Background to Universities • 9th-13th centuries: population explosion • Primogeniture • Earlier schools – monastery schools, cathedral schools, private tutors/schools
“I will not speak of those logicians before whose eves flitted constantly ‘the lice of Egypt,’ that is to say, all the sophistical subtleties, so that no one could comprehend their eloquent discourses in which, as says Isaiah, ‘there is no wisdom.’ As to the doctors of theology, ‘seated, in Moses' seat,’ they were swollen with learning, but their charity was not edifying. Teaching and not practicing, they have ‘become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal,’ or like a canal of stone, always dry, which ought to carry water to ‘the bed of spices.’ They not only hated one another, but by their flatteries they enticed away the students of others; each one seeking his own glory, but caring not a whit about the welfare of souls.” - Jacques de Vitry, 13th century
Peter Abelard (1079-1142) “Thus it came about that my teaching won such strength and authority that even those who before had clung most vehemently to my former master, and most bitterly attacked my doctrines, now flocked to my school.”
Birth of Universities • Founded on guild principle • University = group of organized workers. Denotes totality of the group. • Mobile – universities own no buildings and are not tied to locations.
Paris • University of Masters • Charter granted 1200, organized 1150-70 • Known for theology
Bologna • Officially organized in 1200; actually organized ~1150 • Known for Law • University of Students • Defense against townspeople • Defense against “their other enemies, the professors”
The Professor Must... • Not be absent without leave • Be able to attract more than 5 students • Begin with the bell and end with the bell • Not skip chapters of commentary • Not postpone difficulties until the end of the hour • Cover ground systematically and completely
Other Universities • Oxford: 1220 • Salerno: 1231, known for medicine (but it was a center for medical learning before then) • Size of universities: 200-800 Biggest = ~2,500. • ~1200: universities have become intellectual centers of Europe
“I, a wandering scholar lad, Born for toil and sadness, Oftentimes am driven by Poverty to madness. These torn clothes that cover me Are too thin and rotten; Oft I have to suffer cold, By the warmth forgotten” Bibit hera, bibit herus, Bibit miles, bibit clerus, Bibit ille, bibit illa, Bibit serrus cum ancilla, Bibit velox, bibit piger, Bibit albus, bibit niger, Bibit constans, bibit vagus, Bibit rudis, bibit magus.
Curriculum • B.A. – liberal arts + 3 philosophies. 4 yrs. • Emphasis on grammar declines; emphasis on logic increases • M.A. – emphasis on 3 philosophies. 2 yrs. • Medicine – 5-6 yrs. • Law – 7-8 yrs. • Theology – 8-16 yrs.
The Ancients in Medieval Schools • Plato: 11th and 12th centuries. Mostly Timaeus • Aristotle: late 12th-13th centuries. Especially logic, natural philosophy - Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus (Albert the Great)
Thomas Aquinas (1224-74) • Goal is to reconcile philosophy and especially Aristotle with theology • Philosophy = handmaiden to theology
Scholastic Humanism • Scholasticism – attempt to collect and assimilate all knowledge. Very optimistic • Humanism – affirmation of human reason. “Even though the natural light of the human mind is inadequate to make known what is revealed by faith, nevertheless what is divinely taught to us by faith cannot be contrary to what we are endowed with by nature. One or the other would have to be false, and since we have both or them from God, He would be the cause of our error, which is impossible.” - Thomas Aquinas
Disputation method – much simplified • Q: Whether the Earth is round? • Objection 1: We would fall off • Objection 2: It appears to be flat • Reply 1: Gravity • Reply 2: It’s really big. • Q Resolved: The Earth is round.
Impact on European Life • Recovery of lost knowledge • Provides educated and literate bureaucrats for courts • Textual communities that are able to discuss questions across geographical and chronological boundaries • Intellectual freedom – compare to Islam