Middle Ages

The methods used in medieval theology and philosophy to ascertain and present the truths of faith and reason.

Throughout the middle ages, many Roman Catholic theologians considered the relation of faith and reason, or philosophy and theology. They developed a variety of methods and positions. At the end of the eleventh century, for example, Anselm of Canterbury affirmed the need for faith to seek understanding. In his view faith was prior to reason. A different pattern was proposed in the twelfth century by the teacher Abelard who urged the free use of dialectic, the employment of question and counter-question in search of the truth. His view anticipates some modern uses of unaided reason in search of truth. In the thirteenth century Thomas Aquinas created a great medieval synthesis in which faith and reason enjoy a friendly, complementary relation. Aquinas in particular saw grace as functioning to perfect nature; in turn he saw faith as completing the work of reason.

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