The Pope And Science
( Originally Published 1911 )
When, some years ago, the announcement of the prospective opening of the medical school at Fordham University, New York City, was made, the preliminary faculty were rather astonished to find that a number of intelligent physicians expressed surprise that there should be any question of the establishment of a medical school in connection with a Catholic institution of learning, since, as they understood, the Church forbade the practice of dissection, and in general was distinctly unfavorable to the development of medical science. Most of us had already known of the false persuasion existing in some minds, that by a Papal decree the practice of dissection had been forbidden during the Middle Ages, but it was hard to understand how men should think, in this day of general information, that Catholics were not free to pursue the study of any true science, and above all medical science, without let or hindrance from ecclesiastical authorities. In a word, though we live in what we are pleased to call an enlightened age with the schoolmaster abroad in the land, as is so proudly proclaimed, we encountered the most childish simplicity of belief in a number of old-time prejudices as to the position of the Church with regard to the study of science.
We found such a curious state of positive ignorance and such an erroneous, pretentious knowledge with regard to the supposed attitude of the Church to medicine especially, that we realized that the first thing that the new medical department would have to do would be to set about correcting authoritatively the false notions which existed with regard to the Popes and medical science. Most of the misinformation in this matter in American minds, we soon found, had its origin in Dr. Andrew D. White's volumes, " On the History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom." It is impossible for anyone to read Dr. White's chapter on from Miracles to Medicine in this work without coming to the conclusion that the constant policy of the Church for all the centuries down practically to our own time was to prevent the progress of medicine as far as possible. The reason for this policy, presumably, must be taken to be that it was to the interest of the ecclesiastics to have people apply to them for healing. Sufferers were to look to miracles rather than to drugs for their relief from ailments of any and every kind. Prayers were to be considered as much more efficacious than powders, and Masses much more likely to do good than the most careful nursing. These ecclesiastical offices had to be paid for. Accordingly, people had to be discouraged from applying to physicians, medical schools were kept under an ecclesiastical ban, "dissection was prohibited," anatomy declared "a sin against the Holy Ghost," "chemistry forbidden under the severest penalties," " the medieval miracles of healing checked medical science," " the practice of surgery was relegated mainly to the lowest orders of practitioners and confined strictly to them," "as the grasp of theology upon education tightened, medicine declined," and every possible means was employed to keep the popular mind in subjection to the clergy, and to prevent physicians from getting so much knowledge as would enable them to help free the people from the bondage of superstition, of which they were the victims and the slaves.
We do not think that we exaggerate the impression likely to be obtained from Dr. White's book in stating the ordinarily accepted opinions thus baldly, and as a matter of fact, as the quotation marks are intended to show, most of the strongest phrases that we have used are Dr. White's own. For those who can take such statements in good faith, it must be a very genuine surprise to learn a few facts from the history of medicine in the Middle Ages. Before the beginning of the sixteenth century, that is, before the religious revolt in Germany, which has been dignified by the name of reformation, altogether some twenty medical schools were founded in various parts of Europe. Of these, the best known in the order of their foundation were Salerno, Bologna, Naples, Montpelier, Paris, Padua and Pisa. Excellent schools, however, were established also at Ox-ford, Rome, Salamanca, Orleans and Coimbra. Even early in the fourteenth century such unimportant towns as Perugia, Cahors and Lerida had medical schools. These schools were usually established in connection with the universities. It was realized that this would make the teaching of medicine more serious and keep the practical side of medicine from obscuring too much the scientific and cultural aspects of the medical train- , ing. In modern times in America we made the mistake of having our medical schools independent of universities, but with the advance in education and culture we have come to imitate the custom of the thirteenth and the fourteenth century in this regard.
The universities, as is well known, were the outgrowth of cathedral schools. Practically all those in authority in them, by far the greater number of teachers and most of the pupils, were of the clerical order, that is, had assumed some ecclesiastical obligations and were considered to be churchmen. At these universities, if we can trust the example of England as applicable to the Continent also, there were, according to trust-worthy, conservative statistics, more students in attendance in proportion to the population than there has been at any period since, or than there are even at the present time in the twentieth century in any country of the civilized world. From this we can readily appreciate the enthusiastic ardor of those seeking education. Of these large numbers, the medical schools had their due proportion.'
