Medieval philosophy

John Scottus Eriugena, the ninth-century Irish philosopher and theologian, is known as the interpreter of Greek thought to the Latin West. He was perhaps the most important philosophical thinker to appear in Latin Christendom between Augustine in the fifth century and Anselm in the eleventh. In this volume, Deirdre Carabine provides a clear and accessible introduction--the only one available in the English language--to the thought of this important figure. In part I, Carabine describes the intellectual revival of the ninth century and situates Eriugena's role within that movement. She looks closely at Eriugena's life and intellectual achievements, including his contribution to the theological controversy on predestination and his roles as teacher and translator of Greek thought. She also examines the Periphyson, undoubtedly Eriugena's most original and important work. In part II, Carabine discusses Eriugena's metaphysics, the structure of reality, the theocentric character of creation, and the role of the trinity and the primordial causes. In particular, she explores Eriugena's employment of negative theology and his understanding of human nature. In conclusion, part III looks at Eriugena's interpretation of the return of all things to their source, including his belief that all people, saints and sinners alike, will return to paradise to the "vision" of a transcendent God. Revealing the unique and compelling nature of Eriugena's thought, and showing why his work continues to appeal to a modern audience, this volume is required reading for students and scholars of medieval philosophy and theology.
'The god wanted everything to be good, marred by as little imperfection as possible.' Timaeus, one of Plato's acknowledged masterpieces, is an attempt to construct the universe and explain its contents by means of as few axioms as possible. The result is a brilliant, bizarre, and surreal cosmos - the product of the rational thinking of a creator god and his astral assistants, and of purely mechanistic causes based on the behaviour of the four elements. At times dazzlingly clear, at times intriguingly opaque, this was state-of-the-art science in the middle of the fourth century BC. The world is presented as a battlefield of forces that are unified only by the will of God, who had to do the best he could with recalcitrant building materials. The unfinished companion piece, Critias, is the foundational text for the story of Atlantis. It tells how a model society became corrupt, and how a lost race of Athenians defeated the aggression of the invading Atlanteans. This new edition combines the clearest translation yet of these crucial ancient texts with an illuminating introduction and diagrams. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
This book is no less than a guide to the whole of Western philosophy—the ideas that have undergirded our civilization for two-and-a-half thousand years. Anthony Kenny tells the story of philosophy from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment into the modern world. He introduces us to the great thinkers and their ideas, starting with Plato, Aristotle, and the other founders of Western thought. In the second part of the book he takes us through a thousand years of medieval philosophy, and shows us the rich intellectual legacy of Christian thinkers like Augustine, Aquinas, and Ockham. Moving into the early modern period, we explore the great works of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant, which remain essential reading today. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Hegel, Mill, Nietzsche, Freud, and Wittgenstein again transformed the way we see the world. Running though the book are certain themes which have been constant concerns of philosophy since its early beginnings: the fundamental questions of what exists and how we can know about it; the nature of humanity, the mind, truth, and meaning; the place of God in the universe; how we should live and how society should be ordered. Anthony Kenny traces the development of these themes through the centuries: we see how the questions asked and answers offered by the great philosophers of the past remain vividly alive today. Anyone interested in ideas and their history will find this a fascinating and stimulating read.
While the great medieval philosopher, theologian, and physician Maimonides is acknowledged as a leading Jewish thinker, his intellectual contacts with his surrounding world are often described as related primarily to Islamic philosophy. Maimonides in His World challenges this view by revealing him to have wholeheartedly lived, breathed, and espoused the rich Mediterranean culture of his time.


Sarah Stroumsa argues that Maimonides is most accurately viewed as a Mediterranean thinker who consistently interpreted his own Jewish tradition in contemporary multicultural terms. Maimonides spent his entire life in the Mediterranean region, and the religious and philosophical traditions that fed his thought were those of the wider world in which he lived. Stroumsa demonstrates that he was deeply influenced not only by Islamic philosophy but by Islamic culture as a whole, evidence of which she finds in his philosophy as well as his correspondence and legal and scientific writings. She begins with a concise biography of Maimonides, then carefully examines key aspects of his thought, including his approach to religion and the complex world of theology and religious ideas he encountered among Jews, Christians, Muslims, and even heretics; his views about science; the immense and unacknowledged impact of the Almohads on his thought; and his vision of human perfection.


