Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010a. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 32, “The Golden Age of Medieval Christianity” Loc. 6228-6738.
Gonzalez views the time at the close of the Crusades as a high point in both monasticism and the papacy, which he discusses in turn. As use of money increased along with urbanization some mendicant orders of monks arose (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6236). Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) embraced poverty and at the same time joined it to preaching (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6267). Another major mendicant order was founded in northern Spain by St. Dominic (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6290). This order emphasized study, unlike the Franciscans (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6309). Both orders flourished throughout Europe.
There were remaining power struggles for control of the papacy even after the Concordat of Worms in 1122 (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6352). Gonzalez details some political maneuvering through the 12th century. Particularly, Pope Innocent III gained and used a great deal of political authority (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6374ff) Gonzalez summarizes Innocent’s time as that of development of two monastic orders, the defeat of Islam in Spain, and the articulation of transubstantiation (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6426). Gonzalez concludes that, “...it was under Innocent III that Christendom most nearly approached the ideal of being ‘one flock, under one shepherd’ - the pope” (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6436).
The 13th century was also a time in which scholastics flourished (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6470). Following Anselm of Canterbury in the late 11th century, the Scholastics attempted to explain the matters of faith using reason and logical categories (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6480). Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence, as well as his explanation of the incarnation (Cur Deus Homo) became standards of Western theology (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6500). Gonzalez also briefly discusses Peter Abelard (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6508) and Peter Lombard (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6524).
As Scholasticism developed, universities grew in the larger cities. Gonzalez describes them as “guilds of scholars, both teachers and students, organized in order to defend the rights of their members, and to certify the level of proficiency achieved by each” (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6532). Much of the scholastic training was in making authoritative theological arguments (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6543). The works of Aristotle were also reintroduced as part of the curriculum (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 65560). Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas sought to harmonize theology and logical reason using Aristotle’s methodology (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6585). Gonzalez illustrates this work by summarizing Aquinas’ treatment of the relation of faith and reason (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6614). Philosophy can deal only with truth which can be reached by reason. Theology deals with all truths. All which is needed for salvation has been revealed, since not all people could reach the knowledge of God by reason.
Gonzalez continues the chapter by discussing the worldwide missionary movement beginning in the 13th century by St. Francis (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6667), as well as the flourishing of church architecture, which proclaims the gospel in stone (Gonzalez 2010a, Loc. 6689).