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A History of Western Philosophy: The Medieval Mind, Volume II (v. 2) 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Once again I was amazed at the Professor's ability to sift through a sea of historical and technical detail, identify core concepts, follow them as they thread their way through the interval under consideration and relate them to the present time. His objectivity is consistent and his writing is not intrusive--it's as if the reader is engaged in direct personal research. His language is concise and not pedantic--this layman had no difficulty following his presentation of the various controversies characterizing medieval philosophical discourse.
The book ranges from the first century A.D. through the end of the period sometime in the 14th century. It addresses, among other things, the interplay of Jewish tradition and classical thought during the formative years of Christianity. An overview of the development of society, culture and a coherent worldview prepares the reader for a bracing survey of Thomism, including his metaphysics, psychology, ethics and politics. In closing the book, Jones details the subsequent critiques of Thomism developed by Bacon, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, et al.Read more ›
Jones states that there are two possible ways for a writer to organise a history of philosophy -- either by addressing everyone who ever participated in philosophy (which could become rather cumbersome if one accepts the premise that anyone could be a philosopher), or to address the major topics and currents of thought, drawing in the key figures who address them, but leaving out the lesser thinkers for students to pursue on their own. Jones has chosen the latter tactic, making sure to provide bibliographic information for this task.
This volume, 'The Medieval Mind', starts where the last volume leaves off, as the classical world, in the form of the Greek and then Roman Empire, the organising principles for the Western world for nearly a thousand years, were beginning to crumble.Read more ›
Mostly this is due to Jones' poor understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Having studied historical Jesus/early church scholarship pretty assiduously, I think he badly misunderstands both ancient Judaism and early Christianity, Jesus, and Paul. For instance, he wonders why YHWH would be especially interested with the Jewish people, and comes up with: "The Jews seem not to have asked themselves this question. A supreme national egoism made it easy for them to believe..." (p. 22). Dead wrong. The Jews' understanding of Israel's special calling to be the light of the world and its place in YHWH's larger plan for the world is present in e.g. Gen. 12.3, Isa. 56, etc., and is the backbone of Christian thought.
Again, with Jesus, Jones is seriously confused. The cornerstone, as he himself notes (p. 28), for his understanding of Jesus' moral and theological thought is his belief that Jesus expected the imminent end of the world. Again, dead wrong. He seems to be relying on Schweitzer's thesis from "The Quest for the Historical Jesus," which while trailblazing when it was written a hundred years ago, is not accepted by anybody in the field nowadays.
I could go on about Paul as well, but I think the point is clear. Jones is much better with straight philosophy than he is with reconstructing ancient religious worldviews, and in the Middle Ages all the philosophy is also theology built on those ancient worldviews he badly misunderstands. So it gets better as it goes, as the theology of the church gets closer to the theology he knows about and has retrojected onto the early church. The sections on Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the heart of the book, are quite good.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just what the description said, well worn and extensively used.Published 17 days ago by Jordan Corl
The error of Duns Scotus leads to the error of David Hume. On page 308, Professor Jones credits Duns for pointing out that inductive inferences need justification. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joseph Annunzio
Tough subject. I have to reread the chapters for it to sink in. Subject is interesting but very complex. I tend to fall asleep often.Published 7 months ago by N. S.
Jones cuts through the mundane works of some of the philosophers and provides not only excerpts of there works but lively commentary.Published 11 months ago by George U
This is a series of books. I found these originally at the university and have read a couple and I like them they are worth reading every one of them. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bill Byers
W.T. Jones did an excellent job in presenting a lucid History of Western Philosophy. We used these books during a one-year course I took in Philosophy back in the early 1970's. Read morePublished on December 15, 2013 by Carl Swinney
Provide excellent history. Read 2 of Jones' volumns in college. Wanted to read the other in the series and really wanted to have them for my book shelf.Published on April 18, 2013 by Prinkie