THE present Essay is prepared, by request of the Concord School of Philosophy, as a contribution to its Summer Session of 1887. The Essay proposes to establish two points:
1. Documents not long discovered and only recently availed of, have enabled the Author to place, for the first time, he believes, before the English reader, the true record of the attitude of the Church towards the Aristotelian Philosophy, from its condemnation by the Council of Paris in 1209 to its full recognition by the Legates of Pope Urban V. in 1366. This has been hitherto a vexed question, but ill-understood and ill-explained.
2. The Author has also endeavoured to show the spirit in which the Schoolmen worked, and to prove that the Philosophy evolved by them is as distinct from that of the Lyceum as Saint Peter's is from the Parthenon. Aristotle's influence is there; his terms and his formulas are employed, but the inner spirit and the guiding principle are far different.
In developing these two points, the Author has made no effort to exhaust his subject. He is content to throw out suggestions and indicate lines of thought which the reader may pursue into further details. The subject is no less vast than it is important. The literature which has grown out of it is rich, varied, and extensive. Cardinal Manning, in a letter addressed to the Author upon reading the proof-sheets, shows cause why this importance attaches to the subject. With the permission of His Eminence, the Author publishes that letter, which will have all the more weight when it is remembered that His Eminence in early manhood was moulded in the Aristotelian discipline which St. Edmund had introduced into Oxford, and that later on, His Eminence learned to appreciate the depth and grasp and power of St. Thomas.
ARCHBISHOP'S HOUSE, WESTMINSTER, S. W.,
Aug. 6, 1887.
DEAR BROTHER AZARIAS: -- I returned from our Annual Retreat only last night, and send back with my thanks your proofs on Aristotle and the Christian Church.
It shows very industrious and extensive research, and is full of interest to Catholic students. The supremacy of Aristotle in the intellectual world of nature, and that of St. Thomas in the illumination of faith, are the two great lights of natural and supernatural truth. From the time of St. Edmund, who brought the study of Aristotle from Paris to Oxford, the tradition of study at Oxford rested on Aristotle and Faith. Now it has wandered to the world of Rationalism, which Aristotle and St. Thomas purified.
Your book will be very useful in recalling students to the world-wide philosophy of the Catholic Church. I wish you all blessings in your studies.
Believe me. always
Yours faithfully in J. C.,
HENRY E., Cardinal-Archbishop.
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