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MEDIEVAL. PHILOSOPHY. PLAN. The character of the Medieval Philosophy The main features of the Middle Age philosophy The philosophers of that period. THE MIDDLE AGES.

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  • The character of the Medieval Philosophy
  • The main features of the Middle Age philosophy
  • The philosophers of that period
the middle ages
  • During the decline of Greco-Roman civilization, Western philosophers turned their attention from the scientific investigation of nature and the search for worldly happiness to the problem of salvation in another and better world. By the 3rd century ad, Christianity had spread to the more educated classes of the Roman Empire. The religious teachings of the Gospels were combined by the Fathers of the Church with many of the philosophical concepts of the Greek and Roman schools.
the main characteristics
  • THEOCENTRISM - any philosophical problem is studied in the context of God.
  • THEODICY (God and justice)- the study which explains the contradiction of the idea of God as Absolute and the existence of the world evil.
  • THEOLOGISM – everything around is determined by God and eventually reaches its aim.
  • PERSONALISM– God is Absolute Personality, which served as a sample for man creating.
  • GNOSTICISM - derived from the Greek word gnosis (“revealed knowledge”). To its adherents, Gnosticism promised a secret knowledge of the divine realm. Sparks or seeds of the Divine Being fell from this transcendent realm into the material universe, which is wholly evil, and were imprisoned in human bodies. Reawakened by knowledge, the divine element in humanity can return to its proper home in the transcendent spiritual realm.
philo of alexandria
Philo of Alexandria
  • He was the first to prove the possibility to combine the Bible beliefs with the Greek philosophy.
  • He conceived of God as a being without attributes, better than virtue and knowledge, better than the beautiful and the good, a being so exalted above the world that an intermediate class of beings is required to establish a point of contact between him and the world. These beings he found in the spiritual world of ideas—not merely ideas in the Platonic sense, but real, active powers, surrounding God as a number of attendant beings.
  • All these intermediate powers are known as the Logos, the divine image in which persons are created and through which they participate in the deity. An individual's duties consist of veneration of God and love and righteousness toward others. Humans are immortal by reason of their heavenly nature, but just as degrees in this divine nature exist, degrees of immortality also exist. Mere living after death, common to all humanity, differs from the future existence of the perfect souls, for whom paradise is oneness with God.
  • Logos (Greek, “word, reason, ratio”), in ancient and especially in medieval philosophy and theology, the divine reason that acts as the ordering principle of the universe.
  • The Logos is “present everywhere” and seems to be understood as both a divine mind and at least a semiphysical force, acting through space and time. Through the faculty of reason, all human beings (but not any other animals) share in the divine reason.
  • the Greek word logos being translated as “word” in the English Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .”
  • The Logos, for instance, was identified with the will of God, or with the Ideas (or Platonic Forms) that are in the mind of God. Christ's incarnation was accordingly understood as the incarnation of these divine attributes.
st augustine of hippo
St. Augustine of Hippo

St Augustine was born November 13, 354.

He died August 28, 430

He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.

education and christianity
Education and Christianity

St. Augustine was born at Tagaste, which is now Souk-Ahras, about 60 miles from Bona (ancient Hippo-Reguis)

His family was not rich, his father Patricius was one of the curiales of the city and still was a pagan.

Through the prayers of his holy mother and the marvelous preaching of St. Ambrose, Augustine finally became convinced that Christianity was the one true religion.

His mother, Monica, was a Berber

early education
Early Education

At the age of 11, Augustine was sent to school at Madaurus, a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste noted for its pagan climate.

At Madaurus he became familiar with Latin literature.

pre christian days
Pre-Christian Days

Once, when very ill, he asked for baptism, but, all danger being soon passed, he deferred receiving the sacrament, yielding to a terrible ritual of times.

His association with "men of prayer" left three great ideas deeply engraved upon his soul: a Divine Providence, the future life with terrible sanctions, and, above all, Christ the Savior.

But a great intellectual and moral crisis stifled for a time all these Christian sentiments.


Patricius, proud of his son's success in the schools of Tagaste and Madaura determined to send him to Carthage to prepare for a forensic career.

Unfortunately, it required several months to collect the necessary means, and Augustine had to spend his sixteenth year at Tagaste in an idleness which was fatal to his virtue

The gave himself up to pleasure with all the vehemence of an ardent nature.


When he reached Carthage, towards the end of the year 370, every circumstance tended to draw him from his true course

The many seductions of the great city that was still half pagan, the licentiousness of other students, the theatres, the intoxication of his literary success, and a proud desire always to be first, even in evil

Before long he was obliged to confess to Monica that he had formed a sinful liaison with the person who bore him a son

st ambrose
St. Ambrose

His religious problem would come to end when he went to Italy under the influence of St. Ambrose.

