• Bernard of Clairvaux and Mysticism Article by Stephen Nichols

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2012

    One has to appreciate a medieval figure whom Martin Luther and John Calvin looked on with favor and, to a certain degree, approval. The figure in question is Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk, abbot, mild mystic, and formidable theologian. It’s an understatement to call him an abbot. His monastery eventually founded a daughter institution, then another, then another. By the time of his death, seventy monasteries had been directly planted or started by him, with those institutions responsible for establishing hundreds more. So revered was Bernard that Dante left his faithful Beatrice behind as his guide and had Bernard … View Resource

  • Peter Abelard and the Development of Scholasticism Article by Gregg Allison

    Peter Abelard (AD 1079–1142) served as professor of philosophy and theology at the University of Paris and was a notable scholastic theologian. Scholasticism is the discipline and method of bringing together philosophy and theology to make God and His ways understandable. In the medieval context, in which theology was “the queen of the sciences” and philosophy was employed as “the handmaid of theology,” scholasticism addressed vexing questions such as “Are revelation and reason compatible or contradictory?” and “Can reason demonstrate what theology affirms about God?” Abelard contributed significantly to the scholastic endeavor. In terms of its method, his most famous … View Resource

  • Peter Lombard, Master of the Sentences Article by Andrew Hoffecker

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2012

    The roots of Christian doctrine extend back to God’s revelation in the Old and New Testaments. In the early centuries of the church, apologists defended Christian beliefs. Ecumenical councils affirmed the Trinity and theologians fleshed out these beliefs. True systematic theology owes its origin in large part to Peter Lombard (AD 1100–60). Educated at Rheims and Paris, Lombard rose through the ranks to become professor at the cathedral school of Notre Dame. He came into contact with Hugh of St. Victor and Peter Abelard, leading theologians of that era. Lombard wrote commentaries for classroom instruction that earned him respect among … View Resource

  • The Twelfth Century Article by Nicholas Needham

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2012

    The twelfth century was one of the most colorful of the medieval era. Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to say that it was the age of some of the most famous and influential Christians of all time. We need only think of Peter Abelard and Peter Lombard in the arena of theology, Bernard of Clairvaux in matters of spirituality, and Peter Waldo as the first great “forerunner of the Reformation.” The end of the century also witnessed the ascension to power of Pope Innocent III, in whom the papacy reached its dizzying height of political power across Western Europe. … View Resource