DISPUTATIONS, Historic. Public de bates on religious questions are of very ancient origin according to the tradition in the Midrash which represents Abraham as holding a debate with Nimrod. In 150 a.c. a debate was held in Alexandria before Ptolemy Philomater on the comparative pureness and completeness of the Jewish and Samaritan text of the Old Testa ment. Later, Jews and Romans debated. In the early Christian Church debates were held with the Jews. Two are of especial prominence: the debate of Athanasius with Zaccheus and the debate of Justin Martyr with Trypho, the Jew. In the 13th century the Jews and Christians of Italy publicly disputed various questions. A great disputation was held at Paris, 25-27 June 1240, in the presence of Queen Blanche, mother of Louis IX, and a great number of priests and rabbis. Another famous debate took place at Barcelona, 20 June 1263, on the question whether the Messiah had appeared or not. It was at the royal palace in the presence ofJames I of Aragon and his court. Benedict XIII presided over a great debate which was held with great pomp and numbers at Tortosa beginning in Feb ruary 1413 and ending November 1414. It was probably the longest debate in history, having 69 sessions and many debaters. The councils of the Church were often nothing more than dis putations. The establishment of universities and the granting of degrees further extended the scope of the public debate. Many of the institutions held a weekly debate where the entire faculty assembled and a master presided. The presiding officer proposed theses which were attacked in turn by various masters while the bachelors defended the thesis of their mas ter. The Middle Ages laid great emphasis on disputations. °Such intellectual tournaments in which the students were taught to defend a thesis against attack, did more to enable them to grasp a subject than the mute and solitary reviewing and cramming of our modern exam inations can possibly do. That method brought into play all the excitement of a contest, the triumph of success, and the disgrace of defeat, in order to emphasize the value of what had been learned, together with the importance of an alert wit and constant readiness to use it' (F. Paulsen). After the Middle Ages the weekly disputations declined in use and were largely succeeded by the Seminar system. The candidate for the doctorate published a thesis or theses and defended them against all comers, a custom which still prevails in some European universities. It was in keeping with this custom that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses. The famous Leipzig disputation of Andrew Boden stein of Carlstadt against John Eck and of Luther against Eck covered a period of 22 days, both sides claiming the victory. In Switzer land the public disputations of the Reformation began with that of Zurich, which opened 29 Jan. 1523. More than 600 men of eminent rank and schOlarship were present. Zwingli debated against Faber and won. In December 1524 St8r, a priest, debated against clerical celibacy and the same month Farel also conducted a disputation. Another disputation in which Eck represented the Papal party was held at Baden in 1526. Haller of Bern and (Ecolampadius of Basel opposed him. The treatment of the rep
resentatives of Bern and Basel was such that their home supporters were dissatisfied and another disputation was arranged for which took place at Bern 7-27 Jan. 1528. Zwingli was present and there was no notable debater on the other side. After the printing presses became more common the public debate was largely succeeded by the printed debate made especially noteworthy in the Marprelate and Deistic controversies. A great disputation was held in Geneva in May 1535 in which Viret and Farel took part against Jean Chapuis. Farel and Viret also debated at Lausanne in October 1536, in a public disputation with the Papal party. In 'The Cyclopledia) edited by Abraham Rees, we find that °The Port Royalists take occasion to observe that nothing gives so many different lights and openings for dis covering the truth as disputation. The move ments of a mind, employed singly in the exam ination of any subject, are usually too cool and languid; the mind needs a certain degree of heat to awake its ideas. Now, by the oppositions in dispute we come to find wherein the difficulty lies, and the vigor the mind has acquired en ables us to surmount it.° Some debates have occurred in America which attracted wide at tention. Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples Church, was a great debater. At Cincinnati, Ohio, 13-21 April 1829, he debated with Robert Owen of Lanark, Scotland, on the •Evidences of Christianity.° Again at Cincin nati, 13-21 Jan. 1837, he debated on the Roman Catholic religion with Rt. Rev. John B. Purcell, bishop of Cincinnati. Mr. Campbell also de bated with Rev. Nathan L. Rice, at Lexington, Ky., 15 Nov. to 2 Dec. 1843, on Christian bap tism. The report of the debate fills a volume of 912 pages. Cincinnati was the place for another noteworthy debate, 1, 2, 3 and 6 Oct. 1845, on the "Sinfulness of Slavery .° The debaters were both Presbyterian clergymen of Cincinnati, Rev. J. Blanchard and Rev. Nathan L Rice. A public debate was held at Genoa, N. Y., begin ning 28 Dec. 1847 and ending 5 Jan. 1848, between David Holmes, a Methodist, and John M. Austin, a Universalist, on the doctrines of the °Atonement° °Universal Salvation° and 'Endless Punishment° A debate was held near Cincinnati in 1860 on the °Coming of the Son of Man,° °Endless Punishment° and °Universal Salvation between Erasmus Manford of Saint Louis, editor of a magazine, and Benjamin Franklin of Cincinnati, editor of the Americas Review. A nine days' debate was held at Vienna, Ill., in August 1868, covering °Baptism,* the "Work of the Holy Spirit,* the °Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church° and °Human Creeds.* The debaters were Clark Braden of the Church of Christ and George W. Hughey of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A large volume of nearly 700 pages was probably the only result of the debate. There have been many informal debates between Arminians and Calvinists, Methodists and Baptists, Episco palians and Dissenters when the discussions were not printed. The American political de bates have furnished one of the most brilliant contributions to the forensic history of the United States.