Having visited Bishop Ambrose, the fascination of that saint's kindness induced him to become a regular attendant at his preaching's.

bishop of hippo
Bishop of Hippo

In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo Regius

He became a famous preacher and was noted for combating the Manichaean religion, to which he had formerly adhered.

In 396 he became Bishop of Hippo

bishop of hippo1
Bishop of Hippo

Augustine worked tirelessly in trying to convince the people of Hippo, who were diverse racial and religious group, to convert to the Catholic faith.

He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the Episcopal residence. He left a rule for his monastery that has led him to be designated the "patron saint of regular clergy", that is, clergy who live by a monastic rule.

teaching of philosophy
Teaching of Philosophy

Along with being a prominent figure in the religious spectrum, Augustine was also very influential in the history of education.

He introduced the theory of three different types of students, and instructed teachers to adapt their teaching styles to each student's individual learning style.

He claimed there are two basic styles a teacher uses when speaking to the students.

The mixed style includes complex and sometimes showy language to help students see the beautiful artistry of the subject they are studying.

The grand style is not quite as elegant as the mixed style, but is exciting and heartfelt, with the purpose of igniting the same passion in the students' hearts.

pelagian heresy
Pelagian Heresy

St. Augustine was involved was his battle against Pelagianism.

The Pelagians denied original sin and the fall of humanity.

From his writings the controversies on grace proceed, and as supposed followers of Augustine, John Calvin and the Jansenists developed predestinarian theologies.


St Augustine of Hippo dealt with the heresies of the Donatists, Manichaeans.

Augustine himself was drawn to Manichaeism for nine years before his conversion.

But, as soon as he became a Christian, Augustine felt the need for protecting the Church from the Manichaean heresy.

The Donatists claimed to be the only faithful and pure Christians.

The unity of the Church was severely threatened.

Augustine took pains to address this problem from around 396

He distinguished between the gift of baptism itself and the efficacious use of it, by saying that the former exists everywhere, whether inside or outside of the Catholic Church.


His Confessions is considered a classic of Christian autobiography.

The work outlines Augustine's sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity.

St. Augustine writes about how much he regrets having led a sinful and immoral life. He discusses his regrets for following the Manichaean religion and believing in astrology

st augustine s books
St Augustine’s Books

City of God a mammoth defense of Christianity against its pagan critics, and famous especially for the uniquely Christian view of history elaborated in its pages.

On the Trinity comes from his polemic writings.

On the Work of Monks, has been much used by monastics.

augustine s works
Augustine’s Works

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors, and the list of his works consists of more than a hundred separate titles.

They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians, texts on Christian doctrine, notably De doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), exegetical works such as commentaries on Book of Genesis, the Psalms and Paul's Letter to the Romans, many sermons and letters, and the Retractationes (Retractions), a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life

influence on church
Influence on Church

Augustine was a bishop, priest, and father who remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought, and is considered by modern historian Thomas Cahill to be the first medieval man and the last classical man.

Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, a chief opponent of Luther, articulated an Augustinian view of grace and salvation consistent with Church doctrine, thus encompassing both Augustine’s soteriology and his teaching on the authority of and obedience to the Catholic Church.

influence on the church
Influence on the Church

Later, within the Roman Catholic Church, the writings of Cornelius Jansen, who claimed heavy influence from Augustine, would form the basis of the movement known as Jansenism.

Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim, and later recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII

His feast day is August 28, the day on which he died.

st augustine s death
St. Augustine’s Death

Shortly before Augustine's death, Roman Africa was overrun by the Vandals, a warlike tribe with Arian sympathies.

They had entered Africa at the instigation of Count Boniface, but soon turned to lawlessness, plundering private citizens and churches and killing many of the inhabitants.

The Vandals arrived in the spring of 430 to besiege Hippo and during that time, Augustine endured his final illness.

