we encounter elements of disintegration, due partly to the Fraticelli's wrong conception of mysticism, partly to the aberrations and superficiality of Nominalism, partly to the distressing conflict between Church and State (Philip the Fair, Louis of Bavaria, the Exile at Avignon). Apart from the fanatical enthusiasts who were leaning towards heresy, the development and rapid spread of Nominalism must be ascribed to two pupils of Duns Scotus: the Frenchman Peter Aureolus (d. 1321) and the Englishman William Occam (d. 1347), In union with Marsilius of Padua and John of Jandun, Occam used Nominalism for the avowed purpose of undermining the unity of the Church. In this atmosphere flourished regalism and opposition to the primacy of the pope, until it reached its climax in the false principle: "Concilium supra Papam", which was preached from the housetops up to the time of the Councils of Constance and Basle. It is only fair to state that it was the pressing needs of the times more than anything else which led some great men, as Pierre d'Ailly (d. 1425) and Gerson (d. 1429), to embrace a doctrine which they abandoned as soon as the papal schism was healed. To understand the origin of the errors of Wyclif, Huss, and Luther, the history of Nominalism must be studied. For what Luther knew as Scholasticism was only the degenerated form which Nominalism presents. Even the more prominent Nominalists of the close of the Middle Ages, as the general of the Augustinians, Gregory of Rimini (d. 1359), and Gabriel Biel (d. 1495), who has been called the "last Scholastic", did not escape the misfortune of falling into grievous errors. Nominalistic subtleties, coupled with an austere pseudo-Augustinism of the ultra-rigoristic type, made Gregory of Rimini the precursor of Bajanism and Jansenism. Gabriel Biel, though ranking among the better Nominalists and combining solidity of doctrine with a spirit of loyalty to the Church, yet exerted a baneful influence on his contemporaries, both by his unduly enthusiastic praise of Occam and by the manner in which he commented on Occam's writings.

The order which suffered least damage from Nominalism was that of St. Dominic. For, with the possible exception of Durand of St. Pouçain (d. 1332) and Holkot (d. 1349), its members were as a rule loyal to their great fellow-religious St. Thomas. Most prominent among them during the first half of the fourteenth century were: Hervæus de Nedellec (d. 1323), a valiant opponent of Scotus, John of Paris (d. 1306); Peter of Palude (d. 1342); and especially Raynerius of Pisa (d. 1348), who wrote an alphabetical summary of the doctrine of St. Thomas which even today is useful. A prominent figure in the fifteenth century is St. Antonine of Florence (d. 1459), distinguished by his industry as a compiler and by his versatility as an author; by his "Summa Theologiæ" he did excellent service for positive theology. A powerful champion of Thomism was John Capreolus (d. 1444), the "Prince of Thomists" (princeps Thomistarum). Using the very words of St. Thomas, he refuted, in his adamantine "Clypeus Thomistarum", the adversaries of Thomism in a masterly and convincing manner. It was only in the early part of the sixteenth century that commentaries on the "Summa Theologica" of St. Thomas began to appear, among the first to undertake this work being Cardinal Cajetan of Vio (d. 1537) and Konrad Köllin (d. 1536). The philosophical "Summa contra Gentes" found a masterly commentator in Francis of Ferrara (d. 1528).

Far less united than the Dominicans were the Franciscans, who partly favoured Nominalism, partly adhered to pure Scotism. Among the latter the following are worthy of note: Francis Mayronis (d. 1327); John of Colonia; Peter of Aquila (d. about 1370), who as abbreviator of Scotus was called Scotellus (little Scotus); Nicolaus de Orbellis (ca. 1460), and above all Lichetus (d. 1520), the famous commentator of Scotus. William of Vorrilong (about 1400), Stephen Brulefer (d. 1485), and Nicholas of Niise (d. 1509) belong to a third class which is characterized by the tendency to closer contact with St. Bonaventure. A similar want of harmony and unity is discernible in the schools of the other orders. While the Augustinians James of Viterbo (d. 1308) and Thomas of Strasburg (d. 1357) attached themselves to Ægidius of Rome, thereby approaching closer to St. Thomas, Gregory of Rimini, mentioned above, championed an undisguised Nominalism. Alphonsus Vargas of Toledo (d. 1366), on the other hand, was an advocate of Thomism in its strictest form. Among the Carmelites, also, divergencies of doctrine appeared. Gerard of Bologna (d. 1317) was a staunch Thomist, while his brother in religion John Baconthorp (d. 1346) delighted in trifling controversies against the Thomists. Drifting now with Nominalism, now with Scotism, this original genius endeavoured, though without success, to found a new school in his order. Generally speaking, however, the later Carmelites were enthusiastic followers of St. Thomas. The Order of the Carthusians produced in the fifteenth century a prominent and many-sided theologian in the person of Dionysius Ryckel (d. 1471), surnamed "the Carthusian", a descendant of the Leevis family, who set up his chair in Roermond (Holland). From his pen we possess valuable commentaries on the Bible, Pseudo-Dionysius, Peter the Lombard, and St. Thomas. He was equally conversant with mysticism and scholasticism. Albert the Great, Henry of Ghent, and Dionysius form a brilliant constellation which shed undying lustre on the German theology of the Middle Ages.

