scholasticism and monasticism

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What is Monasticism?Etymological Definition Originated from the Greek word monachos, derived from Greek monos, meaning alone. It is the religious practice in which one renounces worldly pursuits in order to fully devote one's life to spiritual work. Real Definition of Monasticism It is a form of religious life, usually conducted in a community under a common rule. A life bounded by ascetical practices expressed typically in the vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, called the evangelical counsels.

Kinds of Monasticism1. Cenobitic Monasticism It is the more usual form known characterized by a completely communal style of life. It is based on life in common (Greek koinobion), characterized by strict discipline, regular worship, and manual work. 2. Eremitic Monasticism Eremitic monasticism refers to monks who dwell alone ("eremites" or "hermits").

Christian MonasticismA several diverse forms of religious living in response to the call of Jesus of Nazareth to follow him. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the Scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Church law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Christian monasticism is a way of religious living or the "counsels of perfection" that is being embraced as a vocation from God out of a desire to attain eternal life in his presence.

Brief History of MonasticismMonasticism in the Eastern ChurchChristian monasticism had its origin in the Egyptian deserts in the 3rd4th century. *St. Anthony the Great [The Father of monasticism] The Monastery of Saint Anthony is the oldest Christian monastery in the world.

*St. Pachomius A monk who organized the first cenobitic community The lauracells arranged into a monastic village, sometimes of very great size. *St. Basil the Great. He wrought the uniformity in Eastern monasticism. He favored the cenobitic style and stressed manual labor and obedience in opposition to the extravagances of much of early monasticism.

Monasticism in the East has changed little since the 4th century. The monks devote their day to lengthy liturgies and simple work. They do not usually become priests and do not value learning. Eastern monks do not belong to different orders with specialized functions. Mount Athos- the great center of monasticism in the Eastern Church.

*Mar Awgin He founded a monastery on Mt. Izla above Nisibis in Mesopotamia and from this monastery the cenobitic tradition spread in Mesopotamia, Persia, Armenia,Georgia and even India and China. *St. Sabbas the Sanctified He organized the monks of the Judean Desert in a monastery close to Bethlehem (483), and this is considered the mother of all monasteries of the Eastern Orthodox churches.

Monasticism in the Western ChurchImitated those of the East. Western forms of monasticism spread with Christianity to Ireland, where the church was organized (6th cent.) around the monasteries, which served as centers. Significant development occurred when the rules for monastic communities were written

*St. Basil Was credited with having been the first to write the rules for monastic communities. Rule of Saint Benedict created by Benedict of Nursia for his monastery in Monte Cassino, Italy (c. 529), and the other monasteries he himself had founded (cf. Order of St Benedict). It would become the most common rule throughout the Middle Ages and is still in use today. *St. Benedict (6th cent.) began the work from which sprang the Benedictines and the more moderate monastic rule that gradually became universal in the Westeven the Celtic foundations assimilating to the Benedictine practice. Monasteries were islands of stability, and their inhabitants, almost alone, preserved learning in the West.

What is Scholasticism?Etymological Definition It comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means "that [which] belongs to the school", and was a method of learning taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 11001500. Real Definition of Scholasticism It is the system of theological and philosophical teaching predominant in the Middle Ages, based chiefly upon the authority of the church fathers and of Aristotle and his commentators. A narrow adherence to traditional teachings, doctrines, or methods. It is the philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages of all medieval philosophers of any significance were theologians, and their philosophy is generally embodied in their theological writings.

Basic to all scholastic thought was the conjunction of faith and reason. --the use of reason to deepen the understanding of what is believed on faith and ultimately to give a rational content to faith. It was in the course of applying reason to faith that medieval thinkers developed and taught important philosophical ideas not directly related to theology. A tool and method for learning which puts emphasis on dialectical reasoning. The primary purpose of scholasticism: To find the answer to a question or resolve a contradiction.

Scholastic methodThe scholastics would choose a book by a renowned scholar, called auctor (author), as a subject of investigation. By reading the book thoroughly and critically, the disciples learned to appreciate the theories of the auctor. Then other documents related to the source document would be referenced. The points of disagreement and contention between these multiple sources would be written down. Through a series of dialectics the two sides of an argument would be made whole so that they would be found to be in agreement and not contradictory. This was done in two ways: Philological analysis, where words were examined and it would be argued they could have more than one meaning, that the author could have intended the word to mean something else. 2. Logical analysis which relied on the rules of formal logic to show contradictions did not exist, but were subjective to the reader.

Scholastic schoolsScholastic schools had two methods of teaching 1. Lectio a simple reading of a text, the instructors explained, and silence for the students. 2. Disputatio the heart of the scholastic method There were two types of disputatios 1. Ordinary the question to be disputed was announced beforehand. 2. Quodlibetal the students would propose the question to the teacher without any prior preparation

Influences on ScholasticismSt. Augustine, the greatest of earlier Christian philosophers who saw in Plato or in Neoplatonism a system congenial with Christianity. The knowledge of ancient philosophy came to the early scholastics through the writings of Boethius. John Scotus Erigena continued the tradition of Neoplatonism in the 9th cent., adding to it certain mystical notions of his own.The following authors and works were commonly used as auctores: Plato (specifically, the Timaeus) Aristotle ("The Philosopher") The Bible Saint Augustine Boethius and his Consolation of Philosophy Avicenna (especially The Book of Healing) Peter Lombard (specifically, his Sentences) Averroes ("The Commentator")

Early ScholasticismSt. Anselm in the late 11th cent. took as his life's motto fides quaerens intelligentiam [faith seeking understanding], and sought to use reason to illuminate the content of belief. Peter Abelard taught a moderate doctrine; he recognized the universal as a symbol to which human beings have attached a commonly agreed significance, based on the similarity they perceive in different objects. Abelard's emphasis on the powers of reason, which he exaggerated in his early years, led to his condemnation by Bernard of Clairvaux. John of Salisbury, an English scholar noted for his humanistic studies, was representative of the important work done at the noted school at Chartres. Hugh of St. Victor, a German scholar and mystic, urged the study of every branch of learning. Treatise On Sacraments was the first summa, an important medieval literary genre.

Peter Lombard The Book of Sentences, was to become the classical source book for medieval thinkers. It was a compilation of sources from the church fathers, especially St. Augustine, and in subsequent years virtually every great medieval thinker wrote a commentary on the Sentences. Anselm of Canterbury misleadingly called the 'Father of Scholasticism' because of the prominent place that reason has in his theology; instead of establishing his points by appeal to authority, he presents arguments to demonstrate why it is that the things he believes on authority must be so. The Golden Age 13th century- the golden age of medieval philosophy. It was marked by two important developments: 1. The growth of universities, especially at Paris and Oxford 2. The introduction of Aristotle into the West. The University. of Paris- leading center for the study of Aristotle and attracted scholars from all over Europe The Dominicans and Franciscans- played a leading role in the expansion of the universities and the development of scholasticism. It was in the universities that the two traditional forms of scholastic literature were developed: the question and the commentary.

Albertus Magnus, the first Western Aristotelian who was an important student of the natural sciences as well. St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican and one of the greatest intellectual figures of the Middle Ages became the leading figure in the movement to Christianize Aristotle . He produced a vast body of philosophical work, which was remarkably precise, detailed, and organized. He demonstrated that reason could lead man to many of the great spiritual truths and could help him to understand those truths that he accepted on faith and attacked the Averroist teaching that denied


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