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What is Scholastic Thomism?
The Scholastics were the great doctors of the middle ages. They taught in the universities, or schools, hence the name Schoolmen,
and were among the most feverishly educated intellectuals in the history of man. Above all the matters of disagreement among the
multitude of Scholastic doctors
there was a common tone of mind, shared in varying degrees by all alike, and there reigned a tacit
agreement about a number of the cardinal doctrines; the sum-total of these we call the Scholastic synthesis. Under the auspices of
the Scholastics, science unified, completed and consolidated the teachings handed down from previous centuries, until, in the mind
of Thomas Aquinas, the Scholastic technique found perfection. Thus, when we speak of Scholasticism, it is to be understood as the
methods, principles, and doctrines of the medieval schools as amalgamated in the mind of Thomas and expounded in the works of his
great commentatorsthose who held fast to the very line of succession they professed to follow. For this reason, the medieval synthesis
is also called Scholastic Thomism.
Scholastic Thomism consists in the "harmony and unification of the several doctrines, in the masterly
co-ordination of the dominant ideas, in the complete correlation of all the parts. This solidarity of doctrine is secured by a deep
understanding of the common fundamental theories of [medieval philosophy] and their fusion with new elements calculated to strengthen
the cohesion of the system."
Thus, Scholasticism, as we employ the term, may be described as the systematic coordination of all particular
orders of human knowledge through strict rational disputation from certain principles which was taken up in the medieval universities
from the perennial philosophy of man, synthesized in the mind of Thomas Aquinas, and expounded by his faithful commentators, and includes
the consequent cultural effects of a life lived according to such order. Thus, Scholastic Thomism is not simply a set of speculative
doctrines but extends itself to all practical and moral orders. It is a tendency toward a comprehensive grasp of the order of reality
as deduced from first, self-evident principles in each order of knowing according to perennial logical canons, and of mans moral
duties resulting from such coordination.