Early Medieval Philosophy 9780231881180

Analyzes the doctrines of five philosophers of the early Middle Ages: John Scotus Erigena, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter A

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Early Medieval Philosophy
 9780231881180

Table of contents :
Preface
Contents
Chapter I. John Scotus Erigena
Chapter II. Anselm of Canterbury
Chapter III. Peter Abelard
Chapter IV. Bernard of Clairvaux
Chapter V. Isaac of Stella
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

EARLY MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY

EARLY MEDIEVAL

PHILOSOPHY GEORGE BOSWORTH BURCH FLETCHER PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY TUFTS COLLEGE

King's Crown Press COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NEW YORK 1

95

1

Copyright

1951

bt

George

Bosworth

Burch

King's Crown Press is an imprint established by Columbia University Press for the purpose of making certain scholarly material available at minimum cost. Toward that end, the publishers have used standardized formats incorporating every reasonable economy that does not interfere with legibility. T h e author has assumed complete responsibility for editorial style and proofreading.

PUBLISHED IN GREAT BY C E O F F R E Y

BRITAIN, CANADA, A N D

INDIA

C U M B E R L E G E , OXFORD UNIVERSITY

PRESS

LONDON, TORONTO, AND B O M B A Y

MANUFACTURED

IN T H E UNITED STATES OF

AMERICA

PREFACE

W H E N Peter Abelard resolved to "desert the court of Mars for the bosom of Minerva," he was following the conviction that philosophy is the field in which a rational being should contend. In spite of censorship and loyalty probes, he succeeded in living the life of a scholar who followed truth as he saw it, both as an end in itself and as a means by which man acknowledges his Creator and comes to know himself. This book is dedicated to his memory and is intended for those who, in this new age of military crusades and thought control, still look to truth as the force which keeps them free. The early Middle Ages, a sort of neo-pre-Socratic period, displayed a spontaneity and diversity of thought which continued until the thirteenth-century revival of Aristotle gave scholars an accepted canon of philosophical terminology. This book describes the doctrines of five outstanding philosophers of that period. As it is based entirely on the sources, the author hopes that it contains no gross errors of fact, at least within the limits set by the extent of the sources available, but he cannot hope that there will be complete agreement as to which philosophers of the period are the most interesting or significant. In any case, the historian of philosophy can only follow where the paleographer has led the way. The most important recent contribution to the study of early medieval philosophy has been the publication by Bernhard Geyer of certain previously unpublished logical works of Abelard. Excellent editions of Anselm and Bernard have long existed. Among the greatest needs now are the preparation of a critical text of Erigcna and a search for unpublished works of Isaac of Stella.

vi

PREFACE

The author is indebted to Dr. John Goheen for first suggesting this work, to Dr. fitienne Gilson for assistance with certain parts of it (as well as for much of his knowledge of medieval philosophy in general, obtained from that great teacher through books, lectures, and conferences), to Mrs. James H. Woods for many valuable criticisms, to Dr. John Wild for certain suggestions, to the late Dr. Erich Frank for criticizing the manuscript, and to Dr. Betty B. Burch for active collaboration in every stage of the work. He is also indebted to the Harvard University Press for permission to reprint the section on Isaac of Stella's ontology, which is substantially identical with Appendix A to his edition of Bernard of Clairvaux's Steps of Humility. Readers who wish to study the sources will find that the following are the works of greatest philosophical interest by the writers discussed in this book: Erigena's Division of Nature; Anselm's Monologion and Proslogion; Abelard's Christian Theology, Introduction to Theology, Know Thyself, and gloss on Porphyry in Logic "Ingredientibus"; Bernard's Steps of Humility, Loving God, Grace and Free Choice, Letter 18, Sermon 3 for Whitsunday, Sermon 4 for All Saints', Sermons De diversis 6, 32, 45, and Sermons on Canticles 5, 23, 31, 36, 50, 62, 71, 74, 80, 81, 83, 85; and Isaac's The Soul and Sermons 19-25. G. B. B. Tufts College April 21,1950

CONTENTS

Chapter I.

John Scotus Erigcna

l

The Study of Nature John Scotus Erigena The L a w of Nature The Division of Nature God Creation Note on Erigena's Doctrine of Creation The Fall of Man The Return of Nature The Return of All Creatures to God The Restoration of Man The Deification of the Elect

i 4 8 10 10 12 17 20 24 24 25 28

Erigena's Place in History

29

Chapter II.

Anselm of Canterbury

The Problem of Knowledge Anselm of Canterbury The "Monologion" The "Proslogion" The "Cur Deus Homo" Faith and Understanding Chapter III.

Peter Abelard

The Problem of Universals Abelard as a Dialectician

31 3t 32 34 39 42 43 48 48 54

viii

CONTENTS

Abelard's Theory of Univcrsals Criticism of the Realist Theories Exposition of the Nominalist Theory Summary Abelard as a Theologian Abelard's Theology Faith and Understanding The Trinity Ethics Abelard and Bernard Chapter IV. Bernard of Clairvaux The Spirit of Monasticism Bernard of Clairvaux Bernard's Theory of Freedom Bernard's Mysticism Mysticism and Monasticism Chapter V. Isaac of Stella Scholastic and Monastic Philosophy Isaac of Stella Ontology Cosmology Psychology Love and Truth

57 57 61 64 65 70 70 73 78 80 85 85 87 90 94 100 104 104 104 106 112 115 1x9

Conclusion

120

Notes Bibliography Index

123 129 137

Chapter I. JOHN SCOTUS ERIGENA

T H E STUDY OF NATURE N A T U R E (natura,