THE great number of Authors which wrote in the Thirteenth Century of the Church, seems to promise a great variety of very diverting matters. And therefore no doubt it will be a surprise to find nothing in this Chapter almost but just the Names, the employments, and the Time of the greatest part of the Authors, with a simple Catalogue of their Writings. But if one considers the nature of the Works, and the manner of their Composition, he must confess that we have used them as we ought, seeing the Extracts that might have been made of them would have been neither useful nor pleasant and therefore we shall content ourselves in making some general Reflections upon the different sorts of Subjects which busied the Authors of the Thirteenth Age, and upon the manner of their writing.
The most considerable are the Commentaries upon the four Books of Sentences of Peter Lornbard Bishop of Paris, whose Work was then in such request, that it was the only Divinity that was taught or learnt in the Schools. But instead of pursuing his Method, and solving the Questions which he has proposed by passages out of the Fathers, they make use of nothing almost but Philosophical Principles, and Metaphysical Niceties: they don’t think it enough to explain the Text of the Book of the Master of the Sentences, but they must take his Questions; and handle them after a different manner.