Leaving the monasteries and turning our attention to the secular clergy, we encounter men who, in spite of many defects, are not without merit in dogmatic theology. The first to deserve mention Is the Englishman Thomas Bradwardine (d. 1340), the foremost mathematician of his day and Archbishop of Canterbury. His work "De causa Dei contra Pelagianos" evinces a mathematical mind and an unwonted depth of thought. Unfortunately it is marred by an unbending, sombre rigorism, and this to such an extent that the Calvinistic Anglicans of a later century published it in defence of their own teachings. The Irish Bishop Richard Radulphus of Armagh (d. 1360), in his controversy with the Armenians, also fell into dogmatic inaccuracies, which paved the way for the errors of Wyclif. We may note in passing that the learned Carmelite Thomas Netter (d. 1430), surnamed Waldensis, must be regarded as the ablest controversialist against the Wyclifites and Hussites. The great Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1404) stands out prominently as the inaugurator of a new speculative system in dogmatic theology; but his doctrine is in many respects open to criticism. A thorough treatise on the Church was written by John Torquemada (d. 1468), and a similar work by St. John Capistran (d. 1456). A marvel of learning, and already acknowledged as such by his contemporaries, was Alphonsus Tostatus (d. 1454), the equal of Nicholas of Lyra (d. 1341) in Scriptural learning. He merits a place in the history of dogmatic theology, inasmuch as he interspersed his excellent commentaries on the Scriptures with dogmatic treatises, and in his work "Quinque paradoxa" gave to the world a fine treatise on Christology and Mariology.

As was to be expected, mysticism went astray in this period and degenerated into sham pietism. A striking example of this is the anonymous "German Theology", edited by Martin Luther. This work must, however, not be confounded with the "German Theology" of the pious bishop Berthold of Chiemsee (d. 1543), which, directed against the Reformers, is imbued with the genuine spirit of the Catholic Church.

III. MODERN TIMES (1500-1900)

As during the Patristic period the rise of heresies was the occasion of the development of dogmatic theology in the Church, so the manifold errors of the Renaissance and of the Reformation brought about a more accurate definition of important articles of faith. Along other lines also both these movements produced good effects. While in the period of the Renaissance the revival of classical studies gave new vigour to exegesis and patrology, the Reformation stimulated the universities which had remained Catholic, especially in Spain (Salamanca, Alcalá, Coimbra) and in the Netherlands (Louvain), to put forth an enthusiastic activity in intellectual research. Spain, which had fallen behind during the Middle Ages, now came boldly to the front. The Sorbonne of Paris regained its lost prestige only towards the end of the sixteenth century. Among the religious orders the newly-founded Society of Jesus probably contributed most to the revival and growth of theology. Scheeben distinguishes five epochs in this period.

A. First Epoch: Preparation (1500-1570)

It was only by a slow process that Catholic theology rose from the depths into which it had fallen. The rise of the Reformation (1517) had inflicted serious wounds on the Church, and the defection of so many priests deprived her of the natural resources on which the study of theology necessarily depends. Nevertheless the list of the loyal contains many brilliant names, and the controversial works of those times include more than one valuable monograph. It was but natural that the whole literature of this period should bear an apologetical and controversial character and should deal with those subjects which had been attacked most bitterly: the rule and sources of faith, the Church, grace, the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist. Numerous defenders of the faith arose in the very country which had given birth to the Reformation: John Eck (d. 1543), Cochlæus (d. 1552), Staphylus (d. 1564), James of Hoogstraet (d. 1527), John Gropper (d. 1559), Albert Pighius (d. 1542), Cardinal Hosius (d. 1579), Martin Cromer (d. 1589), and Peter Canisius (d. 1597). The last-named gave to the Catholics not only his world-renowned catechism, but also a most valuable Mariology. With pride and enthusiasm we look upon England, where the two noble martyrs John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (d. 1535), and Thomas More (d. 1535) championed the cause of the Catholic faith with their pen, where Cardinal Pole (d. 1568), Stephen Gardiner (d. 1555), and Cardinal William Allen (d. 1594), men who combined refinement with a solid education, placed their learning at the service of the persecuted Church, while the Jesuit Nicholas Saunders wrote one of the best treatises on the Church. In Belgium the professors of the University of Louvain opened new paths for the study of theology, foremost among them were: Ruardus Tapper (d. 1559), John Driedo (d. 1535), Jodocus Ravesteyn (d. 1570), John Hessels (d. 1566), John Molanus (d. 1585), and Garetius (d. 1571). To the last-named we owe an excellent treatise on the holy Eucharist. In France James Merlin, Christopher Chefontaines (d. 1595), and Gilbert Genebrard (d. 1597) rendered great services to dogmatic theology. Sylvester Pierias (d. 1523), Ambrose Catharinus (d, 1553), and Cardinal Seripandus are the boast of Italy. But, above all other countries, Spain is distinguished by a veritable galaxy of brilliant names: Alphonsus of Castro (d. 1558), Michael de Medina (d. 1578), Peter de Soto (d. 1563). Some of their works have remained classics up to our own times, as "De natura et gratia" (Venice 1547) of Dominic Soto; "De justificatione libri XV" (Venice, 1546) of Andrew Vega; "De locis theologicis" (Salamanca, 1563) of Melchior Cano.

