Humanism in the Middle Ages: Peter Abailard and the Breakdown of Medieval Theology

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Abailard expanded Anselm's sola ratione methodology, and in so doing he anticipated Renaissance humanism. His theory of abstraction justified the use of dialectic in theology, and was the basis for his entire theological system. He distinguished faith from mere belief by the application of dialectic, and created a theology which focused on the individual. The Renaissance humanists emphasized individual moral edification, which was evident in their interest in rhetoric. Abailard anticipated these rhetorical concerns, focusing on the individual's moral life rather than on metaphysical arguments. His logical treatises developed a theory of language as a mediator between reality and the ... continued below

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v, 384 leaves

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Vess, Deborah L. (Deborah Lynn) December 1991.

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  • Vess, Deborah L. (Deborah Lynn)

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Abailard expanded Anselm's sola ratione methodology, and in so doing he anticipated Renaissance humanism. His theory of abstraction justified the use of dialectic in theology, and was the basis for his entire theological system. He distinguished faith from mere belief by the application of dialectic, and created a theology which focused on the individual. The Renaissance humanists emphasized individual moral edification, which was evident in their interest in rhetoric. Abailard anticipated these rhetorical concerns, focusing on the individual's moral life rather than on metaphysical arguments. His logical treatises developed a theory of language as a mediator between reality and the conceptual order, and this argument was further developed in Sic et non. Sic et non was more than a collection of contradictions; it was a comprehensive theory of language as an inexact picture of reality, which forced the individual to reach his own understanding of scripture. Abailard's development of the power of reason anticipated developments in the Renaissance.

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v, 384 leaves

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  • December 1991

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Vess, Deborah L. (Deborah Lynn). Humanism in the Middle Ages: Peter Abailard and the Breakdown of Medieval Theology, dissertation, December 1991; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc279101/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .