Development of Logic among the Arabs

Johann Georg Walch

Johann Georg Walch, born in Meiningen in 1693, was a German Lutheran theologian, a historian of logic and an eclectic philosopher. After studying at Leipzig and Jena, Walch married the only daughter of his Pietist teacher Johann Franz Buddeus (d.1729), considered to be the most accomplished German theologian of his time, an ordinarias professor. Walch’s reading of the history of logic reflects the influence of his teacher’s historical approach to the study of philosophy. In 1716, he published Historia critica Latinae linguae, which was widely circulated and used as a textbook. In 1718, he became a visiting professor of philosophy at Jena and, in 1719, was appointed as full lecturer in rhetoric. In 1721, he was cross-appointed full professor in poetry and, in 1724, became a visiting professor of theology. In 1728, he was appointed full professor in theology and theology became his primary discipline in 1730. He espoused a moderate theology influenced by philosophical eclecticism and Pietism during this period. Walch’s university lectures and published works cover a wide range of church history and its various branches, with specific attention to the literature and controversies of the church, ethics, and pastoral theology. Apart from numerous works on theology, Walch also edited Luther’s complete works. He died in Jena in 1775 at the age of eighty-one.1

Variant Names: Io. Georgius Walchius, loannes Georgius Walchius, and Johannes Georg Walch.

Summary and Analysis

Walch’s chapter in his book, Parerga Académica, presents a history of Scholastic logic in the Middle Ages. However, by “logic” Walch means dialectic. Before delving into the development of Scholastic dialectic, he sets out in sections one to eight the main achievements of philosophy up until that point. Walch singles out John of Damascus, Michael Psel-lus the Younger, and George Pachymeres as early Christian Aristotelian dialecticians, but notes that there was a simultaneous upsurge in philosophical study and thought among Arab Muslims. Walch cites the prominent Arab Aristotelian logicians of the time: al-Kindi, Thabit ibn Qurrah, Matta b. Yunus, al-Farabi; Avicenna, and Averroes. He argues that dialectic emerged as a discipline among Arabs when Christians skilled in Greek philosophy began living among Muslims. The Christian presence that made these texts accessible worked in tandem with the appointment of the liberal-minded caliph al-Ma’mun, who encouraged and created a favorable environment for Greek philosophy. According to Walch, the Arab Muslims took great pains to understand, explain and apply Aristotelian logic, but, for him, the Arabs had an understanding neither of the content of philosophy nor of the Greek language, and corrupted Aristotle’s ideas. However, Walch argues that even though the fate of logic was doomed among the Arabs as they barely understood Aristotle, this Arabic-Aristotelian quasi-philosophy proved useful to the Jews in Africa and Spain, who had similarly set their minds to cultivate philosophy.

According to Walch, Jewish scholars used Arabic primary and secondary sources to produce commentaries on Aristotelian philosophy that suggest an interdisciplinary learning process among Arab Muslims and Jews. Walch concludes that the Jews similarly corrupted true Aristotelian logic, as both religious groups were incapable of disentangling the highest truths of reason from the lowest judgments of their scriptural dogmatism. The Jews and the Muslims were thus incapable of grasping the fundamental Aristotelian truths in their attempts to join peripatetic philosophy with divine oracles. When the Arabs seized a large part of Africa and passed into Spain, they brought Arabic-Aristotelian philosophy to Europe and this laid the foundation for Scholasticism. According to Walch, Christian Aristotelian dialecticians proved to be the only scholars capable of preserving Aristotelian truths within their system of theology, although this line of logic presents a conundrum to the modern reader.

Walch’s argument about the corruption of Aristotelian logic by Arabic and Jewish scholars, each trying to interpolate it within the bounds of their respective scriptural truths, serves to situate Arabs as the bad influence, because they laid out the shaky foundation for Scholastic philosophy, which the prominent Lutheran theologians and historians of philosophy, such as Buddeus and Brucker, also associate with Catholicism. Therefore, Walch credits Scholasticism as the system of theology and philosophy that dominated almost “the entirety of the empire of philosophy” in medieval European universities from the eleventh century until the Reformation. His overall analysis depends on two unstated assumptions. First, that Aristotelian philosophy is the highest truth; and second, that the “true” Aristotle can be preserved only within a Protestant (rational) theological framework. Given the context that Walch was himself a Lutheran theologian and philosopher, whose own

Development of Logic among the Arabs 197 mode of thinking rested on the reconciliation of ‘true Aristotelian logic’ with Lutheran theology, he readily associates Arabic and, by extension, Jewish philosophy with Scholasticism.

Development and Fate of Logic (Leipzig, 1721)

On the Development and Fate of Logic

Chapter 2: Middle Ages


Section 1: Summary. Section 2: On John of Damascus, Michael Psellus, George Pachymeres, and their Logical Writings. Sections 3-4: On the Dialectic of the Arabs. Sections 5-7: That of the Jews. Sections 8-12: That of the Scholastics.2 Sections 13-14: That of Raymond Lullius.

[In previous chapters] I have discussed the development and fate of logic in ancient times from Plato up to the sixth century. Now, let us turn to the Middle Ages, when those learned men, the Scholastics, first appeared and almost completely dominated the empire of philosophy.

But before moving on to the history of the Scholastics’ logic, I think I should touch briefly upon the works that have been done in this discipline before them. [For example], John of Damascus wrote a book on dialectic in which he showed his debt to the philosophy of Aristotle. The art of logic itself, however, he hardly progressed, and did not expand upon it with his new approaches to reasoning. [...]

I would like to say a few words on the reason for the flourishing of dialectic because at this time philosophical studies appear to have been on the rise among the Arabs. Johann Peter von Ludewig sheds a very bright light on this for us. He observes that the Arabs cultivated the Greek language and that philosophy transferred from Greece to Arabia. He also mentions various men who are outstanding in their praise of dialectic. Ludewig mentions the Prince of Dialecticians, Ya’qub al-Kindl, about whom Abu al-Faraj says:

Ya’qub, in fact, was skilled in medicine, philosophy, arithmetic, dialectic, music, geometry, and astronomy, and he composed famed books and long treatises on most of these fields. He did not spend time [solely] among the Muslims; he was a man so noted for his study of philosophy that he was named ‘philosopher,’ apart from the name Ya'qub.

He also references the slightly lesser known al-Thabit, a writer of dialectic; Matthew, the son of Yunus, called ‘the Dialectician’ because of his outstanding knowledge of this art, al-Farabi; and, not to mention the many others whom he cites, there is also Avicenna and Averroes, extremely well-known authors.

The first is Avicenna, whose name is properly written as Abu ‘All al-Husayn ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Slna. He believed that the science of logic had been bestowed upon him divinely. Abu al-Faraj quotes him as saying:

I spent a full year and a half diligently reading books. Every time I became confused on some question or could not find the middle term of a syllogism, I went to the mosque and poured out my prayers to the Creator of All as a suppliant until that which had been murky and hidden was revealed. Returning to my home at night, a lantern placed before me, I spent time reading and writing, and whenever sleep came upon me or I felt some weakness, I drank a proffered cup of wine until my strength came back; then I returned to reading. But if even the slightest sleep overtook me, I dreamt about those very questions, until the solutions to many of them were made known in my dreams. I did not cease from such activity until I had acquired a firm understanding of dialectics and physics.

Concerning Avicenna’s writings, including his book on logic, we can read Leo Africanus, Johann Heinrich Hottinger, Pierre Daniel Huet, as well as others, whom the most famous Johann Christoph Wolf compiled.

Averroes, more properly called Ibn al-Rushd of Cordoba, was a famous philosopher and physician, who, as he was exceedingly dedicated to Aristotle, composed commentaries on his philosophical writings: On Categories, On Interpretation, On Prior Analytics, On Posterior Analytics, Topics, and likewise Introduction to Porphyry. He also wrote an introduction to Aristotle’s logic, about which we can read more in Nicholas Antonius, Peter Bayle, Bartholomew Merbelotus, and Johann Heinrich Hottinger. Aside from those two, there is a reputable man, Abu Ahmad al-Ghazali, who also wrote on logic, which was translated into Hebrew. He also wrote Destruction of Philosophers, which Averroes opposed with his Destruction of the Destruction.

In order to clarify the development of logic among the Arabs, we must briefly discuss their philosophy. Initially, among the Arab Muslims there were Christians skilled in Greek philosophy. Over time, the obstacles that separated Muslim Arabs from this philosophy and the Greek language were overcome and they immersed themselves gladly in this literature. This first occurred under the caliph al-Ma’mun, who was himself versed in literature, as evidenced by George Elmacin: “al-Ma’mun learned astronomy wonderfully, as well as the stations of the winds. Even today, astronomers refer to ‘the wind of al-Ma’mun’.” He treated men who were passionate about Greek philosophy with great kindness, as Johann Gravius writes:

The caliph al-Ma’mun, the seventh in the family of the Abbasids, was rightly renowned among the greatest princes due to his learning and his remarkable generosity to learned men. After summoning men noteworthy for their learning from all corners of the world and buying up the most outstanding books from Greek libraries, al-Ma’mun had them translated into Arabic. This quickly brought the liberal arts to their peak among the Arabs, who were previously more committed to arms than to literature. Because of al-Ma’mun’s vision the knowledge of ancient Greek philosophers, renown among the Greeks themselves, still survive among the Arabs.

He also ensured a great supply of books were obtained from the Greeks, and many were translated into Arabic. Thus, Leo Africanus says:

Since there was no science written down at that time in Arabic, al-Ma’mun, with his undying desire to understand the knowledge of the ancients, gathered together a great number of men versed in languages. From these men, he sought the names of authors and their books on the arts in Greek, Persian, Chaldean, and Egyptian. They provided him the names of many volumes. He then sent many of his closest associates to Syria, Armenia, and Egypt to buy these books. Then the good and useful ones were separated out, such as writings on medicine, physics, astronomy, music, cosmography, and annals. He placed John, the son of Mesuah, along with a great many other men, in charge of translating from the Greek, since at that time Christians studied Greek literature. He also placed Mahan and Mesuah in charge of Persian translation, including Galen’s book on medicine. Afterwards, they, along with many other masters, translated all the works of Aristotle into Arabic.

So we know from Leo Africanus’ account that these works of Aristotle were translated into Arabic in the time of al-Ma’mun (820 AD).

Avicenna and Averroes, however, flourished after 1000 AD; thus, we can also gather that the glory of Greek philosophy, translated into the Arabic, was slightly diminished for these men. Even so, the Arabs were committed to the philosophy of Aristotle. They took great pains to understand, explain, and illustrate it, a fact which shows us at the same time how much they valued logic. They, of course, struggled to follow the teachings of Aristotle, especially Avicenna and Averroes, who were in fact drawn by their studies toward this philosopher—if only they had been able to follow the actual words of Aristotle! For they had an understanding neither of the content of philosophy nor of the Greek language. Because of this ignorance, they could hardly make good progress in their interpretations, which is why they corrupted the true teaching of Aristotle terribly. Caelius Rhodigius writes about Averroes:

As to why the commentator (Averroes) so often went astray from Aristotle’s own opinion, they think it is because he was born in Spain and was raised in the Arabic language. He never read the books of Aristotle in the original Greek, but translated into a barbarian tongue, butchered, mutilated, and perverted. Therefore, he was less able to follow the author on things pertaining to higher knowledge and more complex meaning, as Aristotle was a man supremely renowned for his passion for brevity. Struggling philosophers have often failed to make sense of his terse style.

Luis Vives dolefully complained about these studies in which the Arabs followed Aristotle and brought literary philosophy to a critical point. As they chose Aristotle as their leader, they spent special effort on that aspect of philosophy which is called “logic.” They were extremely careful about his words, although they struggled to understand Aristotle’s real meaning. Therefore, they are called “skilled,” or rather, “masters of the words of wisdom,” by Johann Heinrich Hottinger and Pococke. Adam Tribbechovius, however, when he showed the major turning points in Arab philosophy, adds this:

Based on this account of practicing philosophy, three things in particular followed: (a) that all things were engaged in their terms and fixed notions; (b) that they demonstrated everything by these definite consequences and principles; and (c) in fact weighed the things themselves on both sides with this scale of reasoning.

