Selections from Medieval Philosophers - Vol. 1

Selections from Medieval Philosophers - Vol. 1

Selections from Medieval Philosophers - Vol. 1

Selections from Medieval Philosophers - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The reestimation of medieval culture began, about eighty years ago, to make difficult the continued currency of the old strictures against medieval philosophy. Judgments of philosophers in the ordinary tradition had, up to that time, continued almost unchanged from the form in which they first appeared in the writings of sixteenth and seventeenth century philosophers who represented themselves in revolt against a scholasticism, vain, authority-ridden, tenuous, repetitious, logic-chopping, inadequate to the revolutions of modern thought. Only slowly have these opinions been altered until in more recent years increasingly impressive contributions in scholarly research have made possible the return of medieval speculations to a place of dignity in the history of thought. The noises of these changes have by now spread rather generally in literary and philosophical discussions, but the layman, the student who has no access to writings in latin and greek, and the casual essayist of the day who is tempted to generalities concerning centuries and cultures, are still limited to the vaguest of secondary and tertiary impressions. Little of the material examined in the reestimation has been translated into the modern languages, and the translations in english are perhaps fewer than in most languages. Between Augustine and the seventeenth century, twelve hundred years which are crammed with the writings of voluminous workers who initiated some of the most significant, though almost forgotten, developments of philosophic thought, there is almost nothing in eng-

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