Quaestio (teaching practice)

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Quaestio is a method of scientific work during scholasticism .


The name Quaestio can be derived from Latin and means the question . During the scholastic period , the method known as Quaestio was a widespread form of scientific discussion. The quaestio in the form of the "quaestio disputata" ( disputation ) as well as the "lectio" ( lecture ) was the usual teaching and learning method in the scholastically determined Middle Ages . Based on this method is a corresponding literary form, the Quaestiones , in which many medieval treatises were written.

The quaestio served to repeat and deepen the lectio and gained an increasing influence on it itself. Depending on the curriculum or the academic rank of those involved, there were different types of quaestio , the topics of which were either fixed, determined or freely selectable ( quaestio quodlibet also quaestio quodlibetalis ). Participating were the opponens (opponent) and the Respondens (respondents), headed by a member of the teaching staff. In many cases, the audience also took part.

The quaestio quodlibetalis was a solemn event for the entire university and thus a highlight of academic life. In this context, joking questions were also discussed, in particular this was an opportunity for students and colleagues to lead the magister on the ice.

With regard to the famous problem of how many angels fit on a needle point - known for example from Christian Morgenstern's poem Scholastic Problems - it should be noted that this question has not been proven for the Middle Ages. That this question was even dealt with is probably a malicious assumption of humanism .

Medieval, however, is the statement that a thousand souls in heaven fit on the point of a needle. It appears in the mystical treatise Sister Katrei from the 14th century as a scholarly statement that is also generally known in the vernacular.

See also


  • The German Universities in the Middle Ages by Friedrich Zarnecke, Leipzig 1857
  • The universities of Europe in the middle ages by Rashdall, Hastings, Vol. 1, Oxford 1936, p. 493 ff.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Christian Morgenstern: Scholastic problems with Project Gutenberg
  2. ^ William J. Hoye, The Medieval Method of the Quaestio, 6. The Quaestio quodlibetalis Online
  3. Otto Simon: Tradition and handwriting relationship of the treatise "Sister Katrei" , dissertation, Halle / Saale 1906, p. 71, lines 4 to 7. Online

Web links

William J. Hoye : The Medieval Method of Quaestio (94 KB; PDF)