An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy: Basic Concepts by Joseph W. Koterski

By Joseph W. Koterski

Through exploring the philosophical personality of a few of the best medieval thinkers, An creation to Medieval Philosophy offers a wealthy review of philosophy on the planet of Latin Christianity.

  • Explores the deeply philosophical personality of such medieval thinkers as Augustine, Boethius, Eriugena, Anselm, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Scotus, and Ockham
  • Reviews the primary positive factors of the epistemological and metaphysical challenge of universals
  • Shows how medieval authors tailored philosophical rules from antiquity to use to their spiritual commitments
  • Takes a extensive philosophical procedure of the medieval period by,taking account of classical metaphysics, common tradition, and spiritual themes

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In the course of exhortatory treatises on virtue and vice, one sees in a particularly strong way the medieval sense of the collaboration expected between reason and faith. One finds this moral level of meaning not only in those passages concerned with the commandments and beatitudes, various exhortations to virtue and admonitions against vice, prophetic invectives against idolatry, and morality tales 44 like the stories of Noah and Job; this level is also evident in the moral lessons that can be drawn from the stories about the sinful habits and practices of even some of the Bible’s greatest heroes, such as Abraham’s readiness at one point to sell his wife Sarah in order to make his own escape, the account of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and the betrayal of Jesus by Peter.

At one point, for instance, Augustine brings up his philosophical perplexity about rightly ordering our love for other people. Only God is to be loved purely for himself, and to love a person like that would be idolatrous. 43 Augustine’s solution, that human beings should be loved not “as God” but “in God,” depends on appreciating that all human beings are made in the image of God. Even when that likeness to God has been defaced by sin, it is never entirely blotted out and should always serve for us as a sign of the way in which God loves us and thus as an indication of how we ought to bear love for each other out of love for the God who made us.

61 35 See the English translations of vols. I and II of de Lubac (1959). 36 “Letter to Can Grande della Scalla” in Alighieri (1318). 37 For a fine discussion of the merits of this term and a detailed account of how the entire method worked, see Quay (1995). 38 The Literal Meaning of Genesis in Augustine (1982a). 39 This is true not only of the natural law tradition of thinkers like Aquinas, but even of voluntarists like Duns Scotus, who emphasizes that morality is necessarily geared to the nature that God has chosen for us.

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