Neo-Scholasticism was a philosophical and theological school of thought that arose in the mid–nineteenth century as a revival of medieval scholasticism, especially of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the later decades of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, Neo-Scholasticism dominated the Catholic intellectual milieu.
These volumes form an integrated study of the intellectual history of Christianity, beginning with the late eleventh century. Virtually all significant medieval philosophers were theologians, and to understand modern theology, one needs to look at the rise of scholasticism and the conjunction of faith and reason. The Neo-Scholastic Theology and Philosophy Collection offers 24 volumes that explain the history of medieval scholasticism, its major theories and proponents, its decline, the Neo-Scholastic resurgence in the nineteenth century, and the overall impact it’s had on Western Christianity. Numerous works in this special collection are dedicated to philosophical studies of the existence of God. These volumes trace the influence of Aristotelian thought and method through the works of Thomas Aquinas and other major theologians, revealing the lineage of theology and philosophy behind modern metaphysics, logic, ethics, psychology, and more.
Scholasticism was preeminent throughout the high and late Middle Ages, displaced only with the rise of humanism during the Renaissance. Medieval scholasticism was more a method than a system, focusing on authoritative texts, dialectics, and the drawing of ever-more-subtle distinctions. Its goals were the reconciliation of authorities and the production of terms and categories that would allow for clarity of thought. The humanists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries attacked medieval scholasticism as incapable of dealing with issues of real moral and social importance and inadequate in its failure to understand that truth could not be corralled within human terminology. In many ways, this attack was unfair, based on a prejudice in favor of poetry and literature over logic and abstract speculation. Nevertheless, scholasticism was displaced in the universities of Europe.
In the nineteenth century, however, in response to the rise of various “Enlightenment” philosophies, scholasticism began receiving renewed interest. Many thinkers of the period saw in scholastic realism an alternative to both the subjectivism and the positivism that were increasingly dominating European thought. These Neo-Scholastics, as they became known, focused especially on the work of Thomas Aquinas; they are sometimes referred to as Neo-Thomists. Pope Leo XIII’s 1879 encyclical Aeterni Patris gave this movement a definitive character and a stamp of official approval within the Catholic Church. It was only with the rise of the Nouvelle Théologie and the Church’s theological shift after Vatican II that Neo-Scholasticism began to decline.
Nevertheless, the movement is of profound importance for the history of theology. In fact, in recent years it has received renewed attention as many theologians have reconsidered its achievements. The Neo-Scholastic Theology and Philosophy Collection offers some of the most important works of the movement. It’s a necessary edition to the library of anyone interested in the history of modern theology.