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§ 106. Alexander of Hales.


§ 95. Alex. of Hales: Summa universae theologiae, Venice, 1475, Nürnberg, 1482, Basel, 1502, Cologne, 1611, 4 vols.—Wadding: Annal. Min., III.—Stöckl: Phil. des Mittelalters, II. 313–326.—K. Müller: Der Umschwung in der Lehre Soon der Busse, etc., Freib., 1892.—The Doctrinal Histories of Schwane, Harnack, Seeberg, etc., Dict. of Natl. Biogr., I. 272 sq.

The culmination of Scholasticism falls in the thirteenth century. It is no longer as confident in the ability of reason to prove all theological questions as it was in the days of Anselm and Abaelard a hundred years before. The ethical element comes into prominence. A modified realism prevails. The syllogism is elaborated. The question is discussed whether theology is a science or not. The authority of Aristotle becomes, if possible, more binding. All his writings have become available through translations. The teachings of Averrhoes, Avicenna, and other Arabic philosophers are made known. The chief Schoolmen belong to one of the two great mendicant orders. To the Franciscan order belonged Alexander of Hales, Bonaventura, Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon, and Raymundus Lullus. Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas were Dominicans. All these men had to do with the universities.

Alexander of Hales (Halesius or Halensis), called by his pupils the Irrefragable Doctor—doctor irrefragabilis — and the king of theologians—monarcha theologorum — was born at Hales, Gloucestershire, England, and died in Paris, 1245. After reaching the dignity of archdeacon, he went to Paris to prosecute his studies. He entered the order of St. Francis, 1222, and was the first Franciscan to obtain the degree of doctor and to teach in the University of Paris, which he continued to do till 1238.

Alexander was the first Schoolman to whom all the writings of Aristotle were accessible. His chief work, the System of Universal Theology, was completed by one of his pupils, 1252.14701470    Roger Bacon contemptuously said of it that it was heavier than a horse in weight. Natl. Dict. of Biogr., I. 273. Other MSS. ascribed to Alexander are found in Oxford, etc. The summa de virtutibus, Paris, 1509, a Com. on the Apocalypse, Paris, 1647, published under his name, are of doubtful authenticity.14711471    Videtur quod sic, et videtur quod non. is, therefore, rather a body of wisdom—sapientia —than a science—scientia; not so much knowledge drawn from study as knowledge drawn from experience.14721472    Cognitio secundum visum, cognitio secundum gustum. which passed into the doctrinal system of the Roman Catholic Church. He declared for the indelible character of baptism and ordination. By elaborate argument he justified the withdrawal of the cup from the laity and stated the new doctrine of penance. He is especially famous for having defined the fund of merit—thesaurus meritorum — the vicious doctrine upon which the practice of distributing and selling indulgences was based. He was one of the first to make the distinction between attritio or imperfect repentance, due to fear, timor servilis, and contritio or perfect repentance based upon higher motives. In all these matters he had a controlling influence over the later Schoolmen.14731473    See Chapter on the Sacramental System.

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