Of course it will be said at once that though there were medical schools and medical professors and students, what was taught and studied at this time was so far distant from anything like practical knowledge of medicine, that it does not tell against the argument that medical education was practically non-existent. Some people will perhaps harbor the thought, if they do not frankly express it, that very probably these schools were organized under ecclesiastical authority, only in order to enable the Church and the clergy to maintain their control of medical education and keep the people from knowledge that might prove dangerous to Church authority. They were thus able to satisfy some of men's cravings for information in these matters, and yet prevent them from making such advances as would endanger the Church's policy of having them apply for prayers and Masses rather than for more physical remedies, except possibly for certain minor ailments. We do not doubt that there are many educated people who would be quite satisfied to accept this as a complete explanation of the situation in medical education at the medieval universities. Those who have read Dr. White's "History of the Warfare of Theology with Science " and have placed any faith in his really amusing excursions into a realm of which apparently he knows nothing-the history of medicine must believe something like this. For them a little glance at even a few of the realities of medical teaching in the thirteenth century will show at once what a castle of the imagination they have been living in.
Only those who are thoroughly and completely ignorant of the real status of medical teaching in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries continue to hold these absurd opinions as to the nullity of medieval medicine and surgery. The reading of a single short recent contribution to medical history, the address of Professor Clifford Allbutt, Regius Professor of Physic at the University of Cambridge, England, before the Congress of Arts and Sciences at the Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904, " On the Historical Relations of Medicine and Surgery down to the Sixteenth Century," would suffice to eradicate completely such traditional errors. He pointed out some surprising anticipations of what is most mod-ern in medicine and surgery in the teachings of William of Salicet and his pupil Lanfranc, Professors of Medicine and Surgery in the Italian Universities and in Paris during the thirteenth century. As these two professors were the most distinguished teachers of surgery of the period and the acknowledged leaders of thought in their time, their teaching may fairly be taken as representative of the curricula of medieval medical schools. William of Salicet, according to Professor Allbutt, taught that dropsy was due to a hardening of the kidneys ; durities renum are his exact words. He insisted on the danger of wounds of the neck. He taught the suture of divided nerves and gave explicit directions how to find the severed ends. He made a special study of suppurative disease of the hip and taught many practical things with regard to it. He taught, though this is a bit of knowledge supposed to come three centuries later into medicine and history, the true origin of chancre and phagedena. Most surprising of all, however, remains. William substituted the use of the knife for the abuse of the cautery, which had been introduced by the Arabs because they feared hemorrhage, and he insisted that hemorrhage could be controlled by proper means without searing the tissues, and that the wounds made by the knife healed ever so much more kindly and with less danger to the patient. In the matter of wound healing, he investigated the causes of the failure of healing by first intention, and expressed on this subject some marvelous ideas that are supposed to be of late nineteenth century origin.
While it is usually said that whatever teaching of science was done at medieval universities, was so entirely speculative or purely theoretic and so thoroughly impractical as not to be of any serious use for life and its problems, the utter falsity of such declarations can be seen from the fact that William of Salicet insisted on teaching medicine by clinical methods, always discussed cases with his students, and his medical and surgical works contain many case histories. This is just what pretentiously ignorant historians of medical education have often emphatically declared that medieval teachers did not do, but should have done, in the Middle Ages. It is not surprising then to find that William himself, and his great pupil Lanfranc, insisted on the utter inadvisability of separating medicine and surgery in such a way that the physician would not have the opportunity to be present at operations, and thus gain more definite knowledge about the actual conditions of various organs which he had tried to investigate from the surface of the body. It is a very curious coincidence that both the Regius Professors of Physic in England at the present time, our own Professor Osler, now at Ox-ford, as well as his colleague, Professor Allbutt, of Cam-bridge, have within the last five years emphasized this same idea in almost the very words which were used by William and Lanfranc nearly seven hundred years ago.
