ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

274. Place in Theology. -- St. Thomas is also the prince of thirteenth-century theologians. He expanded theological teaching; gave new and complete solutions of a multitude of questions; and, above all, co-ordinated the materials of Catholic theology in a monumental system which has won the admiration of posterity. He utilizes the two constructive methods of scholastic theology: Authority, embodied in the Scriptures and Tradition, furnishes theology with its own proper and cogent arguments; the contribution of Dialectic,{1} or philosophical reasoning, is subsidiary and of secondary importance (181).

To this latter method, nevertheless, St. Thomas is constantly recurring: in the employment of the peripatetic philosophy for the defence of dogma the Angelic doctor is unsurpassed. And as a result of this combination of arguments from reason and from faith, theology assumes in his hands a speculative and rational appearance which not one of his predecessors -- not even his own master -- had succeeded in giving it.{2} {1} See Prologue to the Commentary on the Sentences, art. v. Fr. GARDEIL has clearly expounded the relations of these two methods in an article entitled La Réforme de la Théologie catholique. La Documentation de Saint Thomas (Revue thomiste, May-June, 1903, pp. 199 and foIl.).

{2} A contemporary of St. Thomas, the Dominican, Raymond Martin, is the author of a polemical treatise on apologetics, Pugio fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos (printed in 1687), several passages of which occur, almost word for word, in the Summa contra Gentes. Martin was distinguished for his knowledge of rabbinical Hebrew and Arabic, throughout the schools of Spain, where the provincial chapter of Toledo (1250) had ordered the establishment of chairs for the teaching of the Oriental languages. He made use of many Arabian works, especially those of Averroës. In the opinion of M. MIGUEL ASIN Y PALACIOS, St. Thomas was acquainted with this work of Martin and utilized the latter's knowledge of Arabic as he did the acquirements of William of Moerbeke in Greek (El Averroïsmo teologico de Sto. Tomas de Aquino, pp. 322-24).

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