An observation about the comparative teachability of two major medieval theologians

Thomas Aquinas is light-years more difficult to teach than Anselm, even controlling for the fact that I’m more familiar and comfortable with Anselm. In fact, I would even theorize that the only major body of Western thought that might be more difficult to teach than scholasticism is German Idealism, though I have not yet attempted the latter.

4 thoughts on “An observation about the comparative teachability of two major medieval theologians

  1. Would you chalk that up to 1) the format of the scholastics, or 2) the utterly foreign nature of their assumptions to most students?

  2. I would go with both, maybe even moreso the second point — I can give a brief rundown of how the format works, but there’s a limit to how much good “background lecturing” on the underlying intellectual architecture of scholasticism can do.

  3. I am not being in any way sarcastic when I confess that I get my philosophy students to set up scholastic disputations in order to get them to think through a subject consistently. They find it really useful to have such a structured discussion. I do of course follow it with a Q&A sesh each time.

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