B. Second Epoch: Late Scholasticism at its Height (1570-1660)

Even in the preceding epoch the sessions of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) had exerted a beneficial influence on the character and extent of dogmatic literature. After the close of the council there sprang up everywhere a new life and a marvellous activity m theology which recalls the best days of the Patristic Era and of Scholasticism but surpasses both by the wealth and variety of its literary productions. We are not here concerned with the industry displayed in Biblical and exegetical research. But the achievements of controversial, positive, and scholastic theology deserve a passing notice.

(i) Controversial theology was carried to the highest perfection by Cardinal Bellarmine (d. 1621). There is no other theologian who has defended almost the whole of Catholic theology against the attacks of the Reformers with such clearness and convincing force. Other theologians remarkable for their masterly defence of the Catholic Faith were the Spanish Jesuit Gregory of Valencia (d. 1603) and his pupils Adam Tanner (d.. 1635) and James Gretser (d. 1625), who taught in the University of Ingolstadt. To the Englishman Thomas Stapleton (d. 1508) we owe a work, unsurpassed even in our days, on the material and formal principle of Protestantism. Cardinal du Perron (d. 1618) of France successfully entered the arena against James I of England and Philip Mornay, and wrote a splendid treatise on the holy Eucharist. The eloquent pupit orator Bossuet (d. 1627) wielded his pen in refuting Protestantism from the standpoint of history. The "Præscriptiones Catholicæ", a voluminous work of the Italian Gravina (7 vols., Naples, 1619-39), possesses enduring value. Martin Becanus (d. 1624), a Belgian Jesuit, published his handy and well-known "Manuale controversiarum". In Holland the defence of religion was carried on by the two learned brothers Adrian (d. 1669) and Peter de Walemburg (d. 1675), both auxiliary bishops of Cologne and both controversialists, who easily ranked among the best. Even the distant East was represented in the two Greek converts, Peter Arcudius (d. 1640) and Leo Allatius (d. 1669).

(ii) The development of positive theology went hand in hand with the progress of research into the Patristic Era and into the history of dogma. These studies were especially cultivated in France and Belgium. A number of scholars, thoroughly versed in history, published in excellent monographs the results of their investigations into the history of particular dogmas. Morinus (d. 1659) made the Sacrament of Penance the subject of special study; Isaac Habert (d. 1668), the doctrine of the Greek Fathers on grace; Hallier (d. 1659), the Sacrament of Holy orders, Garnier (d.1681), Pelagianism; De champs (d. 1701), Jansenism; Tricassinus (d. 1681), St. Augustine's doctrine on grace. Unfortunately, among the highly gifted representatives of this historico-dogmatical school were to be found men who deviated more or less seriously from the unchangeable teachings of the Catholic Church, as Baius, Jansenius the Younger, Launoy, de Marca, Dupin, and others. Though Nicole and Arnauld were Jansenists, yet their monumental work on the Eucharist, "Perpétuité de la foi" (Paris, 1669-74), has not yet lost its value. But there are two men, the Jesuit Petavius (d. 1647) and the Oratorian Louis Thomassin (d. 1695), who by their epoch-making works: "Dogmata theologica", placed positive theology on a new basis without disregarding the speculative element.

(iii) So great was the enthusiasm with which the religious orders fostered scholastic theology and brought it to perfection that the golden era of the thirteenth century seemed to have once more returned. It was no mere chance that St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure were just then proclaimed Doctors of the Church, the first by Pius V, the other by Sixtus V. By these papal acts the two greatest luminaries of the past were proposed to the theologians as models to be zealously imitated. Thomism, guarded and cherished by the Dominicans, proved anew its full vitality. At the head of the Thomistic movement was Bañez (d. 1604), the first and greatest opponent of the Jesuit Molina (d. 1600). He wrote a valuable commentary on the theological "Summa" of St. Thomas, which, combined with a similar work by Bartholomew Medina (d. 1581), forms a harmonious whole. Under the leadership of Bañez a group of scholarly Dominicans took up the defence of the Thomistic doctrine on grace: Alvarez (d. 1635), de Lemos (d. 1629), Ledesma (d. 1616), Massoulié (d. 1706), Reginaldus (d. 1676), Nazarius (d. 1646), John a St. Thoma (d. 1644), Kantes Mariales (d. 1660), Gonet (d. 1681), Goudin (d. 1695), Contenson (d. 1674), and others. However, the most scholarly, profound, and comprehensive work of the Thomistic school did not come from the Dominicans, but from the Carmelites of Salamanca; it is the invaluable "Cursus Salmanticensis" (Salamanca, 1631-1712) in 15 folios, a magnificent commentary on the "Summa" of St. Thomas. The names of the authors of this immortal work have unfortunately not been handed down to posterity. Outside the Dominican Order, also, Thomism had many zealous and learned friends: the Benedictine Alphonsus Curiel (d. 1609), Francis Zumel (d. 1607), John Puteanus (d. 1623), and the Irishman Augustine Gibbon (d. 1676), who laboured in Spain and at Erfurt in Germany. The Catholic universities were active in the interest of Thomism. At Louvain William Estius (d. 1613) wrote an excellent commentary on the "Liber Sententiarum" of Peter the Lombard, which was permeated with the spirit of St. Thomas, while his colleagues Wiggers and Francis Sylvius (d. 1649) explained the theological "Summa" of the master himself. In the Sorbonne Thomism was worthily represented by men like Gammaché (d. 1625), Andrew Duval (d. 1637), and especially by the ingenious Nicholas Ysambert (d. 1624). The University of Salzburg also furnished an able work in the "Theologia scholastica" of Augustine Reding, who held the chair of theology in that university from 1645 to 1658, and died as Abbot of Einsiedeln in 1692.

