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Sic et Non

Sic et Non, an early scholastic text whose title translates from Medieval Latin as "Yes and No", was written by Peter Abelard. In the work, Abélard juxtaposes apparently contradictory quotations from the Church Fathers on many of the traditional topics of Christian theology. In the Prologue, Abélard outlines rules for reconciling these contradictions, the most important of which is noting the multiple significations of a single word. However, Abélard does not himself apply these rules in the body of the Sic et non, which has led scholars to conclude that the work was meant as an exercise book for students in applying dialectic (logic) to theology.

In Sic et Non, Abelard presents 158 questions that present a theological assertion and allows its negation.

The first five questions are:

  1. Must human faith be completed by reason, or not?
  2. Does faith deal only with unseen things, or not?
  3. Is there any knowledge of things unseen, or not?
  4. May one believe only in God alone, or not?
  5. Is God a single unitary being, or not?

The prologue frames the text as a professor's guide, " Aristotle, the most clear-sighted of all the philosophers, was desirous above all things else to arouse this questioning spirit ...".