Lanfranc went even beyond his master in practical applications of important scientific principles to medicine and surgery. He added to the means of controlling hemorrhage. In arterial hemorrhage he suggested digital compression for an hour, or in severe cases ligature. His master had studied wounds of the neck. Lanfranc has a magnificent chapter on injuries of the head, which Professor Allbutt does not hesitate to call one of the classics of surgery. Lanfranc was thoroughly appreciated by his contemporaries. After years of study and teaching in Italy he was invited to Paris, where he be-came one of the lights of that great university. Both Salicet and Lanfranc did their wonderful work in scientific medicine down in Italy where ecclesiastical influence was strongest. Italy continued to be for the next six centuries always the home of the best medical schools in the world, to which the most ardent students from all over the continent and even England went for the sake of the magnificent opportunities provided. It was literally true, in spite of the tradition of Church opposition to medical science, that the nearer to Rome the university the better its medical school ; and as we shall see, Rome itself had the best medical school in the world for two centuries, while its greatest rival, often ahead of it in scientific achievement, always its peer, was the medical school of Bologna in the Papal States, directly under the control of the Popes since the beginning of the sixteenth century.
Dr. White has said just the opposite of this in a well-known passage of his book, in which he assures his readers that " in proportion as the grasp of theology upon education tightened, medicine declined ; and in proportion as that grasp relaxed, medicine has been developed." The reason for such a statement is that he knew nothing about the history of medicine and surgery in these medieval centuries and thought there was none. This is a characteristic example of his mode of writing the History of the (Supposed) Warfare of Theology with Science in Christendom. This much will give some idea of the value of his book as a work of reference.
After knowing something of these wonderful developments of medieval medical science, it is to be hoped that no one will listen hereafter to the ignorant assertions of those who talk of the suppression of medical knowledge at this time. William of Salicet and Lanfranc were both of them clerics, that is, they belonged to the ecclesiastical body and had taken minor orders, though they were not priests, as priests were for obvious reasons not allowed to do surgical operations, it being as repugnant to human feelings in the. Middle Ages as it is now, that he messenger of Divine Mercy should handle the knife and spill blood, or that the pastor of souls should come straight from the operating room to bring consolation to the afflicted and the dying.
Much more might be said about the wonderful medical teaching of the thirteenth century. The men who made the universities what they have continued to be down to the present time, had open minds for any great advances that might come. Accordingly, when the histories of anesthesia tell us that there was a form of anesthesia introduced during the thirteenth century by Ugo da Lucca, and that even some method of inhalation was employed for this purpose, it will be a surprise only to those who have never properly realized all that our educational forefathers of the early university days succeeded in accomplishing.
Down at Montpelier, Gilbert the Englishman taught that small-pox patients should be treated in rooms with red hangings, red curtains being especially advised for the doors and windows. This is what Finsen rediscovered in the nineteenth century, and for it was given the Nobel prize in the twentieth century. He found that small-pox patients suffered much less, that their fever was shorter, and that the after effects were much less marked when only red light was admitted to them. One may well ask what drugs did they employ, and perhaps conclude that because they knew very little of drugs, therefore they knew little of medicine. It is in the use of drugs, however, that medicine has always been at its weakest, and we scarcely need Oliver Wendel Holmes's declaration, that if all the drugs men used up to his time had been thrown into the sea, they would be better rather than worse off for it ; nor Professor Osier's many emphatic protests with regard to our ignorance of drugs, to make the world of the present day realize that a generation's use of them as a test would tell quite as severely against the eighteenth or the nineteenth century, as against the thirteenth or the fourteenth. They did use opium, however, the drug having been introduced into general practice, it is said, by a distinguished Papal physician, Simon Januensis. Mandrake was employed, and has not as yet gone entirely out of use. Various herbal decoctions were employed, and though these were used entirely on empiric grounds, some at least of them have continued in use with no better reason for their employment during most of the centuries since.