The Franciscans of this epoch in no way abandoned their doctrinal opposition to the school of St. Thomas, but steadily continued publishing commentaries on Peter the Lombard, which throughout breathe the genuine spirit of Scotism. It was especially Irish Franciscans who promoted the theological activity of their order, as Mauritius Hibernicus (d. 1603), Anthony Hickay (Hiquæus, d. 1641), Hugh Cavellus, and John Ponce (Pontius, d. 1660). The following Italians and Belgians also deserve to be mentioned: Francis de Herrera (about 1590), Angelus Vulpes (d. 1647), Philip Fabri (d. 1630), Bosco (d. 1684), and Cardinal Brancatus de Laurea (d. 1693). Scotistic manuals for use in schools were published about 1580 by Cardinal Sarnanus and by William Herincx, this latter acting under the direction of the Franciscans. The Capuchins, on the other hand, adhered to St. Bonaventure, as, e. g., Peter Trigos (d. 1593), Joseph Zamora (d. 1649), Gaudentius of Brescia, (d. 1672), Marcus a Baudunio (d. 1673), and others.

But there can be no question that Scholastic theology owes most of its classical works to the Society of Jesus, which substantially adhered to the "Summa" of St. Thomas, yet at the same time made use of a certain eclectic freedom which seemed to be warranted by the circumstances of the times. Molina (d. 1600) was the first Jesuit to write a commentary on the theological "Summa" of St. Thomas. He was followed by Cardinal Toletus (d. 1596) and by Gregory of Valencia (d. 1603), mentioned above as a distinguished controversialist. A brilliant group in the Society of Jesus are the Spaniards Francis Suarez, Gabriel Vasquez, and Didacus Ruiz. Suarez (d. 1617), the most prominent among them, is also the foremost theologian that the Society of Jesus has produced. His renown is due not only to the fertility and the wealth of his literary productions, but also to his "clearness, moderation, depth, and circumspection" (Scheeben). He truly deserves the title of "Doctor eximius" which Benedict XIV gave him. In his colleague Gabriel Vasquez (d. 1604) Suarez; found a critic both subtle and severe, who combined positive knowledge with depth of speculation. Didacus Ruiz (d. 1632) wrote masterly works on God and the Trinity, subjects which were also thoroughly treated by Christopher Gilles (d. 1608). Harruabal (d. 1608), Ferdinand Bastida (d. about 1609), Valentine Herice, and others are names which will forever be linked with the history of Molinism. During the succeeding period James Granado (d. 1632), John Præpositus (d. 1634), Caspar Hurtado (d. 1646), and Anthony Perez (d. 1694) won fame by their commentaries on St. Thomas. But, while devoting themselves to scientific research, the Jesuits never forgot the need of instruction. Excellent, often voluminous, manuals were written by Arriaga (d. 1667), Martin Esparza (d. 1670), Francis Amicus (d. 1651), Martin Becanus (d. 1625), Adam Tanner (d. 1632), and finally by Sylvester Maurus (d. 1687), who is not only remarkable for clearness, but also distinguished as a philosopher. Hand in hand with this more general and comprehensive literature went important monographs, embodying special studies on certain dogmatic questions. Entering the lists against Baius and his followers, Martinez de Ripalda (d. 1648) wrote the best work on the supernatural order. To Leonard Lessius (d. 1623) we owe some beautiful treatises on God and His attributes. Ægidius Coninck (d. 1633) made the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the sacraments the subject of special studies. Cardinal John de Lugo (d. 1660), noted for his mental acumen and highly esteemed as a moralist, wrote on the virtue of faith and the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Claude Tiphanus (d. 1641) is the author of a classical monograph on the notions of personality and hypostasis. Cardinal Pallavicini (d. 1667), known as the historiographer of the Council of Trent, won repute as a dogmatic theologian by several of his writings.

C. Third Epoch: Further Activity and Gradual Decline of Scholasticism (1660-1760)

While the creative and constructive work of the previous epoch still continued, though with languishing vitality, and ushered in a second spring of dogmatic literature, other currents of thought set in which gradually prepared the way for the decline of Catholic theology. Cartesianism in philosophy, Gallicanism, and Jansenism were sapping the strength of the sacred science. There was scarcely a country or nation that was not infected with the false spirit of the age. Italy alone remained immune and preserved its ancient purity and orthodoxy in matters theological.

