Scholastic Theology and the Rise of Mendicant Orders

I. The Rise of the Mendicant Orders

A. Before the 12th century: secular & regular clergy

B. Friars/ mendicants: (observant/conventual, calsed/discaled)

  • Carmelites (O Carm.) founded in 1154
  • Francisians (O.F.M.)
  • Dominicans (O.P.)
  • Augustinian Hermits (O.E.S.A.)

Friars and Mendicants had general features & observations. They are founded in response to lack of preaching. There emphasis is on the word and the sacraments. Here there is a tension between the Pope and the Priests. The mendicants were committed to living the vita apostolica (apostolic life) –Mendicant lifestyle included iteration. Mendicant means begging lifestyle. There are differing views including observant or conventual, callused or discallused (non-sandaled or sandals) You know whether plays a big role. Those who lived in colder climates usually wore sandals. This becomes the controversies of callused or discallused. It was based in several cities, not a rural movement. You need someone to support you. Later on itineration fails because so many are doing it. Thus friaries are founded. These mendicant orders report directly to the Pope.

C. The Franciscan Order: charity, humility, preaching. This order is of course founded by Francis of Assisi, after young Francis’s spiritual crisis he wanted to foster spiritual renewal O.F.M.. The order emphasized charity & humility. There is an emphasis here more on the human will rather than the human intellect. It is a ministry of preaching as well.

D. The Dominican Order. This is an order founded by Dominican. He failed to convert the Albigensian mission. One of the reasons he felt that he had failed was due to the fact that he was alone. He needed more help. This order arises as a result of out of established centers in Paris, Bologna, and Rome. It was a learned order from the outset. (O.P.) But where the O.F.M. stressed love and the will, the O.P. stressed knowledge and the intellect. Both the Franciscans and the Dominicans have no parishes. Therefore, their theology is detached from the pastoral office. Yet they are pastoral office, a very much Parachurch organization.


II. The Rise of the Schools and University is not covered in the lecture.


III. The Distinctives of the Scholastic Method

  • Scholasticism and the Development of the quaestio In Medieval theology quaestio is a special format of teaching. There would be on question that a class or school would work through together.
  • Monastic Theology. Essays, dialogues, and florilegia (flowering) collations of the best of the church fathers.
  • Peter Abelard’s Sic et Non, in 1122. His first theology book was a first systematic theology book of the West. It is a teaching text book with topics broken down. He will have two quotations of the church father’s in contradictory responses.
  • Peter Lombards book, “Books of 4 Sentences”, in 1152 in this we have God (theology Proper), Creation, Incarnation, and the Sacraments. It is a work similar to Abelard’s book, yet he asked precise questions, uncovered tensions and differently than Abelard gives a definitive answer.
  • The Form and Agenda of scholasticism is to be methodical, logical, and focused.
  • The quaestio and its variations. The quaestio or question (the teacher lectures) Then there is also the disputatio or disputation (The Teacher sets the question and students argue them) Finally there is also the quodibetal disputatio which is a spontaneous question.
  • How to read a quaestio?
    1. Question (major parts of the topic)
    2. Article or sub-question (“whether…”)
    3. Objections (“It would seem that…)
    4. Sed contra (“On the contrary…)
    5. Respondeo (“I answer that this way…”)
    6. Objections answer (“Ad. 1,)