Why did we ever care about dancing angels? Questions for Discussion: Lesson 23A- Part VI “The Saga of the Queen of Sciences: Scholastics Revive & Enthrone Theology” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger E. Olson
1. Can you provide a summary overview of the origins of the university in medieval Europe? What role did the great cathedrals and monasteries play in this development?
2. Scholasticism is the term we associate with the medieval university and the theology it professed. How should we define the “general contours” of this concept?
3. Rationality is also central to theology in this period. What distinguished the medieval theologians from those of the past who may have also considered their theology rational?
4. How did the Scholastics view the human intellect? How did they relate faith to reason?
5. Olson writes that the Scholastics sought to construct “great cathedrals of ideas”, and then extends this metaphor by referring to the “architectonic edifices” they built out of propositions about God. What is Olson suggesting with this metaphorical language?
6. What are the three most common characteristics of medieval scholasticism?
7. What role did logic play in theology of this period? How did Anselm, specifically, view logic? How did Aquinas differ from Anselm in his use of logic?
8. What is natural theology? How would you summarize natural theology if questioned by a Sunday School participant? Often these theologians would employ the concept of universals in their writings? What is the meaning of universals for a Christian theologian? How did it challenge them differently than, for example, a pagan Platonist. How did the Christian Humanist movement react to this philosophizing of the Scholastics?
See Lesson 23B for Correlated Readings:
A Selection From Paul Tillich’s lectures on The History of Christian Thought
Bible Verses for Reflection