This insightful cultural biography restores Maimonides to his rightful place among medieval philosophers and affirms his central relevance to the study of medieval Islam.
`For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that unless I believe, I shall not understand.' Does God exist? Can we know anything about God's nature? Have we any reason to think that the Christian religion is true? What is truth, anyway? Do human beings have freedom of choice? Can they have such freedom in a world created by God? These questions, and others, were ones which Anselm of Canterbury (c.1033-1109) took very seriously. He was utterly convinced of the truth of the Christian religion, but he was also determined to try to make sense of his Christian faith. Recognizing that the Christian God is incomprehensible, he also believed that Christianity is not simply something to be swallowed with mouth open and eyes shut. For Anselm, the doctrines of Christianity are an invitation to question, to think, and to learn. Anselm is studied today because his rigour of thought and clarity of writing place him among the greatest of theologians and philosophers. This translation provides readers with their first opportunity to read all of his most important works within the covers of a single volume. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
This carefully crafted ebook: "Summa Theologica (All Complete & Unabridged 3 Parts + Supplement & Appendix + interactive links and annotations)" is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. This ebook is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas (c.1225–1274). Although unfinished, the Summa is "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as an instructional guide for moderate theologians, and a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. The Summa Theologica is divided into three parts, and each of these three parts contains numerous subdivisions. Part 1 deals primarily with God and comprises discussions of 119 questions concerning the existence and nature of God, the Creation, angels, the work of the six days of Creation, the essence and nature of man, and divine government. Part 2 deals with man and includes discussions of 303 questions concerning the purpose of man, habits, types of law, vices and virtues, prudence and justice, fortitude and temperance, graces, and the religious versus the secular life. Part 3 deals with Christ and comprises discussions of 90 questions concerning the Incarnation, the Sacraments, and the Resurrection. Some editions of the Summa Theologica include a Supplement comprising discussions of an additional 99 questions concerning a wide variety of loosely related issues such as excommunication, indulgences, confession, marriage, purgatory, and the relations of the saints toward the damned. Scholars believe that Rainaldo da Piperno, a friend of Aquinas, probably gathered the material in this supplement from a work that Aquinas had completed before he began working on the Summa Theologica. It seeks to describe the relationship between God and man and to explain how man’s reconciliation with the Divine is made possible at all through Christ. To this end, Aquinas cites proofs for the existence of God and outlines the activities and nature of God. Approximately one-half of the Summa Theologica then examines the nature and purpose of man. Finally, Aquinas devotes his attention to the nature of Christ and the role of the Sacraments in effecting a bridge between God and man. Within these broad topical boundaries, though, Aquinas examines the nature of God and man in exquisite detail. His examination includes questions of how angels act on bodies, the union of body and soul, the cause and remedies of anger, cursing, and the comparison of one sin with another. Aquinas is attempting to offer a truly universal and rational view of all existence. Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (1225 – 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus", "Doctor Communis", and "Doctor Universalis". He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.
One of the great works of Western literature, from perhaps the most important thinker of Christian antiquity, in a revolutionary new translation by one of today’s leading classicists

Sarah Ruden’s fresh, dynamic translation of Confessions brings us closer to Augustine’s intent than any previous version. It puts a glaring spotlight on the life of one individual to show how all lives have meaning that is universal and eternal.

In this intensely personal narrative, Augustine tells the story of his sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. He describes his ascent from a humble farm in North Africa to a prestigious post in the Roman Imperial capital of Milan, his struggle against his own overpowering sexuality, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the recovery of the faith his mother had taught him during his earliest years. Augustine’s concerns are often strikingly contemporary, and the confessional mode he invented can be seen everywhere in writing today. 

Grounded in her command of Latin as it was written and spoken in the ancient world, Sarah Ruden’s translation is a bold departure from its predecessors—and the most historically accurate translation ever. Stylistically beautiful, with no concessions made to suit later theology and ritual, Ruden’s rendition will give readers a startling and illuminating new perspective on one of the central texts of Christianity.

