A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance by Frederick Copleston

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest objective of its writer to common acclaim because the top historical past of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of significant erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers was once lowered to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the incorrect through writing a whole background of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and one who supplies complete position to every philosopher, providing his concept in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to people who went sooner than and to people who got here after him.

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Gregory Nazianzen, who died in 390 and was known as the Theologian, is particularly remarkable for his work on Trinitarian and Christological 1 Contra Celsum, 6, 64. « Cf. ibid.. ; 1, 6, 3. 1 Dt principiis, 2, 6, 1. ' Ibid.. 6, 1 - 3 . THE PATRISTIC PERIOD 29 theology; St. John Chrysostom (died 406) is celebrated as one of the greatest orators of the Church and for his work on the Scriptures. In treating of dogmas like those of the Blessed Trinity and the Hypostatic Union the Fathers naturally made use of philosophical terms and expressions; but their application of reasoning in theology does not make them philosophers in the strict sense and we must pass them over here.

Gregory of Nyssa was the first real founder of systematic mystical theology. Here again he utilised Plotinian and Philonic themes, but he employed them in 36 PRE-MEDIAEVAL INFLUENCES a Christian sense and within a Christocentric framework of thought. Naturally speaking man's mind is fitted to know sensible objects, and contemplating these objects the mind can come to know something of God and His attributes (symbolic theology, which is partly equivalent to natural theology in the modern sense).

He had to abandon the headship of the Alexandrian School because of a synodical process (231 and 232) directed against certain features of his doctrine and also against his ordination (he had, it was said, been ordained priest in Palestine in spite of his act of self-mutilation), and subsequently founded a school at Caesarea in Palestine, where St. Gregory Thaumaturge was one of his pupils. He died in 254 or 255, his death being the consequence of the torture he had had to endure in the persecution of Decius.

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