The relation of the Popes to these advances in medicine may be best appreciated from the interest which they took in the hospitals. It was only in hospitals that cases could be properly studied, and the medieval hospitals were conducted with very nearly the same relations to the universities of that time as those that exist at the present day. In the chapter on the Foundation of City Hospitals we show that these institutions are all, as Virchow, who is surely an authority above suspicion in any matter relating to the Popes has declared, due to one great Pope. This is the best possible demonstration of supreme humanitarian interest in human ills, and their treatment. Innocent III., as we shall see, at the beginning of the thirteenth century summoned Guy from Montpelier, where he had been trained in the care of patients, and where the greatest medical school of the time existed, to come to Rome and organize the Hospital of the Holy Ghost in the Papal City, which was to be a model for hospitals of the same kind in every diocese throughout the Christian world. Literally hundreds of these hospitals were founded during the thirteenth century as the result of this initiative. Patients were not left to die, with only the hope of prayers to relieve their sufferings, but they were cared for as skilfully as the rising science of the time knew how and with the tenderness that religious care has always been able to give. For added consolation in the midst of their sufferings and as a fortifier against the thought of death, they had religion and all its beautiful influences, for which even Virchow, himself utterly unbelieving, cannot suppress a tribute.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century, the University of the City of Rome was founded by Pope Boniface VIII. Only a year or two later the Popes removed their capital to Avignon. It has often been thought that, because of this removal of the Papal capital, this University of the City never came into existence ; but we have definite records of salaries paid out of the Papal revenues to professors of law and medicine about the end of the first quarter of the fourteenth century.
Down in the South of France, at Avignon itself, the Popes had for one of their chamberlains the famous Guy de Chauliac, who is always spoken of as the Father of Modern Surgery. One of the Popes of the Avignon period founded the College of Twelve Physicians at Montpelier, the foundation being sufficient to support twelve medical students, and by adding the prestige of the Pope's patronage to the reputation of the University, greatly encouraged attendance at it.
Another of the Popes of the Avignon period, Pope John XXII., who is said by President White to have been most bitter in opposition to every form of science, actually helped in the foundation of two medical schools.
One of these was at Cahors, his birthplace, and the other was at Perugia, at that time in the Papal States. In founding the medical school at Perugia, Pope John insisted that its standards must be as high as those of Paris and Bologna, and required that the first teachers there should be graduates from Paris or Bologna, where were the two greatest medical schools of the time. Seven years of study, three in the undergraduate department and four in the graduate schools, were to be required, according to this bull of foundation (given in full in the appendix), before the degree of Doctor of Medicine could be conferred. If it is recalled that this standard of three years of undergraduate work and four in the graduate school, or at least of seven years of University work, is the ideal toward which our universities are struggling, and, it must be said, not with the entire success we would like, at the beginning of the twentieth century, then, it is surprising to think that the president of a modern university, deeply interested in education in all its features and himself a professor of history, should know so little of, and be so lacking in sympathy with these men who laid the deep foundations of our modern education.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the relation of the Popes to medicine remains to be mentioned. If they really were the bitter opponents of things medical that Dr. White would have us believe, then we should expect that either there were no such officials as Papal physicians, or else that the men who occupied these posts were the veriest charlatans, who knew very little of medicine, and certainly did nothing to develop the science. As a matter of fact, there is no list of physicians connected by any common bond in history who are so gloriously representative of scientific progress in medicine as the Papal physicians. The faculty of no medical school presents such a list of great names as those of the men who were chosen to be the official medical attendants of the Popes, and who were thus given a position of prominence where their discoveries in medicine had a vogue they otherwise could not have attained. The list of the Royal physicians of any reigning house of Europe for the last seven centuries looks trivial beside the roll of Papal physicians. Could the Popes possibly have done anything more than this for medicine, or shown their interest in its progress, or made people realize better, that while prayer might be of service, every possible human means must be taken to secure, maintain and recover health.
To read even the headings of Dr. White's chapter on from Miracles to Medicine, in which he tells of how "the medieval miracles of healing checked medical science," how "pastoral medicine held back scientific effort," how "there was so much theological discouragement of medicine," and finally, how "the study of Anatomy was considered a sin against the Holy Ghost," in the light of this plain, matter-of-fact story of the wonderful development of medical science in the ecclesiastically founded and ruled universities of the thirteenth century, makes one realize into what a farcical state of mind as regards the realities of history such writers have forced themselves, and unfortunately have led many readers, by their excursions into the history of medicine and science. Probably there was never a more pretentious exhibition of ignorance of the facts of history than is displayed by these expressions and by the whole drift of this chapter. Dr. White would have us believe that the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were so backward in medicine and surgery that they practically have no history in these departments, or so little as not to be worth talking about. The simple facts show us that this is one of three or four great periods in human history in which there was the most wonderful development of medicine and surgery.
