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  • Medieval philosophy

  • The Medieval Age

    The period of Europe where Christianity reigned supreme.

    No definite date of beginning and end.

    Generally it is between the end of the Western Roman empire and the Renaissance. 4AD -14AD.

  • The Medieval Age

    Perhaps the better way to define the Medieval age is not by the specific years

    But it is defined precisely by the dominance of the Christian faith, and the fading of Paganism.

  • Medieval Philosophy Medieval philosophy can

    almost be equated with Christian philosophy.

    Medieval philosophy is often understood as the Christianization of Ancient Philosophy.

    Later, Jewish and Islamic Philosophy will be included also.

    (Mondin, 1-5)

  • Medieval Philosophy

    The unity of Faith and Reason.

    The goodness of the universe and the idea that it was created by God.

    The impossibility of attaining perfect happiness in this life.

  • Faith and Reason Christianity emerged in

    the Roman Empire.

    This was a world influenced greatly by Greek Philosophy

    So the question for early Christianity was how to interact with philosophy. Entertain or Reject?

  • Reject? Conflict between

    Christianity and Philosophy

    Saint Paul doubted the ability of philosophy to contribute good to a person since there is already Christianity.

    Saint Paul thought that philosophy can potentially lead Christians away from


    (Lightfoot,St. Paul's Attitude Towards Philosophy.)

  • Reject? Conflict between

    Christianity and Philosophy

    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

    Colossians 2:8

  • Reject? Conflict between

    Christianity and Philosophy

    Other Christians would also reject philosophy because they thought it was unnecessary. An example is Tertullian who lived in the 2nd century AD.

    In his On the Prescription of Heretics he says

  • What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart." Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief.

    (Pearse, De praescriptione haereticorum)

  • Engage Philosophy? Philosophy

    as a way to christianize

    Others saw the need for Christianity to dialogue with philosophy.

    One of these Christians was Clement of Alexandria. It is Clement who would legitimize the place of philosophy in Christianity.


    (Kotersky, 13.)

  • Engage Philosophy? Philosophy

    as a way to christianize

    Reasons why philosophy helps Christianity.

    Philosophy prepares people to accept the faith.

    Philosophy helps teach and explain the faith.

    Philosophy helps defend the faith.

    (Mondin, 32-34.)

  • Philosophy as Preparation for


    What the law was for the Jews, Philosophy was for the Gentiles until the coming of Jesus.

    Philosophy helped the Greeks know truths that prepared them to accept Christianity.

    One example is the existence of God. Philosophy helped prove Gods existence.

    (Kotersky, 13.)

    Info from bullet 1 and 3 from: (Mondin, 23-25)

  • Philosophy helps teach the


    Philosophy can be a tool to help Christians explain their faith, especially to people who were not familiar with Jewish culture and religion.

    In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. --Gospel of John 1: 1

    (Kotersky, 13.)

  • Philosophy can help in

    defending the faith

    Clement believed that using or studying philosophy can help defend Christianity from both philosophers and heretics.

    When people know philosophy then they can argue against the philosophers or the sophists who go against Christianity.

    (Mondin, 34)

  • Fides Quaerens Intellectum

    Faith seeking understanding-Saint Anselm

    It is the idea that faith and reason should be in a complimentary relationship, helping each other attain understanding

    Faith and Reason cannot conflict because they both come from and aim for one source: Truth

    (Mondin, 34)

    (Koterski, 10-18)

  • Fides Quaerens Intellectum

    The truths that are gained through philosophy are made complete by faith (Philosophy can prove that there is a God. But only religion can help us know who this God is).

    On the other hand, the truths of faith can be better understood using philosophy or reason. (Faith can tell us who God is, but philosophy can help us better understand why it is necessary for there to be a God).

    (Mondin, 34)

  • ThE Idea of Creation

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

    God creating the world meant that the world had a beginning.

    This was different from the Ancient Greek idea that the world was eternal (e.g., Aristotle).

    (Mondin, 34)

  • The Goodness of Creation

    God looked at everything that He had made and found it very good. Genesis 1:31

    Christians believed that the world was originally created good by God.

    This went against certain philosophies that believed the physical world to be less good (e.g., Plato).

    (Mondin, 34)

  • True Happiness cannot be in

    this life

    For the Greek philosophers, human beings can achieve happiness (Eudaimonia) in this life, whether individually or as a group (polis).

    But for Christians, the only true happiness is in the Kingdom of God.

    The telos of human beings is no longer on this earth but in heaven.

    (Mondin, 34)

  • Assignment

    Read the part of our book on Saint Augustine

  • Sources/Bibliography

    Image in slide 6 from "Amphi-Rome" by Tataryn - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -


    Koterski, Joseph W. An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy: Chichester:Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.

    Mondin, Battista. A History of Mediaeval Philosophy: Bangalore: Universita Urbaniana Press, 1991. Print.

    De praescriptione haereticorum The Tertullian Project. Roger Pearse. 3 July 2015, Web. 1 September 2015,