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theologian aims to prove is not the existence of the GodIdea of Plato and Hegel, but the existence of the personal God. However that may be, we hardly know what to admire most, - St. Anselm's broad and deep conception, or the sagacity of his opponent who, in the seclusion of his cell, anticipates the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant.
The rationalistic tendency which we have just noticed in the Monologium and the Proslogium meets us again in the Cur Deus homo? Why did God become man? The first word of the title sufficiently indicates the philosophical trend of the treatise. The object is to search for the causes of the incarnation. The incarnation, according to St. Anselm, necessarily follows from the necessity of redemption. Sin is an offence against the majesty of God. In spite of his goodness, God cannot pardon sin without compounding with honor and justice. On the other hand, he cannot revenge himself on man for his offended honor; for sin is an offence of infinite degree, and therefore demands infinite satisfaction; which means that he must either destroy humanity or inflict upon it the eternal punishments of hell. Now, in either case, the goal of creation, .
, the happiness of his creatures, would be missed and the honor of the Creator compromised. There is but one way for God to escape this dilemma without affecting his honor, and that is to arrange for some kind of satisfaction. He must have infinite satisfaction, because the offence is immeasurable. Now, in so far as man is a finite being and incapable of satisfying divine justice in an infinite measure, the infinite being himself must take the matter in charge; he must have recourse to substitution. Hence, the necessity of the incarnation. God becomes man in Christ; Christ suffers and dies in our stead; thus he acquires an infinite merit and the right to an equivalent recompense. But since the world belongs to the Creator, and nothing can be added to its treasures, the recompense which by
right belongs to Christ falls to the lot of the human race in which he is incorporated : humanity is pardoned, forgiven, and saved.
Theological criticism has repudiated Anselm's theory, which bears the stamp of the spirit of chivalry and of feudal customs. But, notwithstanding the attacks of a superficial rationalism, there is an abiding element of truth in it: over and above each personal and variable will there is an absolute, immutable, and incorruptible will, called justice, honor, and duty, in conformity with the customs of the times.
We have now to speak of the part the great Schoolman played in the discussion that arose after his promotion to the Archbishopric of Canterbury: I mean the controversy between the realists and the nominalists, or let me rather say, between the idealists and the materialists, -- for this “ monkish quarrel " was in reality a conflict between metaphysical principles.
§ 33. Realism and Nominalism The Catholic or universal Church does not merely aim to be an aggregation of particular Christian communities and of the believers composing them; she regards herself as a superior power, as a reality distinct from and inde. pendent of the individuals belonging to the fold. If the Idea, that is, the general or universal (tò kalónov), were
1 We should say realists instead of “materialists,” were it not for the fact that the former term was, during the Middle Ages, applied to the opposite side. We mean the party which unduly emphasizes the real or material principle, and which in the history of medieval phil. osophy represents Ionianism and Peripateticism, as distinguished from Academic idealism.
? [C. S. Barach, Zur Geschichte des Nominalismus ror Roscellin, Vienna, 1866; J. H. Löwe, Der Kampf zwischen dem Realismus und Nominalismus im Mittelalter, sein Ursprung und sein Verlauf, Pragne. 1876. fr.)
not a reality, " the Church” would be a mere collective term, and the particular churches, or rather the individuals composing them, would be the only realities. Hence, the Church must be realistic, and declare with the Academy: Universalia sunt realia. Catholicism is synonymous with realism. Common-sense, on the other hand, tends to regard universals as mere notions of the mind, as signs designating a collection of individuals, as abstractions having no objective reality. According to it, individuals alone are real, and its motto is : Universalia sunt nomina ; it is nominalistic, individualistic.