As we shall see in the course of this book, there was no bull or any other document issued by the Popes for-bidding dissection or hampering the development of anatomy in any way. As a matter of fact, the ecclesiastics, instead of being behind their age in liberality of spirit with regard to the use of the human body after death for anatomical purposes, were always ahead of it. There has always existed a popular horror of dissection, and this has manifested itself from the earliest times in history down to and within the last half century, in refusal to enact such secular legislation as would properly provide for the practice of dissection. This was as true in the United States until within the memory of men still alive as it had always been hitherto in European history. Dissection came to be allowed so freely in the medieval universities founded under ecclesiastical influence and ruled by ecclesiastics, as the result of the intelligent realization on the part of churchmen that the study of the human body was necessary for a proper recognition and appreciation of the causes of the ills to which flesh is heir. They realized that the only way to lay the foundation of exact medical knowledge was not only to permit, but to encourage the practice of dissection, and accordingly this was done at everyone of a dozen medical schools of Italy during the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and nowhere more so than at the Papal University at Rome itself during the sixteenth ceutury, at a time when, if we would believe Dr. White, the Church authorities were doing everything in their power to prevent dissection.
None of the other sciences allied to medicine were hampered in any way, but, on the contrary, fostered and encouraged ; and the devoted students of science were prominent churchmen, some of whom were honored with the title of saint after their deaths. In spite of declarations to the contrary, chemistry was not for-bidden by a Papal decree or other document, though the practice of certain alchemists of pretending to make gold and silver out of baser metals and thus cheating people was condemned, just as we condemn the corresponding practice of selling " gold bricks " at the present time. As will be made very clear, the Pope who issued the decree that forbids such sharp practices was a distinguished and discriminating patron of medical education at the beginning of the fourteenth century, doing more for it than any ruler for three centuries after his time ; yet in doing so he was only carrying out the policy which had been maintained by the Popes before his time and was to continue ever afterwards.
Strange as it may appear when we recall how much has been said with regard to Papal, and Church, and theological opposition to science, the story that we have just told with regard to the Papal relations to medicine and medical schools must be retold with regard to science in every department, and the scientific studies at the great medieval universities. Most people will find it even more difficult to accept this than to reach a calm consideration of the Papal relations to the medical sciences. Medicine is supposed to be the sort of practical subject that, in spite of prejudice, the ecclesiastical authorities could not neglect and were not able to suppress. Science in general, however, is supposed to be so distinctly opposed to what was at least considered religious truth, that the Church could not very well do anything else than prevent its development, or at least hamper its progress to such an extent that it was only with the lifting of the ecclesiastical incubus in our own day, that any great scientific advances came in the physical sciences. This is an entirely false impression emphasized by the ridiculous intolerance of writers who knew practically nothing of the real history of science in the Middle Ages, wrote their own prejudices large into the story of the times, and did great positive harm to the cause of truth by a pretense of knowledge they did not have, but which so many confidingly believed them to possess.
But it will at once be said, what of Galileo ? Does not his case show the anti-scientific temper of churchmen ? Nearly half a century ago, Cardinal Newman in his Apologia characteristically observed that this very case sufficed to prove that the Church did not set herself against scientific progress, for this is the "one stock argument " to the contrary, "the exception which proves the rule." Commenting upon the Galileo incident, Professor Augustus de Morgan, in his article on the Motion of the Earth in the English Encyclopedia, has expressed exactly the same conclusion. He is an authority not likely to be suspected of Catholic sympathy. He says
" The Papal power must upon the whole have been moderately used in matters of philosophy, if we may judge by the great stress laid on this one case of Galileo. It is the standing proof that an authority which has lasted a thousand years was all the time occupied in checking the progress of thought (!) There are certainly one or two other instances, but those who make most of the outcry do not know them."