One might have expected that, if anywhere at all, theology would be securely sheltered within the schools of the old religious orders. Yet even some of these succumbed to the evil influences of the times, losing little by little their pristine firmness and vigour. Nevertheless, it is to them that almost all the theological literature of this period and the revival of Scholasticism are due, A product of the Thomistic school, widely used and well adapted to the needs of the time, was the standard work of the Dominican Billuart (d. 1757), which with exceptional skill and taste explains and defends the Thomistic system in scholastic form. The dogmatic theology of Cardinal Gotti, however, rivals, if it does not surpass, Billuart's work, both as regards the substance and the soundness of its contents. Other Thomists produced valuable monographs: Drouin on the sacraments and Bernard de Rubeis (d. 1775) on original sin. More eclectic in their adherence to Thomism were the Cardinals Celestine Sfondrato (d. 1696) and Aguirre (d. 1699); the latter's work "Theology of St. Anselm" in three volumes is replete with deep thought. Among the Franciscans Claudius Frassen (d. 1680) issued his elegant "Scotus academicus", a counterpart to the Thomistic theology of Billuart. Of the Scotistic School we also mention Gabriel Boyvin, Krisper (d. 1721), and Kick (d. 1769). Eusebius Amort (d. 1775), the foremost theologian in Germany, also represented a better type, combining sound conservatism with due regard for modern demands. The Society of Jesus still preserved something of its former vigour and activity. Simmonet, Ulloa (d. about 1723), and Marin were the authors of voluminous scholastic works. But now the didactical and pedagogical interests began to assert themselves, and called for numerous textbooks of theology. We mention Platel (d. 1681), Antoine (d. 1743), Pichler (d. 1736), Sardagna (d. 1775), Erber, Monschein (d. 1769), and Gener. But both as regards matter and form all these textbooks were surpassed by the "Theologia Wirceburgensis", which the Jesuits of Würzburg published in 1766-71. In addition to the old religious orders, we meet during this period the new school of Augustinians, who based their theology on the system of Gregory of Rimini rather than on that of Ægidius of Rome. Because of the stress they laid on the rigoristic element in St. Augustine's doctrine on grace, they were for a time suspected of Baianism and Jansenism, but were cleared of this suspicion by Benedict XIV. To this school belonged the scholarly Lupus (d. 1681) at Louvain and Cardinal Noris (d. 1704), distinguished for his subtle intellect. But its best work on dogmatic theology came from the pen of Lawrence Berti (d. 1766). His fellow-workers in the same field were Bellelli (d. 1742) and Bertieri. The French Oratory, falling from its lofty eminence, was buried in Jansenism, as the names of Quesnel, Lebrun, and Juenin sufficiently indicate.

The Sorbonne of Paris, developing the germs of Jansenism and Gallicanism, ceased to keep abreast of the time. Abstracting, however, from this fact, theology owes works of great merit to men like Louis Habert (d. 1718), du Hamel (d. 1706), L'Herminier, Witasse (d. 1716). Creditable exceptions were Louis Abelly (d. 1691) and Martin Grandin, who distinguished themselves by their loyalty to the Church. The same encomium must be said of Honoratus Tournely (d. 1729), whose "Prælectiones dogmaticæ" are numbered among the best theological text-books. A staunch opponent of Jansenism, he would certainly have challenged Gallicanism, had not the law of the realm prevented him. For the rest, the Church depended almost exclusively on Italy in its scientific combat against the pernicious errors of the time. There had gathered a chosen band of scholars who courageously fought for the purity of the faith and the rights of the papacy. In the front rank against Jansenism stood the Jesuits Dominic Viva (d. 1726), La Fontaine (d. 1728), Alticozzi (d. 1777), and Faure (d. 1779). Gallicanism and Josephinism were hard pressed by the theologians of the Society of Jesus, especially by Zaccaria (d. 1795), Muzzarelli (d. 1749), Bolgeni (d. 1811), Roncaglia, and others. The Jesuits were ably seconded by the Dominicans Orsi (d. 1761) and Mamachi (d. 1792). Another champion in this struggle was Cardinal Gerdil (d. 1802). Partly to this epoch belongs the fruitful activity of St. Alphonsus Liguori (d. 1787), whose popular rather than scientific writings energetically opposed the baneful spirit of the time.

