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NEO-SCHOLASTICISM


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NEO-SCHOLASTICISM


men in the stni^jrlc for spiritinil iiorfcclion led to the practice of lioiumniit; aiul even deifying the heroes of antiiiuity ami tlie roprcsciiiatives of wisdom such as PythaKorjis and Apollonius. With this purpose in view the philosophers of this school wrote "Lives" of Pythagoras which are full of fabulous tales, stories in which more than natural wisdom, skill, and sanctity are attributed to the hero. They did not hesitate to invent wliere exaftseration failed to accomplish their aim, so that they frave only too much justifi- ealion to the modern critic's description of their bio- graphical activity as reiiresenting the "Golden Age of Apocryphal literature". In this spirit and with this purpose in view I'liilostratus, about the year A. D. 220, wrote a "Life of .\pollonius" which is of special im- portance because, while it is not a professed imitation of the Gospels, it was evidently written with a view of rivalling the gospel narrative. Apollonius was born at Tyaiia in Cappadocia four years before tlie Chris- tian era. At an early age he devoted himself under various masters, to the study of philosophy and the practice of asceticism. After the five years of silence impo.sed by the rule of Pythagoras, he began his jour- neys. Throughout .\sia Minor he travelled from city to city teaching the doctrines of the sect. Then he journeyed to the far East in search of the wisdom of the magi and the brahmans, and, after his return, took up once more the task of teaching. Later he went to Greece, and thence to Rome, where he lived for a time under the emperor Nero. In 69 he was at Alexandria, where he attracted the attention of Ves- pasian. Summoned to Rome by Domitian, he was cast into prison, but escaped to Greece, and died two years later. The place of his death is variously given as E|)hesus, Rhotles, and Crete. Into the framework of these facts Philostratus weaves a tissue of alleged miraculous events, prophecies, visions, and prodigies of various kinds. It is important to remark in criticism of Philostratus's narrative, that he lived one hundred years after the events which he describes. Moreover, according to Philostratus's own account, Apollonius did not lay claim to divine prerogatives. He be- lieve^HhatlJ«s.livirtue" which he po.';,spssedwa&to be attribuTedto his know li-d^^o uf Pythagorean philcs- ophy and his obser\ amc of its |ircMTiptions. He held as a general principle that anyone who attained the same degree of wisdom and asceticism could ac- quire the same power. The parallel, therefore, which was drawn between his extraordinary deeds and the miracles narrated in the Gospels does not stand the verdict of criticism. Our Lord claimed to be God, and appealed to His niiracles as a proof of His divinity. Apollonius regarded his own powers as natural. Finally, it. should be remembered that the Pytha- gorean biographers openly acknowledged " the prin- ciple of permitting exaggeration and deceit in the cau.sc of philoKoi)hy" (Newman). The "Lives" of Pythagora,s and A|)ollonius are to be judged by the standards of fiction and not by the canons of historical criticism. Among those who, overlooking this dis- tinction, have tried to make capital against Christian- ity out of this class of Pythagorean literature are Lord Herbert and Blount, mentioned in Newman's essay on Apollonius, and Jean de Castillon, who was instigated by Frederick the Great.

Philostratus's Life of Apolloniiu, and the Letters ascribed to the latter were pubUshed in PmLOtjTRATUs, Opera Omnia (Leipzig, ed. OLEABltTs, 1709); Ibid. (ed. Kayseb. 1870-71); the works of NicoMACHUB OF Gebasa are included in lAMBLicHtJs, Theologu- mena Arilhmelica (ed. Abt, Leipzig, 1817); Zelleb, Philosophie der Griechen, III, 2 (.3rd ed.. Leipzig, 1881), 79 ff.; Newman, IHs- torical Sketehes, I (London. 1882), 301 £f.; Tdrneb, History of Philotophv (Boston, 1903), 204 £f.

William Turner.

Neo-Scholasticism.— The Name and Its Mean- ing. — Neo-.Seliolaslicism is the development of the SchoIasti<>ism of t he Middle Ages during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is not merely the resus-


citation of a philo.sophy long since defunct, but rather areslatement in our ownday of the /</i(7e.so/)/(iV) jjcrcn- nis which, elaborated by the Greeks and lirought to perfection by the great medieval teachers, has never ceased to exist even in modern times. It has some- times been called neo-Thomism partly because St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century gave to Scholaslii-isin anioiig the Latins its final form, partly because 1 lie idea has gained grounil thai (inly Thoniisiii can infuse vitality into twentieth century scholasti- cism. Hut Thomism is too narrow a term; the sys- tem itself is too large and comprehensive to be cxpres.sed by the name of any single exponent.

This article will deal with the elements which neo- Scholasticism takes over from the ])a.st ; 1 lie modihca- tions which adapt it to the present; the welcome ac- corded it by contemporary thought and the outlook for its future; its leading representatives and centres; its bibliography.

I. Traditional Elements. — Neo-Scholasticism seeks to restore the fundamental organic doctrines embodied in the Scholasticism of the thirteenth cen- tury. It claims that philosophy does not vary with each passing phase of history; that the truth of seven hundred years ago is still true to-day, and that, if the great medieval thinkers — Aquinas, Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus — succeeded in constructing a sound phi- losophical system on the data supplied by the Greeks, especially by Aristotle, it must be possible, in our own day, to gather from the speculation of the Middle Ages the soul of truth which it contains. These essen- tial conceptions may be summarized as follows:

(1) God, pure actuality and absolute perfection, is substantially distinct from every finite thing: He alone can create and preserve all beings other than Himself. His infinite knowledge includes all that has been, is, or shall be, and likewise all that is possible.

(2) As to our knowledge of the malerial world: whatever exists is itself, an incommunicalile, individ- ual substance. To the core of self-sustaining reality, in the oak-tree for instance, other realities (accidents) are added — size, form, roughness, and so on. All oak- trees are alike, indeed are identical in respect of certain constituent elements. Considering this likeness and even identity, our human intelligence groujis them into one species and again, in view of their common char- acteristics, it ranges various species under one genus. Such is the Aristotelean solution of the problem of universals (q. v.). Each substance is in its nature fixed and determined; and nothing is farther from the spirit of Scholasticism than a tlieory of evolution which would regard even the essences of things as products of change.

But this statism requires as its complement a mod- erate dynamism, and this is supplied by the central concepts of act and potency. Whatsoever changes is, just for that reason, limited. The oak-tree passes through a process of growth, of becoming: whatever is actually in it now was potentially in it from the be- ginning. Its vital functions go on unceasingly (acci- dental change) ; but the tree itself will die, and out of its decayed tnmk other substances will come forth (substantial change). The theory of matter and form is simply an interpretation of the substantial changes which bodies undergo. The union of matter and form constitutes the essence of concrete being, and this essence is endowed with existence. Throughout all change and becoming there runs a rhythm of finality; the activities of the countless substances of the uni- verse converge towards an end which is known to God; finality, in a word, involves optimism.

(3) Man, a compound of body (matter) and of soul (form), puts forth activities of a higher order — knowl- edge and volition. Through his senses he perceives concrete objects, e. g. this oak; through his intellect he knows the ab.stract and universal (the oak). All our intellectual activity rests on sensory function; but