There is no doubt that Galileo was prosecuted by the Roman inquisition on account of his astronomical teachings. We would be the last to deny that this was a deplorable mistake made by persons in ecclesiastical authority, who endeavored to make a Church tribunal the judge of scientific truth, a function altogether alien to its character which it was not competent to exercise. The fact that this was practically the only time that this was done serves to show that it was an unfortunate incident, but not a policy. The mistake has been to conclude that this was a typical case one of many, more flagrant than the others. This single incident has in-deed made it impossible that anything of the same kind should ever occur again. It was rather because of the way in which Galileo urged his truths than because of the truths themselves that he was condemned. Even Professor Huxley, in a letter to Professor St. George Mivart, November 12th, 1885, said : "I gave some attention to the case of Galileo when I was in Italy, and I arrived at the conclusion that the Pope and the College of Cardinals had rather the best of it."
Before as well as after Galileo's time scientific research was carried on ardently in the universities, especially in Italy. In the chapter on Science at the Medieval Universities, we call attention to the many advances then made with regard to scientific questions in which the world is very much interested at the present time. A hundred years before Galileo's time Copernicus went down to Italy to study astronomy and medicine, and when his book was published it was dedicated to a Pope. Copernicus himself was a faithful churchman all his life, came near being made a bishop once, and kept the diocese in which he lived, and in which his personal friend was bishop, in the fold of the Church in spite of Luther and the religious revolt all around it in Germany. One of the great scientists of the seventeenth century whose name is stamped deeply on the history of science, Father Kircher, the Jesuit, was invited to Rome the very year after Galileo's condemnation, and for thirty years continued to experiment and write in all branches of science, not only with the approbation of his own order, the Jesuits, which helped him in every way by the collection of specimens for his museum, but also with the hearty good will of many cardinals who were his personal friends, and with the constant patronage of the Popes, whose generous liberality enabled him to make Rome the greatest centre of scientific interest during this century.
At this time and during the preceding century the Roman University had the greatest medical school in the world. The names of its professors during the preceding century need only be mentioned in order to emphasize this. They include such distinguished men as Eustachius and Varolius, whose names are forever enshrined in the history of anatomy ; Columbus, who discovered and described the lesser or pulmonary circulation half a century before Harvey's publication with regard to the general circulation ; Caesalpinus, to whom the Italians attribute the discovery of the greater circulation before Harvey. In the next century Malpighi was tempted to come to Rome to teach at the Papal University, and the great Father of Comparative Anatomy ended his days in the Papal capital, amidst the friend-ship of all the high ecclesiastics and with the social intimacy of the Pope. From the beginning of the sixteenth century Bologna is a Papal city, but its medical school, far from declining after it came under Papal jurisdiction, was even more brilliant than before, and soon came even to outshine its previously successful rival, Padua.
What we would say then, is that the story of the sup-posed opposition of the Church and the Popes and the ecclesiastical authorities to science in any of its branches, is founded entirely on mistaken notions. Most of it is quite imaginary. Much of it is due to the exaggeration of the significance of the Galileo incident. Only those who know nothing about the history of medicine and of science continue to harbor it. That Dr. White's book, contradicted as it is so directly by all our serious histories of medicine and of science, should have been read by so many thousands in this country, and should have been taken seriously by educated men, physicians, teachers, and even professors of science who want to know the history of their own sciences, only shows how easily even supposedly educated men may be led to follow their prejudices rather than their mental faculties, and emphasizes the fact that the tradition that there is no good that can possibly come out of the Nazareth of the times before the reformation, still dominates the intellects of many educated people who think that they are far from prejudice and have minds perfectly open to conviction.
We would not leave the impression, moreover, that it was in medicine alone that the misunderstood Middle Ages made distinct progress in science. This is true in every department of what we now call natural science.
The reason for the false impression that science was not studied in the Middle Ages at the universities, is that the supposed historians of education and of science who have made such declarations have never taken the trouble to look into the works of the great writers of this period. Anyone who does so, at once changes his opinion in this matter. Humboldt, for instance, the great German natural philosopher, has given ample credit to these colleagues of his, who lived some six centuries before him, yet did such wonderful work in spite of their inadequate means and the fact that they were as yet only groping in the darkness of the beginnings of science. Whewell, the English historian of the inductive sciences, has also proved sympathetic to these old philosophers, and especially to Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon. Those who so ignorantly but with a pretense of knowledge make little of the science of the Middle Ages, know nothing of the real accomplishments of such men as Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Arnold of Villanova, nor Vincent of Beauvais, the encyclopedist. As is always the case, however, the ignorance of supposed historians of science and education in this matter, has only served to emphasize the pre-sumptuous assurance of their declarations as to the intolerance of the Middle Ages toward scientific progress. It is ever the ignorant man who has the least doubt about his opinions.
