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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume II. The End of the Middle Ages.

XV. English and Scottish Education. Universities and Public Schools to the Time of Colet

§ 5. The Coming of the Friars

In 1217, within two years after the foundation of their order, the Dominicans planted a settlement in Paris; in 1221 they invaded Oxford; and in 1274 they were in Cambridge. They were followed at Oxford in 1224 by the Franciscans, who, at the same time, appeared in Cambridge. Entering in the guise of mendicants, they speedily became possessed of valuable property, and, within fifty years of their first appearance, their magnificent buildings were the envy of the scholars of both universities. Carmelites, Augustinians and White Canons imitated the example of the Black and the Grey Friars, and their convents lined the streets of the two university towns. Franciscans and Dominicans alike flung themselves with enthusiasm into university life.

In the first quarter of the twelfth century Irnerius, the father of the glossators, had laid the foundations of the fame of Bologna as a school of civil law. Accursius had emulated him at Florence. Vacarius, attempting to follow the example at Oxford, was, thanks to the jealousy of the canonists, silenced by Stephen. In 1144, the Benedictine Gratian published at Rome the famous Decretum, in which he provided the students of canon law with a Corpus Juris worthy to rank with the Pandects of Justinian. At Oxford, the opposition of the canonists to the civil law was soon exchanged for ardent pursuit, and doctors graduated as utriusque juris.

Meanwhile (c. 1160) Peter Lombard, archbishop of Paris, attempted to render to theologians the service which Gratian had rendered to the canonists. Applying to such subjects as the Trinity, free will, original sin, the sacraments, the resurrection of the dead and final judgement, the methods of a strict dialectic, he developed a scientific theological system. His Sententiae became the standard theological text-book of the Middle Ages. The mendicants, invading the seats of Parisian teachers, endeavoured to ally with Christian doctrine an Aristotelian philosophy which had trickled through the schools of Jews and Saracens. Thus they became the leading exponents of scholasticism.