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whose niece he had seduced, he retires to the Abbey of St. Denis, while Heloise takes the veil at Argenteuil. In his retirement he writes the treatise De trinitate, a work which brings down upon his bead the wrath of the Church. The Council of Soissons condemns him to deliver his book to the flames (1122). At Nogent-sur-Seine he founds an Oratory, which he dedicates to the Trinity, and particularly to the Paraclete. This he afterwards surrenders to Heloise, in order to enter upon his duties as Abbot of St. Gildas de Ruys. Denounced as a heretic by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, he is again condemned, this time to imprisonment (1140); but he finds an unexpected refuge in the Abbey of Clugny, and a noble protector in Peter the Venerable, through whose efforts St. Bernard is finally moved to forgiveness. These troubles undermine his health, and cause his death in 1142. In addition to his De trinitate, we have to mention his Letters, his Introductio ad theologiam, and his Theologia christiana, his Ethics (Nosce te ipsum), the Diulogue between a Philosopher, a Christian, and a Jew, published by Reinwald (Berlin, 1831), and the treatise Sic et non, published by V. Cousin in the Ouvrages inédits d'Abélard (Paris, 1836).
Abelard is too speculative a thinker to accept the notions of Roscellinus, and too positivistic to subscribe to the theory of William of Champeaux. According to him, the universal exists in the individual; outside of the individual it exists only in the form of a concept. Moreover, though it exists in the individual as a reality, it exists there not as an essence but as an individual. If it existed in it essentially, or, in other terms, if it exhausted the essence of the individual, what would be the difference between Peter and Paul? Although Abelard's theory is not identical with nominalism, it comes very near it. It is to the ultra-idealistic doctrine of Champeaux what the concrete idealism of Aristotle is to the abstract idealism of Plato.
Abelard, who was not acquainted with Aristotle's Metaphysics, divines its contents from the few hints he gets from the Organon. That alone would assure him a high place among the doctors of the Middle Ages.
Abelard is, moreover, the most independent, the most courageous, and the most relentless among the Schoolmen. Though respectful towards the Church, he is not afraid of incurring its displeasure, when occasion demands it. He agrees with the author of the Cur Deus homo? that revealed truth and rational truth are identical, but he does not, like Anselmus, accept St. Augustine’s credo ut intelligam. It is surprising with what frankness his Introductio condemns the presumptuous credulity of those who inuliscriminately and hustily accept any doctrine whatsoever before considering its merits and whether it is worthy of belief. He is an enthusiastic admirer of Greek philosophy, which, however, as he himself confesses, he knows only from the works of St. Augustine. He finds all the essential doctrines of Christianity, its conception of God, the Trinity, and the incarnation, in the great thinkers of antiquity, and the distance between Paganism and the Gospel does not seem so great to him as that between the Old and the New Testaments. It is especially from the ethical point of view, he believes, that Greek philosophy has the advantage over the teachings of the sacred books of Israel. Hence, why should we deny the pagan thinkers eternal happiness because they did not know Christ? What is the Gospel but a reform of the natural moral law, legis naturalis reformatio? Shall we people hell with men whose lives and teachings are truly evangelical and apostolic in their perfection, and differ in nothing or very little from the Christian religion ? 2
1 Theologia christiana, Book II.: Quæ ex philosophis collegi testimonii, non er eorum scriptis, quae nunquam fortasse vidi, imo ex libris B. Augustini collegi.
? Theologia christiana, U.
How does Abelard manage to find such doctrines as the Srinity in Greek philosophy? The three persons are reduced to three attributes (proprietates non essentiæ) of the Divine Being: power, wisdom, and goodness. Taken separately, he says,' these three properties : power, knowledge, and will, are nothing ; but united they constitute the highest perfection (tota perfectio boni). The Trinity is the Being who can do what he wills, and who wills what he knows to be the best. From the theological stand-point, this is monarchism, a heresy opposed to the tritheism of Roscellinus. Metaphysically, it is concrete spiritualism, which denies that force and thought are separate entities, and holds that they are united in the will.
In times of religious fervor, morality is identified with piety, ethics with theology, while enlightened and sceptical periods tend to separate them. The first appearance of a system of ethics independent of dogmatics is therefore an important symptom. Such a work is Hildebert of Lavardin's popular treatise on ethics, Moralis philosophia, an imitation of Cicero and of Seneca; such is, above all, the much profounder and more scientific treatise of Abelard: Nosce te ipsum.
