Among contemporaries he passed for one of the most formidable polemical or gladiatorial rhetoricians; and a considerable section of his extant works are invectives.
Arthur Young, with whom he had corresponded years before on the mysteries of deep ploughing and fattening hogs, added a cogent polemical chapter to that ever admirable work, in which he showed that he knew as much more than Burke about the old system of France as he knew more than Burke about soils and roots.
St Bernard accused him of sharing the doctrines of Abelard (see Ep. 189, 195), and procured his condemnation by the council of Sens (I 140) at the same time as that of the great scholastic. This was perhaps no more than the outcome of the fierce polemical spirit of the abbot of Clairvaux, which led him to include all his adversaries under a single anathema.
This new quasi-monophysitism disinclined the Lutherans to make much of Christ's humanity, while the Reformed, partly from the scholarly tradition of Calvin, partly from a polemical motive, laid great emphasis on the manhood.
His annotations on the Psalms are especially interesting for the polemical excursuses directed against the Christian interpretation.
He also displays in this work a considerable knowledge of the Rabbinical writings and a skilful polemical method which was surpassed by none of the later anti-Jewish writers.
In the department of philosophy, besides several writers of dissertations bearing an imitative, didactic or polemical character, Hungary could boast a few authors of independent and original thought.
Soon, however, the great influence of Jerome in the Western Church caused its leaders to espouse all his quarrels, and Vigilantius gradually came to be ranked in popular opinion among heretics, though his influence long remained potent both in France and Spain, as is proved by the polemical tract of Faustus of Rhegium (d.
His other works consisted of theological essays, ascetic or exegetic, questions of ecclesiastical discipline and reform, and of various polemical writings called forth for the most part by the schism.
And while the polemical motive is obvious, and the argument from prophecy against the legitimacy of a non-Davidic dynasty is quite in the manner of the scribes, the spirit of theocratic fervour which inspires the picture of the Messiah is broader and deeper than their narrow legalism.