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Scholastic philosophers and theologians

800 years of Dominican books

The period of ‘scholasticism’ in philosophy and theology is best divided into two phases, early scholasticism in the twelfth century and high scholasticism in the thirteenth century. The term is used to describe the method of philosophical and theological speculation which evolved for teaching those subjects, first in the cathedral schools in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries and then in the universities which emerged in the second half of the twelfth century and became centres of scholastic teaching in the thirteenth century. Early scholastic writers included Augustinian canons (e.g. Hugh of St Victor, Richard of St Victor and Andrew of St Victor) and scholars associated with the cathedral schools (e.g. Anselm of Laon, Gilbert de la Porrée and Peter Lombard), and a few from the monastic orders such as Anselm of Canterbury. In the thirteenth century with the emergence of the orders of friars, above all the Dominicans and Franciscans, the mendicants came to dominate the teaching of philosophy and theology in universities such as Paris, Oxford and Cambridge, although scholars from the secular church were also involved. The leading Dominican scholastics were Hugh of Saint-Cher, Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.