D. Fourth Epoch: Decay of Catholic Theology (1760-1840)

Many circumstances, both from within and from without, contributed towards the further decadence of theology which had already begun in the preceding epoch. In France it was the still powerful influence of Jansenism and Gallicanism, in the German Empire the spread of Josephinism and Febronianism that sapped the vitality of orthodox theology. The suppression of the Society of Jesus by Clement XIV in 1773 deprived theology of its ablest representatives. To these factors must be added the paralyzing influence of the "Enlightenment" which, rising through English Deism, was swelled by French Encyclopedism and finally deluged all European countries. The French Revolution and the military expeditions of Napoleon all through Europe were not without evil consequences. The false philosophy of the time (Kant, Schelling, Fichte, Hegel, Cousin, Comte, etc.), by which even many theologians were misled, engendered not only an undisguised contempt for Scholasticism and even for St. Thomas, but also fostered a shallow conception of Christianity, the supernatural character of which was obscured by Rationalism. True, the spirit of former centuries was still alive in Italy, but the unfavourable circumstances of the times impeded its growth and development. In France the Revolution and the continual campaigns paralyzed or stifled all productive activity. De Lamennais (d. 1854), the beginning of whose career had held out promises of the highest order, turned from the truth and led others astray. The Catholics of England groaned under political oppression and religious intolerance. Spain had become barren. Germany suffered from the mildew of "Enlightenment". No matter how mildly one may judge the aberrations of Wessenberg (1774-1860), Vicar-General of Constance, who had absorbed the false ideas of his age, it is certain that the movement begun by him marked a decadence in matters both ecclesiastical and scientific. But the poorer the productions of the theologians the greater their pride. They despised the old theologians, whom they could neither read nor understand. Among the few works of a better sort were the manuals of Wiest (1791), Klüpfel (1789), Dobmayer (1807), and Brenner (1826). The ex-Jesuit Benedict Stattler (d. 1797) tried to apply to dogma the philosophy of Christian Wolff, Zimmer (1802), even that of Schelling. The only work which, joining soundness with a loyal Catholic spirit, marked a return to the old traditions of the School was the dogmatic theology of Liebermann (d. 1844), who taught at Strasburg and Mainz; it appeared in the years 1819-26 and went through many editions. But even Liebermann was not able to conceal his dislike for the Scholastics. The renewed attempt of Hermes (d. 1831) of Bonn to treat Catholic theology in a Kantian spirit was no less fatal than that of Günther (d. 1863) in Vienna, who sought to unravel the mysteries of Christianity by means of a modern Gnosis and to resolve them into purely natural truths. If positive and speculative theology were ever to be regenerated, it was by a return to the source of its vitality, the glorious traditions of the past.

E. Fifth Epoch: Restoration of Dogmatic Theology (1840-1900)

The reawakening of the Catholic life in the forties naturally brought with it a revival of Catholic theology. Germany especially, where the decline had gone farthest, showed signs of a remarkable regeneration and vigorous health. The external impulse was given by Joseph Görres (d. 1848), the "loud shouter in the fray". When the Prussian Government imprisoned Archbishop von Droste-Vischering of Cologne on account of the stand he had taken in the question of mixed marriages, the fiery appeals of Görres began to fill the hearts of the Catholics, even outside of Germany, with unwonted courage. The German theologians heard the call and once more applied themselves to the work which was theirs. Döllinger (d. 1890) developed Church history, and Möhler advanced patrology and symbolism. Both positive and speculative theology received a new lease of life, the former through Klee (d. 1840), the latter through Staudenmeier (d. 1856). At the same time men like Kleutgen (d. 1883), Werner (d. 1888), and Stöckl (d. 1895) earned for the despised Scholasticism a new place of honour by their thorough historical and systematic writings. In France and Belgium the dogmatic theology of Cardinal Gousset (d. 1866) of Reims and the writings of Bishop Malou of Bruges (d. 1865) exerted great influence. In North America the works of Archbishop Kenrick (d. 1863) did untold good. Cardinal Camille Mazzella (d. 1900) is to be ranked among the North American theologians, as he wrote his dogmatic works while occupying the chair of theology at Woodstock College, Maryland. In England the great Cardinals Wiseman (d. 1865), Manning (d. 1892), and Newman (d. 1890) became by their works and deeds powerful agents in the revival of Catholic life and in the advance of Catholic theology.

In Italy, where the better traditions had never been forgotten, far-seeing men like Sanseverino (d. 1865), Liberatore (d. 1892), and Tongiorgi (d. 1865) set to work to restore Scholastic philosophy, because it was found to be the most effective weapon against the errors of the time, i. e. traditionalism and ontologism, which had a numerous following among Catholic scholars in Italy, France, and Belgium. The pioneer work in positive theology fell to the lot of the famous Jesuit Perrone (d. 1876) in Rome. His works on dogmatic theology, scattered throughout the Catholic world, freed theology of the miasmas which had infected it. Under his leadership a brilliant phalanx of theologians, as Passaglia (d. 1887), Schrader (d. 1875), Cardinal Franzelin (d. 1886), Palmieri (d. 1909), and others, continued the work so happily begun and reasserted the right of the speculative element in the domain of theology. Eminent among the Dominicans was Cardinal Zigliara, an inspiring teacher and fertile author. Thus from Rome, the centre of Catholicism, where students from all countries foregathered, new life went forth and permeated all nations. Germany, where Baader (d. 1841), Günther, and Frohschammer (d. 1893) continued to spread their errors, shared in the general uplift and produced a number of prominent theologians, as Kuhn (d. 1887), Berlage (d. 1881), Dieringer (d. 1876), Oswald (d. 1903), Knoll (d. 1863), Denzinger (d. 1883), v. Schäzler (d. 1880), Bernard Jungmann (d. 1895), Heinrich (d. 1891), and others. But Germany's greatest theologian at this time was Joseph Scheeben (d. 1888), a man of remarkable talent for speculation. In the midst of this universal reawakening the Vatican Council was held (1870), and the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the value of Scholastic, especially Thomistic, philosophy and theology was issued (1879). Both these events became landmarks in the history of dogmatic theology. An energetic activity was put forth in every branch of sacred science and is still maintained. Even though, consulting the needs of the time and the hostile situation, theologians cultivate most assiduously historical studies, such as Church history, Christian archæology, history of dogma, and history of religion, yet signs are not wanting that, side by side with positive theology, Scholasticism also will enter upon a new era of progress. History shows that periods of progress in theology always follow in the wake of great oecumenical councils. After the first Council of Nicæa (325) came the great period of the Fathers; after the Fourth Lateran Council (l215) the wonderful age of mature Scholasticism; and after the Council of Trent (1545-63) the activity of later Scholasticism. It is not too much to hope that the Vatican Council which had to be adjourned indefinitely after a few general sessions, will be followed by a similar period of progress and splendour.