Unfortunately many students of science followed these writers apparently without a hint of the deception that was being practiced on them. Not infrequently the prestige or institutional position of the writers has been enough to carry their works into a vogue which has been heightened by the existence of religious prejudice and intolerance. Usually such motives are supposed to be far distant from the scientific mind. In this case they have been, to some degree at least, unconsciously present. There has unfortunately been a definite persuasion that there could be nothing good in the Middle Ages, and therefore there has been no surprise that evil should be found there. Perhaps there is nothing sadder in present day education, than the fact that serious students and professors of science should thus have been led astray. Nothing shows more clearly the superficialty of our education than the fact that these unfounded statements with regard to the greatest period of education in history have been so universally accepted with so little question.
A moment's consideration of the conditions in which the universities developed will show how unreasonable is the thought that the Church or the Popes we opposed to any phase of education.
It has come to be universally conceded in recent years that the Church was the great patron of art and of letters during these centuries. Without the inspiration of her teachings there would have been no sublime subjects for artists ; without the lives of her saints there would have been much less opportunity for artistic expression ; without the patronage of the cathedral builders, the high ecclesiastics, and above all the monastic orders, on whom, with so little reason, so much contempt has been heaped, there would have been none of that great art which developed during the centuries before what is called the Renaissance. In literature, everyone of the great national poems that lie at the basis of modern literature is shot through and through with sublime thoughts that owe their origin to the Church. We need only mention the Cid in Spain, the Arthur Legends in England, such works of the Meistersingers as Perceval and Arme Heinrich, the Golden Legend, the Romance of the Rose, and Dante, all written during the thirteenth century alone, to illustrate Church influence in literature. This is, as we have said, admitted by all. It is supposed, however, that while the Church encouraged this side of human development, it effectually prevented the evolution of man's scientific interests.
As a matter of fact, however, the Church did quite as much for science as for literature and art and charity. There has never been any question that under her fostering care philosophy developed in a very marvelous way. The scholastic philosophers are no longer held in the disrepute so ignorantly accorded them in the last century. It is recognized that scholastic philosophy rep-resents a supremely great development of human thinking with regard to the relations of man to his Creator, to his fellow man, and to the universe. Even those who do not accept its conclusions now, if themselves educated men, no longer make little of those wonderful thinkers, but sympathize with their magnificent work. Only those who are ignorant of scholastic philosophy entirely, still continue to re-echo the expressions of critics whose opinions were founded on second-hand authorities and who confessedly had been unable to make anything out of the scholastics themselves. This field of philosophy was the real danger point for faith and the Church, yet its study was encouraged in every way, provided the philosophers kept within the bounds of their subject.
Just exactly the same thing was true in the realm of natural science. Strange as it may seem to those who have allowed themselves to be led into thinking that only for the last century or a little more have men made observations on nature, and only comparatively recently have the conclusions which they reached with regard to natural phenomena been of any real significance, there is no doubt at all that men made great achievements in physical science in the Middle Ages, some of which unfortunately were lost sight of later, but many of which remained to form the basis on which our modern scientific knowledge has been built. In order to obtain a proper appreciation of this, all that is necessary is to study the works of the investigating scholars of the early history of the universities, and see how much that is considered very modern they anticipated in their writings. They must be read for them-selves, not be judged by excerpts chosen by prejudiced readers, much less by critics who were bent on not finding anything good in the Middle Ages. There is need of sympathetic interpretation to replace the ignorant contempt which has so far dominated this period of the history of education. The precious lesson that men may learn from the unfortunate misunderstanding, however, is how much old-time prejudice still dominates the attitude even of scholars nay, even of scientists and educators, with regard to certain periods in history.
