Thomas Bradwardine: Forgotten Medieval Augustinian
Dykstra, Russell J.
Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, Vol. 34, Number 1 (2000); 34:2 (2001); 35:1 (2001)
Thomas Bradwardine is a late medieval theologian of considerable significance who has been all but lost to the twentieth century church. In his day, Bradwardine’s obvious intellectual ability and theological acumen earned him the designation Doctor Profundus and a spot in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. His published works include learned volumes on logic as well as on geometry and physics. The mathematical and scientific works were on the cutting edge of those fields and are still referred to today. His theological magnum opus is a defense of God’s sovereignty, especially over against the Pelagianism of his age – a mammoth work entitled The Cause of God against the Pelagians.
Despite his evident ability and significant writing, Bradwardine remains largely unknown to the church world today. This is due partly to the inaccessibility of his works, and partly to the paucity of material written on Bradwardine. In the introduction to his work, Bradwardine and the Pelagians: A Study of his ‘De Causa Dei’ and its Opponents, Gordon Leff laments that “little that is definite or consistent has been said” about Thomas Bradwardine. That was in 1957, interestingly enough, the year when two major works on Bradwardine appeared – that of Leff and the scholarly work of Heiko Oberman, Archbishop Thomas Bradwardine: A Fourteenth Century Augustinian. Since that time the dearth of material on Bradwardine has continued, and the English reader is severely limited.