No critical history of Catholic dogma has as yet been written. In general cf. LAFORÊT, Coup d' oeil sur l'histoire de la Théologie dogmatique (Louvaln, 1851). Ample material is given in: POSSEVIN, Apparatus sacer (3 vols., Venice, 1603-06); DU PIN, Nouvelle Bibliothéque des auteurs ecclésiastiques (11 vols., Paris, 1686-1714); OUDIN, Commentarius de scriptoribus ecclesiasticus (3 vols., Leipzig, 1722); CAVE, Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum historia literaria (2nd ed., Oxford, 1740-43); FABRlCIUS, Bibliotheca latina medioe et infimoe oetatis (5 vols., Hamburg, 1734—); CEILLIER, Histoire générale des Auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques (2nd ed., 19 vols., Paris, 1858-70); SMITH AND WACE, Dict. Christ. Biog., MICHAUD, Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne (2nd ed., 45 vols., Paris, 1842-65); WERNER, Geschichte der apologetischen und polemischen Literatur der christl. Religion (5 vols., Schaffhausen, 1861—); CAPOZZA, Sulla Filosofia dei Padri e Dottori della Chiesa e in ispecialita di San Tommaso (Naples, 1868); WILLMANN, Geschichte des Idealismus (2nd ed., 3 vols., Brunswick, 1908). An invaluable work of reference is HURTER, Nomenclator. With regard to the several countries cf. TANNER, Bibliotheca Brittanico-Hibernica seu de scriptoribus, qui in Anglia, Scotia et Hibernia ad soec. xviii initium floruerunt (London, 1748); Dict. Nat. Biog. The MAURISTS published: Histoire littéraire de la France (12 vols., Paris, 1733-63), which was continued by the INSTITUT DE FRANCE (20 Vols., Paris, 1814-1906); MAZZUCHELLI, Gli scrittori d'ltalia (2 vols., Brescia, 1753-63); TIRABOSCHI, Storia della Letteratura italiana (13 vols., Modena, 1771-82); KRUMBACHER, Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur (2nd ed., Munich, 1897); WRIGHT, A Short History of Syriac Literature (London, 1894); CHABOT, Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium (Paris, 1903—). With regard to various religious orders cf. ZIEGEL-BAUER, Historia rei literarioe Ordinis S. Benedicti (4 vols., Augsburg, 1754); TASSIN, Histoire littéraire de la Congrégation de Saint-Maure (Brussels, 1770); WADDING, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (2nd ed., 2 vols., Rome, 1805); DE MARTIGNY, La Scolastique et les traditions franciscaines (Paris, 1888); FELDER, Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Studien im Franziskanerorden (Freiburg, 1904); QUÉTIF ECHARD, Scriptores Ordinis Proedicatorum (2 vols., Paris, 1719-21); REICHERT, Monumenta Ordinis Fratrum Proedicatorum historica (Rome, 1896—); DE VILLIERS, Bibliotheca, Carmelitana notis criticis et dissertationibus illustrata (2 vols., Orléans, 1752); DE VISCH, Bibliotheca scriptorum Ordinis Cisterciensis (2nd ed., Colm, 1656); GOOVAERTS, Dictionnaire biobibliographique des écrivains, artistes et savants de Ordre de Prémontré (2 vols., Brussels, 1899-1907); WINTER, Die Prämonstratenser des 12. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1865); OSSINGER, Bibliotheca Augustiniana historica, critica et chronologica (Ingolstadt, 1768); SOUTHWELL, Bibliotheca scriptorum Societatis Jesu (Rome, 1676); SOMMERVOGEL, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (9 vols., Brussels and Paris, 1890-1900), The histories of dogma by SCHWANE, HARNACK, TIXERONT, etc., may also be consulted with profit.

With regard to the special literature of the Patristic Period, cf. EHRHARD, Die altchristliche Literatur u. ihre Erforschung seit 1880 (2 vols., 1894-1900); DONALDSON, A Critical History of Christian Literature and Doctrine from the Death of the Apostles to the Nicene Council (3 vols., London, 1865-66); RICHARDSON, The Antenicene Fathers. A Bibliographical Synopsis (Buffalo, 1887); CRUTTWELL, A Literary History of Early Christianity (2 vols., London, 1893); SCHOENEMANN, Bibliotheca historico-litteraria Patrum latinorum a Tertulliano usque ad Gregorium M. et Isidorum Hispalensem (2 vols., Leipzig, 1792-94); HARNACK, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius (3 vols., Leipzig, 1893-1904); MÖHLER, Patrologie (Ratisbon, 1840); MIGNE-SEVESTRE, Dictionnaire de Patrologie (4 vols., Paris, 1851-55); NIRSCHL, Lehrbuch der Patrologie u. Patristik (3 vols., Mainz, 1881-85); ALZOG, Grundriss der Patrologie (4th ed., Freiburg, 1888); FESSLER-JUNGMANN, Institutiones Patrologioe (2 vols., Innsbruck, 1890-1896); BARDENHEWER, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur, I-II (Freiburg, 1902-3): IDEM, Patrologie (3rd ed., Freiburg, 1910); RAUSCHEN, Grundriss der Patrologie (3rd ed., Freiburg, 1910); STÖKL, Geschichte der christl. Philosophie zur Zeit der Kirchenväter (Mainz, 1891). Of great importance are also: A. HARNACK U. C. SCHMIDT, Texte u. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristl. Literatur (Leipzlg, 1882—); ROBINSON, Texts and Studies (Cambridge, 1891—); HEMMER-LEJAY, Textes et Documents (Paris, 1904—).

