Despite marked differences in coverage, these two books share three common features. Both locate the beginnings of modernity in the high Middle Ages.
Reason & Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages
Both summarize existing literature for general readers. And both marginalize the Renaissance.
That said, Edward Grant succeeds far better than David Levine in achieving his objectives. A distinguished historian of medieval science, Grant foregrounds intellectual history, arguing that high medieval scholastics initiated the first Age of Reason, their systematic appeals to rational norms engendering the "deep-rooted scientific temperament" 2 critical to the early modern Age of Reason.
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Unlike later scientists and philosophes, Grant concedes, scholastics saw God as the boundary reason could not cross. However, they viewed reason and God as related since revelation could be rationally analyzed and explained.
When, how, and why was medieval thought rationalized? Between and , and in the universities. Grant does not fully answer his third question, although aspects of his own analysis, and strategies absent from it, might have helped.
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After surveying the breakthrough to rationalism by the end of the twelfth century and the reception of Greco-Arabic science and philosophy, Grant devotes three chapters to the rationalization of logic, natural philosophy, and theology. He discusses medicine and law in passing but these three topics are pivotal. In each, Grant does his target audience a great service.
5: Medieval Philosophy
Organizing his material topically and avoiding jargon, he quotes examples in translation and shows clearly how they illustrate the goals of logicians, natural philosophers, and theologians and why they Found them important. Logic is as basic to his thesis as it was to university education. This view is more or less opposite of the intellectualist position. It holds that the intellect could supply the will with the right option, but that the will could simply refuse to carry out what it knows, or even believes to be, is good.
Further, an important aspect of monastic life was education, specifically study of the scriptures, the early church fathers Patristics and the classics of the Greco-Roman period. Learning was considered a form of devotion to God and a necessary component of loving God in body, mind, and spirit.
In addition it is also known that some convents even engaged in the copying of manuscripts and provided intellectual avenues for learned albeit aristocratic women to pursue the scholarly life. As John C.
Scott describes, the university in the Western World was a creation of the Middle Ages. As European societies became increasingly complex and new forms of specialized education were in need, the university extended as a natural outgrowth of these cathedral schools. For instance, the University of Paris est.
Oxford too, the oldest university in the English speaking world, is known to have had strong ties with the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites as early as the thirteenth century. So, it would be safe to say that the creation of the modern, western university had its roots in Christendom, particularly the cathedral schools and monastic movements of the Middle Ages. It would be hard to defend an anti-intellectual caricature of religion in light of these realities.
All of this is not to say that the medieval university was a place free from any academic restriction whatsoever. Although education featured largely in the Christian world it was most certainly restricted in some significant ways.
Why God's Philosophers did not deserve to be shortlisted for the Royal Society prize
A major concern of both the Church and its related institutions was the maintenance of orthodoxy straight teaching in Latin. Certainly scholasticism provided a means for philosophers and theologians to extrapolate on the tradition and sometimes even explicitly questioning it , but too far of a deviation was no doubt a cause for concern and sometimes scholars were forced to recant their positions or were expelled from the university if found guilty of heresy.
The concern appears to be mostly theological on the surface; however, there is significant evidence to suggest that many instances of condemned heresy were more rightly political disputes and controversies. Hopefully it has become clear that through investigation into the actual intellectual climate of the Middle Ages that it was a period of intellectual growth and interest, not a period indebted to scholarly barrenness.
The early Middle Ages
Monks, scholastic philosophers, and clergymen alike all rendered study as an essential component to growing their faith and devotion to God. Not only was the Bible and the Patristics suitable for study, but also subjects such as logic, grammar, and the classics of the Greco-Roman Period, including Cicero, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics.
Indeed, there was an obvious synthesis between Christianity and reason that existed during the Medieval period. Reason was thought to shed light on theological questions; it was not viewed as a danger to faith. Admin and Lmking2.