As they barely understood Aristotle, whose doctrine they endeavored to follow, logic fared less well in the Arabic philosophy, and they added many misleading and useless things. However, this Arabic-Aristotelian sort of philosophy did prove useful to many Jews in need in Africa and Spain, who were roused by this and set their minds to cultivating literary philosophy.

Some men wrote commentaries on divine scriptures; others gave themselves to study of the Talmud; others examined the secretive art of Kabbalah; still others put their efforts into Aristotelian philosophy (see Johann Franz Buddeus). Many documents show how diligently they were engaged in Aristotle’s philosophy, since they not only translated his and the Arabs’ books of philosophy into the Hebrew language, focusing on studies of his wisdom, but also expanded upon them with commentaries and glosses.

We can learn about these authors from Julius Bartoloccius, Johann Heinrich Hottinger, Johannes Buxtorf, Johann Julius Struve, Johann Franz Buddeus, and Johann Christoph Wolf, in order to touch upon these inflection points; illustrate the fate of logic among the Jews at this time; and examine them with appropriate brevity while consulting these books and authors.

Indeed, they were the first Jews who translated the logical writings of Aristotle; thus, Bartoloccius attests that these manuscripts exist: Book of Categories, translator unknown, in the Vatican Library 4; On Interpretation, anonymous translator, in the Urbinata Library 4; Book of Analytics, anonymous translator, in the Vatican Library 4; and Book of Topics, anonymous translator, in the Vatican Library 4.

As is clear from his hand-written catalog of his books, Erpenius had a four-volume Logic of Aristotle with the introduction of Porphyry and with certain Arabic commentators, in the Hebrew language. [Peter] Lambeck, moreover, reviewed [Sebastian] Tengnagel’s book, which contains the treatise on logic by Maimonides; Porphyry’s introduction to the five predicables, with Averroes’ commentary; the categories of Aristotle, with Averroes’ comments; the book by Abu Nasr al-Farabl, an Arab philosopher, on demonstrative syllogism, books 1 and 2, with Averroes’ comments; all of which have been translated by Rabbi Jacob, the Spanish son of Simson of Anatolia, who lived in the thirteenth century. Maimonides does not fail to testify, in a letter to Rabbi Yehuda Aben Tibbon, that Rabbi Isaac, the son of Chonaim, translated the writings of Aristotle, although it is unknown whether or not he applied the same dedication to logical works as well.

The actual writings of Aristotle as well as Arab commentaries on Aristotle and their books on logic were translated by the Jews into their language. Maimonides translated the works of Avicenna, including his logic, into Hebrew as evidenced by the title. This appeared at Bologne as Bernard de Montfaucon bears witness. The logical writings of Averroes translated into Hebrew aim at shedding light on Aristotle, as Johann Christoph Wolf diligently records. Abu Ahmad al-Ghazali, the Arab philosopher, wrote a book on logic which, together with the commentaries of Rabbi Moses Narbonensis, exists as a manuscript in the Bodleian Library. The famed Wolf thinks that this work is identical with On the Use of Logic, a treatise for which master Vitalis Tolosanus wrote commentaries that were translated into Hebrew by Rabbi Moses ben Joshua Narbonensis. This exists in manuscript, together with scholia, in the Vatican library. Abu Nasr al-Farabi, considered a great philosopher among the Arabs and first championed by Maimonides, wrote a book on sophistic arguments, consisting of three parts: the first, an introduction; the second, fallacies in speech; and the third, fallacies beyond speech. This work also exists in a Hebrew manuscript in the Vatican library, as well as other libraries.

