This overview of Melanchthon’s dialectic is far from being complete. He continues to present the rules of scientific thinking and the theoretical and practical methods. But the short survey, which covers the essence of his scholarly view, shows a clear intention and effort on his behalf to “domesticate” the classical (pagan) science of thinking in view of their adoption by the Protestant churches. He believed that by doing so, he was advancing the science of the Word, as far as the preparation to the church service is concerned.
A syllogism (Greek: συλλογισμός – “conclusion, inference”) is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true. Aristotle defines the syllogism as “a discourse in which certain (specific) things having been supposed, something different from the things supposed results of necessity because these things are so”. The Aristotelian syllogism dominated Western philosophical thought for many centuries in the Middle Ages.
First and foremost, the Protestantism sought to incorporate the first three disciplines of the seven liberal arts into the methodologies of scholarly theology and the curricula of school education. It also served the purpose of preparing seminary students for preaching the Word in their mother-tongue. Once they mastered the languages of the Two Testaments, dialectics (or logic) aided them in decoding the meaning (or the message) of the passage, while rhetorics guided them in composing a structurally sound sermon.
The Reformation highly esteemed the classical scientific disciplines as far as they contributed to a better understanding of the gospel. The method was delivered by the Humanism and Renaissance. Consequently, the reformers, whose primary concern was studying the word of God in original (Hebrew and Greek), started to master both languages right from the beginning. Hebrew helped them to learn and understand God’s will in the Old Testament in its original setting, while Greek improved their grip on the message of the New Testament.
When speaking of Reformation and Humanism, we tend to connect them to each other. But as we come closer to the essence of each, we discover their substantially different nature. The gist of Humanism is the human nature. On statues and paintings of the Renaissance the man is portrayed as a great, powerful, almost almighty person. On the other hand, Reformation places God, Christ, salvation, reconciliation etc. at the centre of its teaching. Humans are included too, but only as sideliners, as weak, infirm, needy, helpless figures.