Praise for Confessions

“[Ruden] has clearly thought deeply about what Augustine was trying to say.”The Wall Street Journal

“A translation of [Augustine’s] masterwork that does justice both to him and to his God . . . Repeated small acts of attention to the humble, human roots of Augustine’s imagery of his relations to God enable Ruden to convey a living sense of the Being before Whom we find him transfixed in prayer: ‘Silent, long-suffering and with so much mercy in your heart.’”The New York Review of Books

“Delightfully readable . . . In this lively translation filled with vivid, personal prose, Ruden introduces readers to a saint whom many will realize they only thought they knew. . . . Approaching her subject with deep religious and historical knowledge, [Ruden] chooses to translate Augustine as a performative, engaging storyteller rather than a systematic theologian.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Ruden’s translation makes Augustine’s ancient text accessible to a new generation of readers with a real taste of the original Latin.”Library Journal

“[Ruden’s] record as a translator of ancient texts . . . clearly establishes her considerable talent.”Christianity Today
...these translations thus supersede former ones...if the introductions, translations, and other apparatus of the rest of the series are of the same high quality, the series will be indispensable for most libraries. Library Journal Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias translated by Mother Columbia Hart and Jane Bishop introduced by Barbara J. Newman prefaced by Caroline Walker Bynum I saw a great mountain the color of iron, and enthroned on it. One of such great glory that it blinded my sight. On each side of him there extended a soft shadow, like a wing of wondrous breadth and length. Before him, at the foot of the mountain, stood an image full of eyes on all sides, in which, because of those eyes, I could discern no human form. Hildegard of Bingen(1098-1179) Hildegard of Bingen, twelfth-century German nun, mystic, prophet and political moralist, was widely consulted as an oracle and wrote prolifically on doctrinal matters, as well as on secular matters like medicine, She publicly preached monastic reform, founded two nunneries, and was embroiled in the politics surrounding popes and anti-popes. Scivias, her major religious work, consists of twenty-six visions, which are first se down literally as she saw them, and are the explained exegetically. A few of the topic covered in the visions are the charity of Christ, the nature of the universe, the kingdom of God, the fall of man, sanctification, and the end of the world. Special emphasis is given to the sacraments of marriage and the Eucharist, in response to the Cathar heresy. As a group the visions form a theological summa of Christian doctrine. At the end of the Scivias are hymns of praise and a short play, probably an early draft of Ordo virtutum, the first known morality play. Hildegard is remarkable for being able to unite vision with doctrine, religion with science, charismatic jubilation with prophetic indignation, and longing for social order with quest for social justice. This volume elucidates the life of medieval women, and is a striking example of a special form of Christian spirituality. +
Bargains in books are rare today, but one would be hard put to find in American publishing anything superior to these in content and format. The Parish Visitor Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher edited by Bernard McGinn with the collaboration of Frank Tobin and Elvira Borgstadt preface by Kenneth Northcott When this temple is thus free of all obstacles, namely, possessiveness and ignorance, then it sparkles so beautifully and shines so purely and bright above everything that God created and through everything that God created that no one can be compared to it in brightness but the uncreated God alone...If the soul of a man still living in time were standing on the same level as the highest angel, this person could reach immeasurable higher in his free capability above the angel in ever 'now', new beyond number, that is, and beyond manner and above the manner of the angels and any created intellect. Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1327) Here are the texts that illustrate the diversity of one of the most enigmatic and influential mystics of the Western Christian tradition. Eckhart the teacher is represented by the Commentary on Exodus and by selections from six other commentaries, including the Commentary on Wisdom 7:14, the Commentary on Ecclesiasticus 24:29, and the Commentary on John 14:8. Eckhart's ministry as a preacher was an equally important part of the man, and thus his sermons, from both the Latin and the Middle High German manuscripts, are included. What emerges is a comprehensive picture of the works of this great speculative theologian. Together with Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries and Treatises, this work form the most extensive corpus of Eckhart's writings in English. +
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