Chapter 2, “The Scholastic Traditions” Part 1 “Theories of Salvation” pp. 22-41
Ozment begins with the observation that medieval society considered man to be very religious and nurtured that concept through many devotional practices. On p. 22 he makes a statement which may belie his view of this. “Medieval ecclesiastical institutions were built on the credulity of the educated as well as the uneducated, the politically powerful as well as the masses.”
Augustine emerged as the greatest influence on medieval theology. His Confessions and City of God were viewed as the definitive theological texts. Ozment builds a case based primarily on Augustine for a medieval view of anthropology, including the fallen nature. Augustine taught supralapsaian predestination, where all individuals’ destinies are determined by God before Adam’s creation (Ozment 1980, 28). Ozment views Pelagianism as a reaction to this. “To Pelagius, Augustine’s teaching on original sin and predestination exaggerated human weakness and divine sovereignty and invited apathy and immorality” (Ibid., 29). Through all the debate, finally the consensus was that men needed grace delivered through sacraments, “ethical cooperation with grace,” and absolution (Ibid., 29).
Much of earlier medieval debate focused on how grace, something divine, can dwell in man, who consistently shows himself sinful (Ibid., 31). The discussion of the source of good works made a great step with Aquinas, who, using Aristotle, said that grace “is in the soul not as a substantial form but as an accidental form” (Ibid., 32). This distinction between substance and accidence has influenced doctrinal debate ever since Aquinas.