Not that Abelard dreams of separating ethics from ontology, as our independent moralists do. But the ov on which he bases the moral law is not the divine free-will of the Latin Fathers. Since God is the best and most perfect Being, all his acts are necessary. For, if it be right that a thing be done, it is wrong not to do it; and whoever fails to do what reason demands is no less at fault than he who does what it prohibits. And just as God's conduct is determined by reason, we, his creatures, are, in turn, determined by the divine will. Inasmuch as God is the absolute
. cause, the Being in whom we live, move, and have our being, and who is therefore the source of our power and will, it follows that God is, in a certain sense, also the author of whatever acts we may perform, and that he does what he makes us do (quod nos facere facit)."
1 Theologia christiana.
2 See $ 32.
The tendency to evil is not sin, but the condition of virtue, for virtue is a struggle, and all struggle presupposes opposition. Nor is the act as such the matter of the sin; the act as such is indifferent. The sin lies in the form of the act, that is, in the will which dictates it. Neither the tendency to evil nor the act in itself is sin, but the intention, though arrested, of satisfying an evil desire or indulging a passion. It follows that the man who has consented to an evil action and is hindered in its accomplishment by some circumstance or other, is as culpable as though he had performed it. The intention deserves punishment as much as the act, and he who consents to do evil has already done evil. The Supreme Juilge does not judge appearances and the outside, but the spirit. By distinguishing between the desire and the intention to surrender one's self to it, between the natural craving and the will to follow it, Abelard repudiates that exaggerated form of pessimism which regards the life of man as one perpetual sin; by characterizing the external act as indifferent, he attacks the growing formalism of Catholic morality. As was pointed out, the conceptualistic theory shows the first signs of the influence exerted by Aristotle on the Middle Ages. The ethics of Abelard reminds us of Aristotle and his ethics of the golden mean.
The influence of Abelard was considerable. We observe it in Bernard of Chartres called Sylvestris, in William of Conches, the learned professor of Paris, who, in his Philo. 1 Cf. the Ethics of Geulinex (5 51).
[Cf. Th. Ziegler, Abælard's Ethica, Freiburg, 1881. — Tr.] 3 Megacosmus et Microcosmus (ed. by C. S. Barach, 1876]; frag. ments published by ('onsin.
• Magna ile naturis philosophia: Dragmaticon philosophice, etc.; Philo sophia minor.
sophia minor, protests against ecclesiastical intolerance, in Gilbert de la Porrée, Bishop of Poitiers,” in John of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres, and even in his adversary Hugo of St. Victor. Gilbert is branded as an atheist by St. Bernard because he distinguishes between God and the Deity, between the person and the essence of the Supreme Being. “ The divine Spirit,” says John of Salisbury in his Polycraticus,4 “ the creator and giver of life, replenishes not only the human soul but every creature in the universe. ... For outside of God there is no substantial creature, and things exist only in so far as they share in the divine essence. By his omnipresence God envelopes his creatures, penetrates them and fills them full of himself. . . . All things, even the most insignificant, reveal God, but each reveals him in its own way. Just as the sunlight is different in the sapphire, the hyacinth, and the topaz, so, too, God reveals himself in an infinite variety of forms in different orders of creation."
The same freedom of form and the same monistic tendency as regards the matter, joined with the deepest and purest religious feeling, we find in Hugo of St. Victor, the first great mystic of the Middle Ages.
§ 35. Hugo of St. Victor We observe a most striking difference between Hugo of Blankenburg, a monk of St. Victor at Paris, (1096–1140),
· Philosophia minor, I., 23.
3 Died 1180. Opera, ed. Giles, 5 vols., Oxford, 1848 ; (also in Migne's collection, vol. 199; C. Schaarschmidt, Johannes Saresberiensis, etc., Leipsic, 1862. — Tr.).
* Polycraticus, I., 1, 5; III., 1; VII., 17.
6 Opera, Venice, 1588; Rouen, 1648; (Migne, vols. 175–177; Liebner, Hugo von St. Viktor, Leipsic, 1836; Preger, Geschichte der deutschen Mystik im Mittelalter, etc., Munich, 1875. - Tr.]