By whose authority?

I found this gem in Emile Brehier’s book on the Middle Ages.

Metaphysical discussion in the early Middle Ages centered around preparing men for service to God.  While seemingly dull, this trained the minds to recognize and work with different levels of authoritarian texts–and how to apply those texts in concrete ways. It goes something like this, “Authority is not something simple; even the heretics based their arguments on authority (Scripture)…[St Vincent laid bare the thought of the Middle Ages for identifying authority: one should show preference for the opinion of the majority and look with distrust on private matters.     If heresy threatens to spread, however, one should cling to the opinions of the ancients, one should follow the decisions of an ecumenical council or, if no council has been held, question and compare Orthodox teachers and hold to the positions common to all” (11).

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