Duns Scotus

Duns Scotus

Duns Scotus

Duns Scotus

Synopsis

The nature and content of the thought of Duns Scotus (c. 1266-1308) remains largely unknown except by the expert. This book provides an accessible account of Scotus' theology, focusing both on what is distinctive in his thought, and on issues where his insights might prove to be of perennial value.

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) A.D. 600 to 1500, 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 nowadays are hardly ever referred to literature originating 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 B.C.) 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 which came fully to birth, and was systematically explored and . . .

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