Talk of a serious discussion of whether “communism” has three or four syllables takes me back several hundred years, to the days when scholars were seriously debating the question of how many angels could stand on the point of a needle….
I seem to remember that this question, rather than vexing the minds of the scholiasts, sprang from the inventive and playful minds of Messrs. Swift, Pope, Arbuthnot and Gay in their satiric Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus. Not that old Tom Aquinas didn’t come up with a whole slew of equally engaging questions such as whether angels have bodies or merely assume them when needed, whether they can have sex, etc. (They assume the bodies, and no, disappointingly they are incapable of having sex in such assumed bodies. How the Angelic Doctor knew this is anybody’s guess!)
BTW I mentioned Aquinas as the Angelic Doctor. The other schoolmen had epithets attached to their doctorates too, such as:
Augustine - The Eloquent Doctor
John, Fidanza Bonaventure - The Seraphic Doctor
Alexander of Hales - The Irrefrangible Doctor
John Duns Scotus - The Subtle Doctor
William Durandus de Pourcain - The Most Resolving Doctor
Gregory of Rimini - The Authentic Doctor
Raymond Lully - The Illuminated Doctor
and, my personal favourite
Giles, Archbishop of Bourges - The Doctor with Good Foundation
Taken from Brewers Phrase & Fable and one of the reasons I love the book, error-strewn though it be.