John Scottus Eriugena

John Scottus Eriugena

John Scottus Eriugena

John Scottus Eriugena

Synopsis

This volume provides a brief and accessible introduction to the 9th-century philosopher and theologian John Scottus Eriugena--perhaps the most important philosophical thinker to appear in Latin Christendom in the period between Augustine and Anselm. Eriugena was known as the interpreter of Greek thought to the Latin West, and this book emphasizes the relation of Eriugena's thought to his Greek and Latin sources.

Excerpt

Many people would be surprised to be told that there were any great medieval thinkers. If a great thinker is one from whom we can learn today, and if "medieval" serves as an adjective for describing anything that existed from (roughly) the years 600 to 1500 AD, then--so it is often supposed--medieval thinkers cannot be called "great."

But why not? One answer often given appeals to ways in which medieval authors with a taste for argument and speculation tend to invoke "authorities," especially religious ones. Such invocation of authority is not the stuff of which great thought is made--so it is often said today. It is also frequently said that greatness is not to be found in the thinking of those who lived before the rise of modern science, not to mention that of modern philosophy and theology. Students of science are nowadays hardly ever referred to literature earlier than the seventeenth century. Students of philosophy in the twentieth century have often been taught nothing about the history of ideas between Aristotle (384-22 BC) and Descartes (1596-1650). Modern students of theology have often been frequently encouraged to believe that significant theological thinking is a product of the nineteenth century.

Yet the origins of modern science lie in the conviction that the world is open to rational investigation and is orderly rather than chaotic--a conviction that came fully to birth, and was systematically explored and developed, during the Middle Ages. And it is in medieval thinking that we find some of the most sophisticated and rigorous discussions in the areas of philosophy and theology ever offered for human consumption. This is, perhaps, not surprising if we note that medieval philosophers and theologians, like their contemporary counterparts, were mostly university teachers, participating in an ongoing debate with contributors from different countries and--unlike many seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and even nineteenth-century philosophers . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.