The Jews also applied their efforts to writing books on logic, which they call, contemplating, because they consider this activity to be contemplative. Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, who lived in the twelfth century after the birth of Christ, gained great authority not only among the Jews, but even among other people, since they name him “par excellence.” Bartoloccius calls him “an excellent philosopher, astronomer, physician, poet, grammarian, kabbalist, and renowned translator of the Holy Scripture.” His Book of Logic is found in manuscript form in the Vatican Library. At the end of the fifteenth century, Elias Beschitz, known as Karaeus, the son of Moses, lived in Constantinople, so he was named “the Byzantine.” Wolf thinks that the Book of Logic, which is included in the catalog of the library of Leiden, belongs to Beschitz. Hottinger mentions that Rabbi Joseph, famous in the thirteenth century, wrote a manuscript on logic. Wolf also states that there is a commentary on ten categories of Aristotle. Rabbi Levi, the son of Gershom, who was dedicated to the philosophy of Aristotle, made various mistakes on the eternity of the world and on the natural gift of divination. Buxtorf mentions that his logic was published in Venice, and Johann Julius Struve agrees with him. Wolf states that he wrote a brief exposition on Averroës’ logic, or rather, ten categories of Aristotle, books on interpretation, analytics and syllogism, which exists as a manuscript in the Urbinata Library. Buxtorf undoubtedly means by “logic published at Venice,” his gloss on Averroes’ commentary on Aristotle, published in four volumes at Venice in 1552.

Rabbi Moses Maimonides, who was born in Cordoba, Spain in the year 1131, accrued great praise for his genius and teachings, especially since he was studiously engaged in literary philosophy as well. Certainly, in his documents, he makes mention of Aristotle, Plato, Galen, Themistius, and others; he himself bears witness in his preface to the Mishnah that “he read through all the philosophical books.” Thus, in the book which carries the inscription “by a teacher of ambiguities,” he touches upon many philosophical arguments, and his book contains traces of Aristotle and the Arabs. He even teaches, in the manner of Aristotelians, that a return to the sublime knowledge of divine matters is open to no one, unless they properly train their spirit and genius in logic and metaphysics. Richard Simon makes this assertion on this teacher’s philosophy:

Rabbi Moses, with the surname ‘Maimonides’ or ‘son of Maimon,’ accrued great esteem, not only among Jews but even among Christians, who often cite in their own works one of his books, titled Guide for the Perplexed (Moreh Neuochim). The aim of this author is to clarify challenges inherent in the scriptures and to eliminate all ambiguities that occur in them. A great many Jews rebelled against his method and condemned this book, because he seemed to thwart the tradition of his people with this manner of reasoning. Indeed, Rabbi Moses was extremely eager to be considered a philosopher, and he prepared a certain selection from the writings of Aristotle and the scriptures, which is not satisfactory to every palate. His metaphysics is far too subtle, and in his exploration of the true meaning of a great many Hebrew words, he does not seem to be a skilled grammarian. Moreover, he almost always answered questions according to his own biases, which are in accordance at every point with the lessons of the religion which he professes. But he was also often influenced by the opinion of the Arab philosophers, whose books he had read.

Among other things, he also wrote a book on Logic, which is divided into fourteen chapters and exists in manuscript form in the Vatican library. His compendium, A Work of Logic, was also found there by Rabbi Moses ben Tibbon, who lived in 1270, as Bartoloccius attests. This logical compendium is also included in the library of Vienna, as we have learned from Nesselius. There also exists a work titled On Logical Distinctions, which is attributed to Maimonides, including two commentaries, both anonymous, published at Venice in 1550, and Cremona in 1550 and 1564.

Bartoloccius distinguishes this last book, On Logical Distinctions, from that Logic and Compendium of Logic. But Wolf rightly suspects that it is one and the same book, because that was also separated into fourteen chapters, from which that Logic is said to be drawn. Buxtorf, Hottinger, and Struve mention the Logic of Rabbi Schimeon, which was translated into Latin and expanded with vocalic points by [Sebastian] Munster, and printed at Basel by Frobenius in 1527. But Richard Simon proves that this Logic belongs to Maimonides, which Wolf also notes.