To most people it will be utterly uneomprehensible, however, that after all that they have heard about Church opposition to science and Papal discouragement of education as dangerous to faith, there should now be an absolute denial of the supposed grounds for the assertions in this matter. Most readers, even among educated people, will be very prone to think that their impressions in these matters cannot be entirely wrong, and that previous writers on the subject cannot have been either deceiving or deceived. In all that relates to the Roman Catholic Church, however, before the date of the so-called reformation, it is important to remember that there came into existence a definite body of Protestant tradition, the creation of the reformers who wished to blacken the memory of the Old Church as much as possible to justify their own apostasy, and who therefore spared no means to pervert the facts of history or to exaggerate the significance of historical details so as to produce this false impression. Subsequent generations were oftener deceived themselves than deceiving. They were sure that the Church was opposed to education and to science, and consequently it was not hard for them to read in certain incidents and documents a meaning quite other than their actual significance, because this added meaning agreed with their prejudices on these subjects.
Every advance in modern history, every modification of view that has been brought about by the critical historical method of recent times, has emphasized this point of view almost without exception. The distinguished philosophic and historical writer, the Comte de Maistre, in his Soirées of St. Petersburg about a century ago, declared that " History for the last three centuries (1500-1800) has been a conspiracy against the truth." Just about a century later the editors of the Cambridge Mod-ern History, in the preface to the first volume of their monumental work, re-echoed the words of the Comte de Maistre almost literally in a pregnant paragraph which deserves to be in the note-book of everyone who is trying to get at the real truth of history. They said :
"Great additions have of late been made to our knowledge of the past ; the long conspiracy against the revelation of truth has gradually given way, and competing historians all over the civilized world have been zealous to take advantage of the change. The printing of archives has kept pace with the admission of enquirers ; and the total mass of new matter, which the last half-century has accumulated, amounts to many thousands of volumes. In view of changes and of gains such as these, it has become impossible for the historical writer of the present age to trust without reserve even to the most respected secondary authorities. The honest student finds himself continually deserted, retarded, misted by the classics of historical literature, and has to hew his own way through multitudinous transactions, periodicals and official publications in order to reach the truth.
"Ultimate history cannot be obtained in this generation ; but, so far as documentary evidence is at command, conventional history can be discarded, and the point can be shown that has been reached on the road from one to the other."
The italics in this passage are ours, but the ideas they emphasize will serve to show how necessary it is for most of us to give up the supposed historical truth of the preceding generations and have an open mind for the newer ideas that are coming in as the result of the renewed consultation of original documents and primal sources of information. The present volume is written entirely with the idea of bringing out the facts of the relations of the Popes and the Church and the ecclesiastics, especially of the centuries before the reformation, to science and to scientific education. My own position as a professor of the history of medicine has necessarily made medical science very prominent in the book. This, however, far from being a disadvantage, is really an advantage, since the physical sciences of the medieval times gathered mainly around medicine, and it was chiefly physicians and medical students who devoted most time to them. After a detailed study of the history of medical science in the Middle Ages as well of its allied sciences, it becomes very clear that there was no trace of Papal or Church opposition to science as science, and, on the contrary, liberal patronage, abundant encouragement, and even pecuniary aid for the development of scientific education in every way.
What we have tried to give in this book, then, is the authoritative refutation of the supposed prohibition of the cultivation of certain departments of medical and allied sciences by the Popes, and sufficient information to enable students and teachers of science to realize that the ordinarily accepted notions with regard to opposition to science in the Middle Ages are founded on nothing more substantial than sublime ignorance of the facts of the history of science at that time. There was no bull against anatomy or dissection ; no bull against chemistry the Popes were the patrons of the great medical scientists and surgeons ; the Papal Medical School was one of the best in the world and was sedulously fostered ; the great scientists of the Middle Ages were clergymen, and many of them when they died were declared saints by the Church. The opposite impression is entirely a deduction from false premises with regard to the supposed attitude of the Church and churchmen. We shall furnish abundant authorities of the first rank and of value as absolute as there can be in present day history as to these questions. The consultation of these will furnish further material for those who desire to have real knowledge of the history of science in a magnificently original and greatly fruitful period.