Early Medieval Philosophy 480-1150: An Introduction by John Marenbon

By John Marenbon

Compact yet singularly good idea out fabric of a theological, logical, poetic in addition to philosophical nature.

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While Christianity had been gathering followers, Platonic philosophy had taken on an increasingly religious character. This was reflected partly in the nature of its concepts and arguments (see above, pp. 9–12 ); and partly by certain more practical manifestations of religion which, since the time of Plotinus, had become linked with Neoplatonism. Worship of the pagan gods, reverence for the wisdom of the Chaldean Oracles, the practice of theurgy and divination were combined, by men such as Porphyry, with a virulent hatred of Christianity.

22 ff). The solution actually proposed to the difficulty Aristotle had noticed is not, however, a very satisfactory one, Boethius follows and explains Aristotle’s scheme of argument: if future contingent statements are true or false, like statements about the past or present, then everything must come about of necessity. But this cannot be the case; and so the initial premise must be rejected. But Boethius does not interpret Aristotle as saying that future contingent statements are neither true nor false.

The use of logical terms and methods in discussing the Trinity was not an innovation: Boethius profited greatly from his reading of Augustine’s De trinitate, especially in treatises I and II; and Augustine himself owed something to Marius Victorinus. But the clarity and neatness which Boethius brings to his formulations is novel; and it suggests that he was more concerned to defend a doctrinal position, than to investigate the profound mysteries of the triune God. The philosophical passages in treatises I, II and V are incidental or prefatory.

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