12th century Renaissance
Abbot Suger Saint Denis (1136-47)
Chartres, Laon, Reims, Orleans, Paris
You ask, venerable Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, why teachers in our time are less trusted than in the past. The reason for this, you should understand, lies not only with the teachers themselves but also with the pupils and the prelates. For two things make a person’s teaching reliable: namely, when it is known that he possesses the particular quality that, first, would not allow him to be deceived by another and, second, would not make him wish to deceive another. The first of these is acquired by science, the second by justice.
Science, in fact, not only teaches the nature of things, but also presses home the proper meanings of words and uncovers the tricks of sophistry. Therefore, once he has acquired such abilities through eager learning and strengthened them through habit and practice, a teacher cannot easily be deceived regarding either the nature of things or the use of words. Justice, on the other hand, which is the habit of the mind of bestowing what is right upon each person [Cicero, De finibus; Justinian, Institutes 1.1], expels from the mind any desire to deceive and, as it were, compels everyone to teach. Therefore, because virtually everyone of our time approaches the office of teaching without these two requisites, they are themselves the reason why they are lest trusted.
The pupils are also not without blame: they have abandoned the Pythagorean model of teaching, according to which a pupil should listen and believe for seven years, and ask questions only in the eighth. Instead, from the first day of school, even before sitting down, they question and, in fact, what is worse, they pass judgment. They study carelessly for the space of a single year and think that the whole of wisdom has accrued to them, whereas they have merely snatched rags from it [Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy]; they leave the school full of the wind of loquacity and pride, empty of a solid knowledge of things. And when their parents or others listen to them and discover that there is little or nothing of any use in what they say, they are at once led to believe that this is all the pupils received from their teachers: so the authority of the teacher is impaired.
(William of Conches, Dragmaticon Philosophiae, trans. Ronca and Curr, 3)
auctores / auctoritates
Bernard of Chartres
Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Bec / Canterbury
fides quaerens intellectum: faith seeking understanding
Proslogium / Proslogion
ABELARD (1079-1142): sic et non: yes and no
NOMINALISTS: flatus ventis
PETER LOMBARD (c.1100-1160)
Book of Sentences:
ADELARD of Bath: fl. 1130s
EUCLID (around 300 b.c.e.): Elements
BERTRAND RUSSEL “Why I am not a Christian”