265. Outline. -- The scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas ushered in much that was new into the teaching of the Friars Preachers, and into the schools of the thirteenth century generally. It differed from all preceding systems in its more thoroughly peripatetic basis and in its superior doctrinal consistency. This new Domincian scholasticism was commenced by Albert of Bollstädt and brought to completion by St. Thomas of Aquin.
When St. Thomas had completed his work, Medieval Europe found itself in possession of one of its most remarkable monuments of constructive speculative thought. The scholasticity of the teaching shines out more clearly in the philosophy of St. Thomas than in any other system. By reason of its marked superiority (309) the Thomistic scholasticism enables us to grasp with greater ease those great, underlying, organic and constitutive ideas which characterize the scholasticism of the thirteenth century in general. We cannot study a system to better advantage than in the works of its ablest and most authoritative representative. It is for this reason, and not as giving him any undue monopoly of philosophical genius or knowledge, that we have decided to set forth the system admitted in common by all scholastic philosophers as such, in conjunction with our exposition of St. Thomas's own personal teaching (118, 238).
When we remember that the scholasticism of the thirteenth century occupies a central place in the evolution of ideas in the Middle Ages; that it unifies, completes and consolidates the doctrines of the earlier Middle Ages (134); that it inspires all the speculation of the few subsequent centuries, and is therefore rightly regarded as the culmination of Medieval Scholasticism; we can understand why this thirteenth-century teaching deserves the name of Scholasticism, simply and without qualification.
We shall deal successively with Albert the Great (§ 1) and with St. Thomas and the scholastic synthesis (§ 2).
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