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Catholic Dictionary




The system of philosophy and theology first developed in the medieval schools of Christian Europe, having a scholastic or technical language and methodology, building on the writings of the Church Fathers, notably St. Augustine (354-430), using many of the philosophical principles and insights of Aristotle and Neoplatonism, and co-ordinated into a synthesis of human and divine wisdom by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74).

Three periods of Scholasticism are commonly distinguished: medieval period from St. Anselm to Jean Capréolus (1060-1440); Counter-Reformation or the Spanish-Portuguese Revival (1520-1640), declining after the rise of Protestantism and the spread of Cartesianism; and Neo-Scholasticism, officially recognized by Pope Leo XIII in 1879, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century to the present time. (Etym. Latin schola, place of learning, school; from Greek schol_, school; discussion; rest, leisure, employment of leisure time.)