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Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages

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ISBN-13: 978-0023436208
ISBN-10: 0023436204
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The book is divided into three chapter (lectures). Etienne Gilson, French historian and philosopher, was born in 1884. Member of the French Academy and Director of the Institute of Medieval Studies at Toronto, he is the author of, among many brilliant works, The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy and The Unity of Philosophical Experience.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall College Div (January 1938)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0023436204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0023436208
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James G. Bruen Jr. on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
Etienne Gilson's Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages is the text of three magnificent lectures he gave at the University of Virginia, the Richard Lectures of 1937. Gilson, who was Professor of Mediaeval Philosophy at the Sorbonne and at the College de France, addresses: The Primacy of Faith, The Primacy of Reason, and The Harmony of Reason of Revelation. Professor Gilson's approach is never obscure, abstract, academic, or convoluted. He writes lucidly and facilitates understanding.

In the first part of this brief book, he addresses the idea that "since God has spoken to us, it is no longer necessary for us to think," that is, "all we need to know is written in the Holy Scriptures ... we shall stand in need of nothing else, not even philosophy." Along the way, we meet Plato, Tertullian ("What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"), Tatian, Bernard, Peter Damian, Albert Magnus, St. Augustine ("a new age was beginning, in which by far the highest type of philosophical thinking would be that of the theologians"), Anselm, Roger Bacon, and more.

In the second part, Gilson addresses philosophical rationalism, which originated with Averroes and the attempt to reconcile Aristotle and Islam; "Faith is the only possible approach to rational truth for men of imagination; theology is the next best thing to metaphysics for a merely dialectical mind; but philosophy itself is absolute truth, as established by the demonstrations of pure reason." Averroes influence was great, even among his Latin disciples, Christian believers who nevertheless found Averroes arguments irrefutable. Gilson memorably portrays the dilemma they were in. But, "had they not been there, the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas himself would not have been what it was."

The third chapter focuses on Aquinas.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By PROLOG on February 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is in my opinion a good basic set of knowledge of the relationship between faith and reason in the middle ages. It is pretty good, however a better read on a similar topic would be Blessed John Paul II's Fides et Ratio. Fides et ratio covers much of the same historical information as Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages.
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