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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

A sect of men, in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, who framed a new sort of divinity, called Scholastic Theology. (

See last article.) Their divinity was founded upon, and confirmed by, the philosophy of Aristotle, and lay, says Dr. Gill, in contentions and litigious disputations, in thorny questions and subtle distinctions. Their whole scheme was chiefly directed to support Antichristianism; so that by their means Popish darkness was the more increased, and Christian divinity almost banished out of the world. "Considerint them as to their metaphysical researches, " says an anonymous but excellent writer, "they fatigued their readers in the pursuit of endless abstractions and distinctions; and their design seems rather to have been accurately to arrange and define the objects of thought than to explore the mental faculties themselves.

The nature of particular and universal ideas, time, space, infinity, together with the mode of existence to be ascribed to the Supreme Being, chiefly engaged the attention of the mightiest minds in the middle ages. Acute in the highest degree, and endued with a wonderful patience of thinking they yet, by a mistaken direction of their powers, wasted themselves in endless logomachies, and displayed more of a teazing subtlety than of philosophical depth. They chose rather to strike into the dark and intricate by-paths of metaphysical science, than to pursue a career of useful discovery; and as their disquisitions were neither adorned by taste, nor reared on a basis of extensive knowledge, they gradually fell into neglect, when juster views in philosophy made their appearance. Still they will remain a mighty monument of the utmost which the mind of man can accomplish in the field of abstraction. If the metaphysician does not find in the schoolmen the materials of his work, he will preceive the study of their writings to be of excellent benefit in sharpening his tools. they will aid his acuteness, though they may fail to enlarge his knowledge." Some of the most famous were, Damascene, Lanfranc, P. Lombard, Alex. Hales, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Durandus. Gill's Body of Divinity, Preface; Elective Rev. for Dec. 1805; H. More's Hints to a Young Princess, vol. 2: p. 267, 268.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(pl.) of Schoolman

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [3]

Teachers of the Scholastic Philosophy ( q. v .).