This should be sufficient proof that everything here indicates that Aristotle enjoyed great authority among the Jewish people. But the fate of Aristotelian logic was less fortunate because they followed the Arabs who had a poor understanding of him and mixed reason with their holy texts and traditions—the highest with the lowest. Indeed, the Jews were also influenced by the Arabs’ corrupt dispositions, which produced vile judgments. Maimonides demonstrates with his own example how unfavorably at times they joined Peripatetic philosophy with their divine oracles. In Exodus 24:10, Moses says: “Indeed, it was under His feet, like a work of the whiteness of a stone of sapphire.” Maimonides interprets these words based on the Aristotelian concept of the first substance:

Therefore, I say that ‘under His feet’ is the same as ‘on His account, that is, by Him and because of Him,’ as we explained. What they understood was the first substance itself, which is a blessing from God, and for which He is the efficient cause. We must observe what Moses says, ‘like a work of the whiteness of a stone of sapphire.’ If he had wanted to indicate the color or external appearance, he would have simply said, ‘like the whiteness of sapphire.’ But he adds ‘like a work,’ because a substance, as you know, always takes its form from its nature and bears it; but it never acts unless by accident, just as the form always acts through itself; and it never bears it unless by accident, in the manner in which they are explained in the books of physics.

According to this method of applying philosophy, we can easily determine the outcome of their logic, which relies upon the use of human reason, a firm and singular foundation. There is no reason to discuss here what the Jews call ‘Talmudic logic,’ which would have led to a truer assessment of these books had they used it. But we can reference Johann Heinrich Hottinger and Johann Julius Struve, whose Basics of Jewish Logic lay out a method of debating the Talmud, primarily from the book, Halichos Olam.

Because the Saracens, an Arab people, had seized a large part of Africa and had moved into Spain, they introduced Arabic-Aristotelian philosophy to Europe and laid out the foundation of Scholastic philosophy. There are three divisions of Scholastics. The first originated with Rucelinus, or as others think, with Peter Lombard, and extends up to the time of Albert the Great, whose floruit was around the middle of the thirteenth century. The second age goes from Albert the Great to Durand de St. Fountain, that is, the beginning of the fourteenth century. In the second [age of Scholastics], Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Sco-tus, in particular, gained fame. The third age, which lasted up until the Reformation of Christian doctrine, produced the philosophy of William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel. Daneau first established these ages, which Alsted and Jakob Thomasius followed. Alsted observes that, if we trace the history of the Scholastics from Rucelinus, from 1094 to the Reformation, this Scholastic doctrine encompasses almost four and a quarter centuries. However, this must be dated differently for those who mark the origin of Scholastic theology from Lanfranc—a man who preceded Abelard, the student of Rucelinus, by a full century. Nor is there any agreement on the ages of Scholastics and especially not on the origin of Scholastic philosophy and theology or its creator. Some men grant this glory to Lanfranc; others, including Adam Tribbechovius, attribute it to Peter Lombard; others to Abelard, and still others to Rucelinus. Jakob Thomasius thinks that Rucelinus is the founder of Scholastic philosophy, but that Abelard is the founder of Scholastic theology, although his student, Peter Lombard, became more famous than his teacher Abelard. It is challenging to lay out this controversy and to form a definitive opinion, since the question which they argue about can be considered from different angles. If we examine the title and the word ‘scholastic,’ it was already frequently used in the Middle Ages. Scholastic used to refer to many who excelled in belles-lettres and arts; later, it was used to refer to a man who performed the duties of a teacher and professor. This sort of person was considered to be a light to the learned world at that time, as Christoph August Heumann observes. But let us focus entirely on the debate between the philosophy and the theology of the Scholastics. Regarding the philosophy [of the Scholastics], we should look at how it was nurtured by the Arabs. When it comes to theology [of the Scholastics], however, we should look at the first studies in which Arabs publicly

Development of Logic among the Arabs 205 professed Scholasticism and more importantly, how the Arabs connected a weak, dry, useless, even wicked philosophy to it. The first to do so cannot be easily determined due to the lack of historical documents. But who was the first to treat this genre of literature, specifically, that of theology, with such singular zeal and success that he gave it his own famous name? It seems that Lombard deserves that glory, as he was easily able to snatch fame from his teacher Abelard, who had been under suspicion of holding “heretical opinions.”

