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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 commentators—those 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 man’s moral duties resulting from such coordination.