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This chapter comprises a historical survey of the main religious and societal changes that occurred in the 11th and 12th centuries, including the founding of new religious orders (Cistercians, Augustinian canons).
This chapter discusses the exciting thought of 9th-century philosopher and theologian John Eriugena Scottus, with particular attention to his views on faith and reason and an in-depth discussion of his masterpiece The Division of Nature (Periphyseon).
This chapter offers a survey of three authors who exerted a strong influence on medieval theology: John Cassian (who transmitted the spirituality of the Egyptian Desert Fathers to the Latin West), Boethius (whose Consolation of Philosophy is discussed in some detail) and Pseudo-Dionysius (who is the father of apophatic theology).
This chapter examines the theology of St. Anselm of Canterbury, with specific attention to how he conceives of reason and faith, his Proslogion (and the so-called ontological proof for the existence of God), his notion of freedom and his soteriology as expounded in his major work Cur Deus Homo.
Early Franciscan theology exerted an important influence but remains insufficiently known. This chapter treats of English theologians Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon, and the work attributed to Alexander of Hales and his circle, the Summa Halensis. It discusses topics such as the Trinity, salvation and the nature of theological science.
This chapter considers major thinkers of the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Peter Abelard's views on the relation between faith and reason, as well as his views on the Trinity and salvation, are discussed, along with the criticism by William of St. Thierry and Bernard of Clairvaux. The theology of these two Cisterican authors is also examined, especially their views on faith and reason, salvation and love.
In this chapter the Condemnations of 1277 are discussed. While their impact might have been overstressed in the past, they remain an important landmark, with important consequences for how thinkers conceived of the relation between faith and reason, theology and philosophy. Rather than resulting in a separation of faith and reason, theology and philosophy, it led to a different notion of theological reason (more analytical, more pluralist and less sacramental).
This new chapter considers the achievements of remarkable writer, composer and visionary Hildegard of Bingen. After an outline of her life and her writings, her views on creation, humankind as microcosm, fall and redemption receive particular attention.
The theology and spirituality of Meister Eckhart remains a source of wisdom and controversy. This chapter outlines his spirituality in light of his scholastic views on intellect, and then considers in detail his celebrated notion of detachment.
Thomas Aquinas, the most important theologian of the medieval Latin Church, receives ample treatment in this chapter. It covers his understanding of theology, God’s existence and God-talk, theology of the Trinity, the theological virtues and salvation.
The theology of Albert the Great (the teacher of Thomas Aquinas) remains understudied. Here Albert’s life and writings are introduced, with special attention to his theology of the Trinity, theology as science, union with God and the nature of happiness.