God and Reason in the Middle Ages

God and Reason in the Middle Ages

God and Reason in the Middle Ages

God and Reason in the Middle Ages

Synopsis

The Age of Reason associated with the names of Descartes, Newton, Hobbes, and the French philosophers, actually began in the universities that first emerged in the late Middle Ages (1100 to 1600) when the first large scale institutionalization of reason in the history of civilization occurred. This study shows how reason was used in the university subjects of logic, natural philosophy, and theology, and to a much lesser extent in medicine and law. The final chapter describes how the Middle Ages acquired an undeserved reputation as an age of superstition, barbarism, and unreason.

Excerpt

To understand what happened in the twelfth century, it is necessary to begin with the early Middle Ages, with its roots in the late Roman Empire. During that period in Western Europe, intellectual life was shaped by concerns about the Christian religion and its theology, and by a modest amount of secular learning that was largely an inheritance from pagan Greek sources, such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the Stoics. Most of what was known of these classical authors was not derived directly from their works, which were largely unavailable, but was filtered through Latin authors of the period – St. Augustine, Martianus Capella, Macrobius, Boethius, Cassiodorus, Isidore of Seville, Venerable Bede, and others.

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