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Jordan Ballor Nota Bene

Anti-Scholastic Sins Visited upon Later Generations

Catholic theologians, philosophers and historians of the twentieth century, having fought fiercely to eradicate prejudices against medieval philosophy, adopt the anti-Scholastic rhetoric of the old Protestant histories and project it upon the thinkers of the Baroque age. As a result, they reject the ‘schools’ of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries–much as Lutheran Aristotelians and later Kantians rejected the ‘schools’ of the Middle Ages–as obsessive, authoritarian, over-subtle, and such. Gilson thought that historians of philosophy willfully obscured the originality of Aquinas as Scotus, but few Catholic intellectuals have defended the originality of any Baroque synthesis. There is precious little evidence they have read the works that they dismiss, just as there is little evidence that historians before Brucker wrestled with the texts of Thomas or Scotus.

–Trent Pomplun, “John Duns Scotus in the History of Medieval Philosophy from the Sixteenth Century to Etienne Gilson (+1978),” Bulletin de philosophie médiévale 58 (2016): 443.

By Jordan Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012), and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous volumes. Jordan also serves as associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research of Calvin Theological Seminary.