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

By Joseph W. Koterski

By means of exploring the philosophical personality of a few of the best medieval thinkers, An advent to Medieval Philosophy offers a wealthy assessment 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 significant good points 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 large philosophical strategy of the medieval period by,taking account of classical metaphysics, common tradition, and non secular themes

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These aspects of the relation of faith and reason can be considered by reflecting on the relations between wisdom and understanding and between theology and philosophy. 2 SCIENTIA AND SAPIENTIA Histories of philosophy that pass quickly over medieval thought as predominantly theological and insufficiently philosophical risk missing not only the richness of medieval philosophizing but also the relative novelty of theology as a distinct academic discipline that formally emerged in the scholastic era.

Contrary to what the term might lead one to expect, the “literal level” does not mean that everything in the Scriptures is to be read as if a simple historical account. The literal level includes not only straightforward narrative but metaphor and simile and a variety of other rhetorical devices too. The sensus ad litteram consists of whatever is intended by the human author, whether the authorial intention is historical (such as the Gospel narratives about Jesus’ life or the record of Israel’s exile in Egypt and wanderings in the desert), figures of speech (such as the use of metaphor in Psalm 18: 2, “The Lord is my rock”), or even wisdom stories and tales such as Job and Jonah.

36 In order to appreciate the medieval use of what today we might call hermeneutics, it may be helpful here to consider briefly the philosophically informed distinctions at work in this four-level structure of interpretation. 37 The central idea here is that the life of Christ as recounted in the Gospels provides the proper guide for understanding the whole of the Old Testament according to the rule of recapitulation: at each stage of his life Christ “recapitulates” the life of the people of Israel, which is to be taken as if it were a single lifetime.

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