Church History: 1200-1300
Here, in the 13th century, the world rediscovered Aristotle.
Previously, the Christian scholastic community had only fragments of his thought translated…then came the Crusades.
The Muslims had translated all of the philosophers works way back in the 9th century…and now the Christian world had acquired them through the wars with the Turks.
The writings sent shock waves through the Western church.
Dr. Frank James gives this progression of Aristotelean influence:
In 1210 a church council in Paris forbade anyone to read Aristotle.
In 1215, the 4th Lateran Council allowed his books on logic and ethics to be read, but nothing else.
By 1250, the elite University of Paris makes Aristotle required reading to become a theologian.
Aquinas went on to be one the foremost apologists, philosophers, and theologians of all time.
He is still the primary theological voice of the Roman Catholic Church.
His philosophic and apologetic works are still consulted and debated inside and out of the church.
His greatest theological work was the “Summa Theologica” his systematic “sum of all theology”.
Interestingly, he never finished it.
One day after the Mass he had a vision…and as a result he decided he would never write again.
“I have seen a vision of God and everything I’ve written is straw”.
History has decided otherwise…but I suspect all theologians will have that vision in the end.
Names You Should Know:
John Duns Scotus: philosopher and theologian
St Francis of Assisi: founder of the Franciscan order
The Inquisition began in 1252