The latter view was advanced and developed about 1090 by ROSCELLINUS, a canon of Compiègne. According to him, universals are mere names, vocis flatus, and only particular things have real existence. Though this thesis seemed quite harmless, it was, nevertheless, full of heresies. If the individual alone is real, the Church is but a flaius vocis, and the individuals composing it are the only realities. If the individual alone is real, Catholicism is no more than a collection of individual convictions, and there is nothing real, solid, and positive, but the personal faith of the Christian. If the individual alone is real, original sin is a mere phrase, and individual and personal sin alone is real. If the individual alone is real, there is nothing real in God except the three persons, – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and the common essence which, according to the Church, unites them into one God, is a mere nomen, a flatus vocis. Roscellinus, who is especially emphatic on
1 Let me remind the reader that in the Middle Ages the term realist meant idealist, that is, the direct opposite of what it means
The same is true of the words objective and subjective. What we call objective, Scholastic philosophy calls subjective (viz., that which exists as a subject, substance, or reality independent of my thought); while what we call subjective is called objective (viz., that which exists merely as an object of thought and not as a real subject). This ter: minology, the converse of ours, is still found in Descartes and Spinoza.
the latter point, is not content with defending his tritheistic heresy; he takes the offensive and accuses his adversaries of heresy. To hold that the Eternal Father himself became man in Christ in order to suffer and die on Cal. vary, is a heresy condemned by the Church as Patripassianism. Now, if the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have the same essence, and if this essence is an objective reality, it follows that the essence of the Father or the Father himself became man in Christ: a statement which is explicitly contradicted by Scripture and the Church herself.
Roscellinus had pointed out a difficulty in the dogma, — an offence for which the Church never forgave him. The Council of Soissons condemned his heresy and forced him to retract (1092). Nominalism thus anathematized held its peace for more than two centuries, and did not reappear until about 1320, in the doctrine of Occam.
The most ardent champions of realism in the controversy aroused by the canon of ('ompiègne were St. Anselm and William of Champeaux, a professor at Paris and afterwards Bishop of Châlons.) St. Anselm combated not only the dogmatic heresy but also the philosophical heresy, namely, the negation of Platonic idealism, the antithesis of speculative philosophy. “ Reason,” he says,2 " is so confused with corporeal ideas in their souls (he is speaking of the nominalists), that they find it impossible to get rid of them and to separate from such material ideas that which ought to be considered in itself and independently of all corporeal intermixture. .. They cannot understand that man is something more than an individual.”
WILLIAM OF CHAMPEAUX deduces the extreme conse
1 Died 1121. [Michaud, Guillaume de Champeaux et les écoles do Paris au XI]me siècle, Paris, 1868. — Tr.]
2 De fide trin., c. 2. We were, therefore, justified in translating nominalism by the word materialism, p. 219.
quences of realism. According to him, nothing is real but the universal; individuals are mere flatus rocis.
From the anthropological point of view, for example, there is in reality, according to Champeaux, but one man, the universal man, the man-type, the genus man. All individuals are fundamentally the same, and differ only in the accidental modifications of their common essence. Champeaux is but a step removed from pure pantheism, and yet he is the defender of orthodoxy, the passionate adversary of the heresy of Roscellinus! What a strange confusion of ideas and interests! What an intellectual chaos, out of which the Catholic theology of our day is with difficulty beginning to bring order!
Between extreme nominalism, which says: Universale post rem, and extreme realism, which has for its motto: Unirersale ante rem, there was room for a doctrine of mediation, which may be summarized as follows: Universale neque ante rem nec post rem, sed In RE. This we get in the conceptualism of Abelard.
$ 34. Abelard PIERRE ABELARD, or Abailard,1 was born in Palais, near Nantes, 1079, and studied at Paris under William of Champeaux, the most skilful controversialist of the period. Quarrelling with his teacher, who was jealous of his pupil's brilliant talents, Abelard, though only twenty-two years of age, opens a school at Melun, then at Corbeil. His reconciliation with Champeaux brings him back to Paris, where he meets with unparalleled success as a teacher. Falling a victim to the vindictiveness of the canon Fulbert,
1 Abaelardi Opera, ed. Cousin, 1819-59 ; V. Cousin's Introduction to Ourrages inéilits di’Abelard, Paris, 1836 ; Cousin, Fragments de phi losophie scolastique, Paris, 1810 ; Charles de Rémusat, Ablard, 2 vols., Paris. 1815; (Hausrath. Peler Abelaril, Leipsic, 1892).