The confusion between philosophy and theology, characteristic of the earlier centuries, gives those controversies a mixed complexion. It led the more ardent spirits to carry the purely rational method into delicate dogmatic questions. Moreover, those famous theological disputes synchronized with the spread of a diseased dialectic which came to a head in the eleventh century. This was a sort of a parasitic growth on philosophy (146): and it was applied to the disputes about dogma. Men like Gottschalk, Berengar and Roscelin did not escape the contagion. All put into practice, at least to some extent, the motto of Berengar: per omnia ad dialecticam confugere.
There was a reaction against this on the part of the theologians, who were men of a more practical turn, but who blamed dialectic itself for the excesses of the dialecticians. Ecclesiastical authority intervened; and sometimes its prohibitions were too sweeping. The hostility of the more timid among the theologians was excessive. But gradually a new tendency asserted itself in the direction of seeking an adjustment of the respective rights of reason and authority. The true relations between philosophy and theology were thus gradually brought into clearer light.
<< ======= >>