The Synthesis of the Church in the middle Ages
First-century Christians perceived a sharp contrast between New Testament theology and Greek theology. However, in the second and third centuries some Christians came to believe that great insights from other cultures and world views could be used to support and advance biblical ideas. By the 12th century medieval Christianity was largely a mixture of Platonic and biblical thought. They emphasized speculation about abstract theories and depreciated the concrete and tangible aspects of the world.
Before this time and during Scholasticism, a systematic method of study used by scholars to understand all reality, began to dominate intellectual life. By stressing technical language and concepts, Scholasticism made reason the supreme means to knowledge. Reason, however, was to be supplemented with biblical revelation. Scholastic theologians devoted themselves to studying classical Greek and Roman writers, as well as the Bible and the early Christian fathers. But it wasn’t until the 13th century when Thomas Aquinas was living that the Augustinian and Pelagian views were synthesized into one.
Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225. Although few people in his time were able to receive an education, Thomas was so privileged because his father was a government official. Thomas studied the traditional curriculum of the seven liberal arts at Naples and subsequently graduated from the University of Paris, one of only six universities in all of Europe. When Thomas was born Scholasticism was in its golden age. By the time of his death in 1274 Thomas was considered preeminent among the Schoolmen.
For centuries Platonic and Augustinian perspectives had dominated intellectual life.
Aristotle was unknown in Europe until the Thirteenth Century because his writings had not been translated into Latin. Aristotle’s works were translated and interpreted by the famous Moslem philosopher Averroes, who concluded from his...