03 March 2007

an etymology lesson

Here's something Tera and I learned today while holed away in our library study room:
Scholasticism is probably one of the most despised intellectual movements in human history. Thus the English word 'dunce' (fool) derives from the name of one of the greatest scholastic writers, Duns Scotus.

-from Allister E. McGrath's Reformation Thought: An Introduction

Scholastics were known to speculate on such questions as the well-known, "How many angels could dance on the head of a pin?" Other obscure questions include, "Could God have become a cucumber instead of a human being?" (was Scholasticism the underlying inspiration for Veggie Tales?!) or "Can God undo the past by making a prostitute a virgin?"

Perhaps a more pertinent question would be, "Is this post more pointless than Medieval Scholastic debates?" Hope you enjoyed it anyway.

3 comments:

Jared said...

As someone who, though not scholastic, does think scholasticism is often unfairly beaten up on . . . I think you should now do a follow-up post on the merits of scholasticism in the life of the church. :-)

Kelli said...

Yes, yes. I know - Scholasticism made important contributions to the life of the church. Are you asking me to do penance for presenting the silly side of Scholasticism? Maybe Allister McGrath can guest write that one too... ;)

Donald said...

I agree with Jared. And I also agree with the early Roman Catholic Church whose forsight rigidly kept scholasticism out of the hands of the common folk for centuries for fear that they would end up with 200 different interpretations of the text. It is a good thing they were wrong, we now have 23,000 different denominations all reaching various conclusions. May you and Tera save us from this rather ridiculous result through your humility and rather awesome brain powers.

Miss ya! I'll will talk to you soon, I promise : )