The Dumb Ox

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Hattip to my friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia who reminded me that today is the feastday of Saint Thomas Aquinas, aka the Angelic Doctor, aka the Dumb Ox, perhaps the greatest intellect to ever live.

7 Responses to The Dumb Ox

  • c matt says:

    I wonder if people in the late 1200′s/early 1300′s would look at their intellectually challenged companion and comment “well, he’s no Aquinas”.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    “I wonder if people in the late 1200’s/early 1300’s would look at their intellectually challenged companion and comment “well, he’s no Aquinas”.

    Actually, the term “dunce” to refer to an intellectually challenged person came from Blessed John Duns Scotus, one of the best known theologians after Aquinas. Duns Scotus was born in 1266, a few years before Aquinas died, and is best known for his arguments in favor of Mary’s Immaculate Conception (which, of course, eventually carried the day and led to its definition as dogma). Duns Scotus was a Francisan while Aquinas belonged to their “rival” order, the Dominicans.

    Despite Duns Scotus’ brilliance, in the 15th and 16th centuries his approach to theology fell out of favor, and people began referring to his followers as “Dunses,” which later morphed into the term “dunce.”

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