Scholastic and Scholasticism derive from the Latin word scholasticus, the Latinized form of the Greek scholastikos, an adjective derived from scholē, or school. Scholasticus means, of or pertaining to schools. The Scholastics were Schoolmen. The foundations of Christian scholasticism were laid by Boethius through his logical and theological essays, and later forerunners to scholasticism were Islamic Ilm al-Kalām, literally "science of discourse", and Jewish philosophy, especially Jewish Kalam. Scholasticism was a school of philosophy that employed a critical method of philosophical analysis predicated upon a Latin Catholic theistic curriculum which dominated teaching in the medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700.
Scholasticism originated within the Christian
monastic schools that were the basis of the earliest European universities. The
rise of scholasticism was associated with these schools that flourished in
Italy, France, Spain and England.
Scholasticism is a method of learning, as it places a strong emphasis on dialectical reasoning to extend knowledge by inference and to resolve contradictions. Scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions. In the classroom and in writing.
Scholasticism takes the form of explicit disputation;
a topic drawn from the tradition is broached in the form of a question,
oppositional responses are given, a counterproposal is argued and oppositional
arguments rebutted. Because of Scholasticism's emphasis on rigorous dialectical
method, scholasticism was eventually applied to many other fields of study.
Scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers, to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism.
The main figures of scholasticism include Anselm of
Canterbury ("the father of scholasticism"), Peter Abelard, Alexander of Hales,
Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Bonaventure, and Thomas
Aquinas. Aquinas's masterwork Summa Theologica (1265–1274) is considered to be
the pinnacle of scholastic, medieval, and Christian philosophy. Important work
in the scholastic tradition has been carried on well past Aquinas's time, for
instance by Francisco Suárez and Luis de Molina, and also among Lutheran and