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History of Philosophy|
Thomists and Anti-Thomists
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)
|Sources. Besides the works of the philosophers to be mentioned
under this head, we possess as valuable sources of information
Denifle's Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis and articles by
Denifle, Ehrle, and others in the Zeitschrift für Katholische
Theologie and in the Archiv für Litteratur und
Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters.|
While St. Thomas was teaching at the convent of St. James, several of
his doctrines -- especially that of the unity of the substantial form
in man -- aroused violent opposition among his confrères of the
order of St. Dominic. Of these Dominican opponents of St. Thomas the
most prominent were Roland of Cremona, Richard Fitzacre, and
Robert Kilwardby. It was owing to the influence of Kilwardby,
who was archbishop of Canterbury, that the masters of the university of
Oxford carried their opposition to Thomism so far as to censure as
dangerous the denial of the rationes seminales and the
affirmation of the unity of the substantial form in man. This was in
1277. In the following year, however, all opposition on the part of the
Dominicans ceased, and in a general chapter of the order, held at
Milan in that year, those who had opposed the teaching of St. Thomas in
England were censured. 
 Cf. Chartul., I, 566; II, 6.
The Franciscans, jealous for the reputation of the great teachers of
their order, Alexander of Hales and St. Bonaventure, made common cause
with those who objected to the doctrine of unity of substantial forms
and to the denial of the rationes seminales -- doctrines which,
as we have seen, were part of the Franciscan tradition.
Foremost among St. Thomas' Franciscan adversaries were William de la
Mare, author of the Correptorium Fratris Thomae, Richard
of Middletown, who was appointed to the Franciscan chair
at Paris in 1281, John Peckham, who, after teaching at Paris
and at Oxford, succeeded Kilwardby in the see of Canterbury, and
Peter John Olivi (1248-1298),  who later on unsettled the idea
of discipline in his own order by his defense of literal poverty -- a
doctrine which brought about his condemnation in 1283.
 Petrus Johannis Olivi (genitive).
Opposed to the doctrines introduced by St. Thomas were also the secular
teachers, the chief of whom were William of St. Amour, Gerard of
Abbeville, and Henry of Ghent. When, on March 7, 1277,
Stephen Tempier, at the request of John XXI, assembled the masters of
theology of the University of Paris to condemn the errors then
prevalent in the schools, the secular masters united with the
Franciscans and succeeded in placing on the list of condemned
propositions several (for example, Nos. 81, 96, and 191) which were
evidently meant to formulate the Thomistic doctrine of substantial
forms and of individuation.  Thus did the secular teachers of the
university achieve a disgraceful triumph in the momentary discredit
thrown on him who had been the great champion of the mendicants in the
controversy concerning university privilege.
 Cf. Chartul, I, 543ff.
But, while the opposition to Thomism was as short-lived as it was
violent, the number and importance of the advocates and defenders of
St. Thomas grew slowly but steadily as time went on. First among these
were Ulrich of Strasburg, a disciple of Albert the Great,
Bernard of Hotun, who was bishop of Dublin and died in 1298,
William Mackelfield, who taught at Oxford, Giles of Rome
(AEgidius a Columna, or AEgidius Romanus) of the order of
Hermits of St. Augustine, surnamed Doctor Fundatissimus
(1243-1316), Peter of Auvergne, who was probably a pupil of St.
Thomas at Paris, and Godfrey of Fontaines (died 1304).
Petrus Hispanus (1226-1277), who in 1276 became pope, taking the
name of John XXI, seems to have avoided the Thomistic controversy and
confined his attention to the study of logical problems. His Summulae
Logicales became a text-book in the schools, and was known as the Logica Modernorum, in
contradistinction to the Logica Vetus and the Logica
Nova. He is said to he the author of the mnemonic lines Barbara
Celarent, etc. 
 Prantl, however (Geschichte der Logik, III, 15), quotes the
lines from the logical treatises of William of Shirwood (or
Shyrwode) (died 1249). This writer as well as Petrus Hispanus drew
largely from Byzantine sources, especially from Psellus, who appears to
have been the first to use mnemonic lines to designate the valid moods
in the three Aristotelian figures (cf. Prantl, op. cit.,
Vincent of Beauvais (died 1264) helped to popularize the current
philosophical doctrines of his time in his encyclopaedic treatise
entitled Speculum Magnum, in which he adhered to the teaching of
Albert and St. Thomas. The work was intended to cover the whole field
of education, as it was then understood. Three portions, Speculum
Historiale, Speculum Naturale, and Speculum Doctrinale, were
completed by Vincent:  the fourth, Speculum Morale, which is
merely an extract from the writings of St. Thomas, was added by another
 Cf. Bourgeat, Études sur Vincent de Beauvais
Hervé of Nedeilec (Hervaeus Natalis), who died in
1323, must be reckoned among the ablest of the first followers of St.
Thomas. He is the author of many works on philosophy and theology,
including, though this is by no means certain, the Summa Totius
Logicae found among the opuscula of St. Thomas.
 Cf. Figuier, Vies des Savants, etc., p. 231.
Dante (1265-1321), whose Divina Commedia has been
described as "Aquinas in verse," may also be counted among those who
helped to give wide circulation to the philosophical doctrines of St.
Thomas. The influence of St. Thomas and of the other great schoolmen
was still preponderant in Paris when Dante studied at the university in
that city, and his De Monarchia may be placed by the side of the
treatise De Regimine Principis as a valuable contribution to the
political science of the Middle Ages. Although the Divine Comedy was
written at a time when Scholasticism had begun to decline, and is,
therefore, as Ozanam so beautifully expresses it, the "swan song of
Scholasticism," it embodies the best doctrines of the Golden Age of Scholastic
 Cf. Ozanam, Dante and Catholic Philosophy of the Thirteenth
Century, translated by Lucia D. Pychowska (New York, 1897); also
Moore, Studies in Dante (Oxford, First Series, 1891; Second
The subsequent history of the Thomistic school involves a study of the
philosophical systems of Henry of Ghent and of Duns Scotus, who are the
most important of the earlier opponents of Thomism, and who alone of
all the Anti-Thomists left behind them a school of Anti-Thomistic