saint augustine1
Saint Augustine
  • Saint Augustine, born in what is now Souk-Ahras, Algeria, in ad 354, brought a systematic method of philosophy to Christian theology.
  • As a writer, Augustine was prolific, persuasive, and a brilliant stylist. His best-known work is his autobiographical Confessions (400), exposing his early life and conversion. In his great Christian book The City of God (413-26), Augustine formulated a theological philosophy of history. Ten of the 22 books of this work are devoted to polemic against pantheism. The remaining 12 books trace the origin, progress, and destiny of the church and establish it as the proper successor to paganism.
saint augustine2
Saint Augustine
  • The process of reconciling the Greek emphasis on reason with the emphasis on religious emotion in the teachings of Christ and the apostles found eloquent expression in the writings of Saint Augustine during the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
  • Augustine argued that religious faith and philosophical understanding are complementary rather than opposed and that one must “believe in order to understand and understand in order to believe.”
  • He considered the soul a higher form of existence than the body and taught that knowledge consists in the contemplation of Platonic ideas as abstract notions apart from sensory experience and anything physical or material.
saint augustine3
Saint Augustine
  • Late in his life Augustine came to a pessimistic view about original sin, grace, and predestination: the ultimate fates of humans, he decided, are predetermined by God in the sense that some people are granted divine grace to enter heaven and others are not, and human actions and choices cannot explain the fates of individuals.
  • His view of human life was pessimistic, asserting that happiness is impossible in the world of the living, where even with good fortune, which is rare, awareness of approaching death would mar any tendency toward satisfaction. He believed further that without the religious virtues of faith, hope, and charity, which require divine grace to be attained, a person cannot develop the natural virtues of courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom.
  • philosophic and theological movement that attempted to use natural human reason, in particular, the philosophy and science of Aristotle, to understand the supernatural content of Christian revelation.
  • It was dominant in the medieval Christian schools and universities of Europe from about the middle of the 11th century to about the middle of the 15th century.
  • The ultimate ideal of the movement was to integrate into an ordered system both the natural wisdom of Greece and Rome and the religious wisdom of Christianity.
  • Nonetheless, throughout the Scholastic period, philosophy was called the servant of theology, not only because the truth of philosophy was subordinated to that of theology, but also because the theologian used philosophy to understand and explain revelation.
saint thomas aquinas
  • Aquinas, Saint Thomas, sometimes called the Angelic Doctor and the Prince of Scholastics (1225-1274), Italian philosopher and theologian, whose works have made him the most important figure in Scholastic philosophy and one of the leading Roman Catholic theologians.
saint thomas aquinas1
  • Aquinas combined Aristotelian science and Augustinian theology into a comprehensive system of thought that later became the authoritative philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • He wrote on every known subject in philosophy and science, and his major work, Summa Theologica, in which he presents a persuasive and systematic structure of ideas, still constitute a powerful influence on Western thought. His writings reflect the renewed interest of his time in reason, nature, and worldly happiness, together with its religious faith and concern for salvation.
saint thomas aquinas2
  • Aquinas made many important investigations into the philosophy of religion, including an extremely influential study of the attributes of God, such as omnipotence, omniscience, eternity.
  • He also provided a new account of the relationship between faith and reason that the truths of faith and the truths of reason cannot conflict but rather apply to different realms. The truths of natural science and philosophy are discovered by reasoning from facts of experience, whereas the tenets of revealed religion, the doctrine of the Trinity, the creation of the world, and other articles of Christian dogma are beyond rational comprehension, although not inconsistent with reason, and must be accepted on faith. The metaphysics, theory of knowledge, ethics, and politics of Aquinas were derived mainly from Aristotle, but he added the Augustinian virtues of faith, hope, and charity and the goal of eternal salvation through grace to Aristotle’s naturalistic ethics with its goal of worldly happiness.
life and significance
Life and Significance
  • Educated as Friar (Dominican Order), Studies Theology in Cologne and Paris, Teaches in Paris and various Italian Cities
  • Most famous Works Summa contra Gentiles, Summa Theologiae (unfinished), numerous biblical and philosophical Commentaries
  • Scholasticism and the Revival of Learning
  • Canonized in 1323
  • Aquinas’ work is declared the official ‘philosophy’ of the Catholic church in 1879
aquinas challenge
Aquinas’ Challenge
  • The Return of Aristotle
    • Teleology
    • Causality
    • The ‘Errors of Aristotle’
  • The Claims of Reason and Faith
  • What do you know about God?
    • Being
    • Attributes

Book III ScG

aquinas god and ontology
Aquinas, God, and Ontology
  • Five Ways of proving God’s Existence
  • Descartes, Leibniz and Kant
  • Causality, Being, Time, Space

“Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

politics and religion in the middle ages
Politics and Religionin the Middle Ages
  • From zoon politikon to homo credens
  • This world and the next world (St.Augustine 354-430: City of God)
  • Religion and Politics, Pope and Emperor, The Holy Roman Empire, Investiture and Coronation
  • Feudalism
the cosmos
The Cosmos



Household/Pater familias

analogies and hierarchies
Analogies and Hierarchies
  • God is to the Universe what the King is to Society is what the Head of Household is to the Household
  • Harmony, Hierarchy and Teleology
law and politics
Law and Politics
  • Law is “an ordinance of reason for the common good”
  • Eternal Law, Natural Law, Human Law, Divine Law
  • Disobedience, Resistance, Legitimacy and Legality
what is natural law
What is Natural Law
  • Underlying principles of moral practice
  • One more Analogy: The Principle of Non-Contradiction and the Law of Nature
  • “Good should be pursued and done and evil avoided”
  • “Since good has the character of an end and evil the contrary character, all those things to which a man has a natural inclination reason naturally grasps as goods, and consequently as things to be pursued…”
  • Self-Preservation, Community, Contemplation