In order to understand the dialectics of Scholastics, we must first mention and describe the authors who engaged in this discipline, and then provide a proper account of Scholastic dialectic. Therefore, the following were engaged in philosophy, including in dialectics. [First, let’s look at] Rucelinus, who other authors call Roscelinus, and Henry of Ghent calls Ruzcelmus, which Jakob Thomasius thinks to be more correct. He is the founder of the nominal doctrine in Aristotelian logic. Hence Otto of Freising says: “Abelard had a certain teacher Rozelini who was the first in our times to establish an opinion on terms in logic.” By “an opinion on terms,” he means the doctrine of nominals; there are also verses known on Rucelinus’ doctrine, which can be found in Aventinus:

Quas Ruceline doces, non vult dialectica voces, lamque, docens de se, non vult in vocibus esse, Res amat, in rebus cunctis vult esse diebus.

Peter Abelard, the student of Rucelinus, was famous for his philosophy. Thus, John of Salisbury constantly calls him “The Peripatetic of the Palatine,” since he followed Aristotle and taught on Mont-Ste.-Genevieve (Mt. Genovefa), where there was a noteworthy palace. Abelard also cultivated dialectic, for which he was called “the Dialectician,” as Hornius states. The aforementioned Thomasius wrote Abelard’s biography.

Albert the Great had been extremely devoted to Aristotelian philosophy, such that he was called “Aristotle’s Monkey.” Thus, Langius says: “Because of the quantity of his polymath doctrine, he was called the Great; he was extremely skilled in the entirety of Peripatetic philosophy. However, a great many called him Aristotle’s Monkey, as he was a man who, being too drunk on the wine of secular science, dared to couple human wisdom with divine letters. He was not afraid to mix argumentative, thorny, and talkative dialectic with the most sacred and pure theology, providing new and philosophical ways of teaching and explaining sacred letters to his followers. He was an outstanding general and monarch for the school of theologians, who are called ‘Albertists’ in his honor.” This Albert wrote commentaries on all the books, which encompass Aristotle’s Organon, “in which he demonstrates a great skill in logic,” according to Bartholomew Keckermann.

Thomas Aquinas is bestowed with great, almost divine praises from those who practice philosophy and theology. He is called “the angelic doctor, more than Solomon, an interpreter of divine will, the morning light, like a full moon in his wisdom and customs, and like a rising sun to the world.” He wrote commentaries on the entire Organon of Aristotle, as well as a logical summation on four opposites, demonstration, fallacies, modals, the nature of classification, the nature of accident, and the nature of syllogism. Keckermann says that men who read the fiery genius of Aquinas with discernment will know how much his commentaries contributed to the art of logic. Furthermore, according to René Rapin, Aquinas was the first to create a method of studying Arabic philosophy.


  • 1 Walch’s biography was compiled from the following sources: Johann Heinrich Zedier (ed.), “Walch (Johann Georg),” in Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon aller Wissenschafften und Künste, vol. 52 (Leipzig, 1747), 1108-25; Paul Tschackert, “Walch, Johann Georg,” in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. 40 (Leipzig, 1896), 650-2; Christoph Schmitt, “Johann Georg Walch,” in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, vol. 13, ed. Friedrich W. Bautz (Herzberg: Traugott Bautz, 1998), 183-6; Gerald MacDonald, “Die Religion derer Reformierten. Das Bild der reformierten Kirche in der lutherischen Spätorthodoxie am Beispiel Johann Georg Walchs (1693-1775),” in Reformierter Protestantismus vor den Herausforderungen der Neuzeit, eds. Thomas K. Kuhn and Hans-Georg Ulrichs (Wuppertal: Foedus, 2008), 197-207; and Manfred Kuehn, “Walch, Johann Georg,” in The Bloomsbury Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century German Philosophers, eds. Heiner F. Klemme and Manfred Kuehn (London: Bloomsbury, 2010), 829-30.
  • 2 [MK] Please note that the translation ends with the Section 9.
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