Early Medieval Philosophy

Early Medieval Philosophy

Early Medieval Philosophy

Early Medieval Philosophy

Excerpt

When Peter Abelard resolved to "desert the court of Mars for the bosom of Minerva," he was following the conviction that philosophy is the field in which a rational being should contend. In spite of censorship and loyalty probes, he succeeded in living the life of a scholar who followed truth as he saw it, both as an end in itself and as a means by which man acknowledges his Creator and comes to know himself. This book is dedicated to his memory and is intended for those who, in this new age of military crusades and thought control, still look to truth as the force which keeps them free.

The early Middle Ages, a sort of neo-pre-Socratic period, displayed a spontaneity and diversity of thought which continued until the thirteenth-century revival of Aristotle gave scholars an accepted canon of philosophical terminology. This book describes the doctrines of five outstanding philosophers of that period. As it is based entirely on the sources, the author hopes that it contains no gross errors of fact, at least within the limits set by the extent of the sources available, but he cannot hope that there will be complete agreement as to which philosophers of the period are the most interesting or significant. In any case, the historian of philosophy can only follow where the paleographer has led the way. The most important recent contribution to the study of early medieval philosophy has been the publication by Bernhard Geyer of certain previously unpublished logical works of Abelard. Excellent editions of Anselm and Bernard have long existed. Among the greatest needs now are the preparation of a critical text of Erigena and a search for unpublished works of Isaac of Stella.

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