Western Civilization I, Week 25 – Medieval Times 2

(1) What kinds of developments occurred during the renaissance of the twelfth century?

The Twelfth century renaissance was a revival of interest in history, Latin literature, and Roman law. Latin philosophy and literature was being widely translated and read throughout the renaissance. Aristotle’s works were becoming popular and well known, so much so that they were used in most university curricula. People started writing down history as well as translating older historic documents. Roman law had a revival in the 12th century, which united the kingdoms together under one law. This was a good thing for Roman kings and people in high power because it gave them more control over the population.

(2) Discuss the origins and features of the university system in the High Middle Ages.

Medieval universities posed as places for education and discussion. They were often backed by the king and/or the pope, which is somewhat similar to today’s universities in that they were supported by a large authority figure. Unlike some of today’s universities, medieval universities were home to completely open discussion about any topic, including God, religion, and politics.

(3) What was Scholastic philosophy?

Scholastic philosophy dictates that conclusions you come to using human reasoning cannot be contradicted by conclusions learned from faith. Religious truths and logical truths are both valid, so therefore conclusions you come to by one must be valid by the other.

(4) Write a brief overview of the life and work of Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas was widely considered to be one of the most influential Western thinkers. Like the friars of the mendicant order, Aquinas chose to live a life of poverty. At the age of nineteen, he joined the Dominican Order, which is a Roman Catholic religious order, consisting of priests, nuns, sisters, and lay people. The Order is dedicated to holistic education and pursuit of the truth. His family was not happy about this and thought that imprisoning him in their home for a year would change his mind, a plan which failed miserably. Thomas Aquinas studied hard with the Dominican Order, becoming well-versed in the Bible as well as many other books. He became well known for his own writings, such as the Disputed Questions on Truth and the Summa contra Gentiles. He believed most aspects of religion could be analyzed and proven with logic, with the exception of a few. Aquinas became a professor and an assistant to several popes.

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