With regard to the middle Ages cf. especially SCHEEBEN, Dogmatik, I (Freiburg, 1873) 423 sqq.; GRABMANN, Geschichte der scholastichen Methode, I, II (Freiburg, 1909-11); IDEM in BUCHBERGER, Kirchliches Handlexikon, s. v. Scholastik; SIGHARDT, Albertus Magnus, sein Leben u. seine Werke (Ratisbon, 1857); WERNER, Der hl. Thomas von Aquin (3 vols., Ratisbon, 1858—); BACH, Die Dogmengeschichte des Mittelalters vom christologischen Standpunkt (2 vols., Vienna, 1873-75); SIMLER, Des sommes de théologie (Paris, 1871). With regard to the universities cf. BULÆUS, Historia Universitatis Parisiensis (Paris, 1665-73); DENIFLE, Die Universitäten des Mittelalters, I (Berlin, 1885); DENIFLE AND CHATELAIN, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis (4 vols., Paris, 1889-97); RASHDALL, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1895); FERET, La Faculté de Théologie de Paris et ses Docteurs les plus célèbres, I: Moyen-âge (4 vols., Paris. 1894-97); ROBERT, Les écoles et l'enseignement de la Théologie pendant la première moitié du XII siècle (Paris, 1909); MICHAEL, Geschichte des deutschen Volkes vom 3. Jahrh. bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters, II, III (Freiburg, 1899-1903); EBERT, Allgemeine, Geschichte der Literatur des Mittelalters im Abendlande (3 vols., Leipzig, 1874-87). With regard to Scholastic philosophy, cf. HAURÉAU, Histoire de la Philosophie scolastique (3 vols., Paris. 1872); DE WULF, History of Medieval Philosophy, tr. COFFEY (London, 1909); STÖCKL, Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters (3 vols., Mainz, 1864-66); BÄUMKER in Die Kultur der Gegenwart by HINNEBERG, I (Leipzig, 1909), 5; DENIFLE AND EHRLE, Archiv für Literatur- u. Kirchengeschichte (7 vols., Berlin and Freiburg, 1885-1900); BÄUMKER AND VON HERTLING, Beiträge zur Philosophie des Mittelalters (Münster, 1891—). On mysticism cf. PREGER, Geschichte der deutschen Mystik im Mittelalter (3 vols., Leipzig, 1874-93); LANGENBERG, Quellen u. Forschungen zur Geschichte der deutschen Mystik (Leipzig, 1904); RIBET, La Mystique divine (4 vols., Paris, 1895—); DELACROIX, Etudes d'histoire et de psychologie du Mysticisme (Paris, 1908).

On modern times cf. GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath.; FERET, La Faculté de Théologie de Paris et ses Docteurs les plus célèbres: II, Epoque moderne (3 vols., Paris, 1900-04); LAEMMER, Vortridentinische Theologen des Reformationszeitalters (Berlin, 1858); WERNER, Franz Suarez u. die Scholastik der letzten Jahrhunderte (2 vols., Ratisbon, 1860); IDEM, Geschichte der Theologie in Deutschland seit dem Trienter Konzil bis zur Gegenwart (2nd ed., Ratisbon, 1889); for the time of "Enlightenment" in particular, cf. RÖSCH, Das religiöse Leben in Hohenzollern unter dem Einfluss des Wessenbergianismus (Freiburg, 1908); IDEM, Ein neuer Historiker der Aufklärung (Freiburg, 1910); against him, MERKLE, Die katholische Beurteilung des Aufklärungszeitalters (Würzburg, 1909); IDEM, Die kirchliche Aufklärung im katholischen Deutschland (Würzburg, 1910); SÄGMÜLLER, Wissenschaft u. Glaube in der kirchlichen Aufklärung (Tübingen, 1910); IDEM, Unwissenschaftlichkeit u. Unglaube in der kirchlichen Aufklärung (Tübingen, 1911); HETTINGER, Thomas von Aquin u. die europäische Civilisation (Würzburg, 1880); WEHOFER, Die geistige Bewegung im Anschluss an die Thomas-Enzyklika Leo's XIII (1897); DE GROOT, Leo XIII u. der hl. Thomas (1897); BELLAMY, La Théologie catholique au XIX siècle (Paris, 1904).


Copyright ©1999-2023 Wildfire Fellowship, Inc all rights reserved