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.

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4 Responses to “An observation about the comparative teachability of two major medieval theologians”

  1. myles Says:

    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. Adam Kotsko Says:

    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. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I find the best method is just to flog them with it.

  4. Andy Says:

    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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