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The History of Medieval Philosophy

Selected Figures of Scholastic Tradition I


Ladislav Tkáčik

Calling an epoch Middle Age already involves some sort of judgment. But Middle Ages represent a historic period, in which the identity was established, which was denied by the renaissance, modern world and which however is now being discovered again in its sense and beauty. It is a period in which a co-existence between faith and intellect, between ecclesiastical and profane culture was possible. It was a varied living space in which philosophy, mystique and practice could exist side by side. It is a world which is lost today and which we can get a hold of again only by intellectual appropriation.


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5. Johannes Scotus Eriugena


  Johannes Scotus Eriugena (810 – 877) is considered to be the most philosophically relevant author of this period. From the year 840 until his death, he lived at the court of Charles the Bald where he taught liberal arts. Eriugena contributed to the tradition of teaching seven liberal arts by introducing the script Satira de nup- tiis Philologiae et Mercurii by the pagan author Martianus Capella (5th century) into schools, and by commenting on it in his work Annontiationes in Martianum. By doing this, he signifi cantly contributed to knowledge of nature as the space of divine revelation. However, his infl uence on the tradition of the teaching of the liberal arts was much broader. Within these arts he supported the devel- opment of individual philosophical disciplines. In dialec- tics he contributed to development of logic, noetics and metaphysics. In grammar he aided development of the 46 basics of philosophy of language. He was also infl uential thanks to his translations of Pseudo-Dionysius Areop- agite, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor. We also have to mention his involvement in the dis- pute about the freedom of human will, which took place in the context of a  confrontation with the Benedic- tine monk, theologian and poet Gottschalk (805 – 868). Gottschalk’s teaching on predestination and three sorts of divinity, creation of man and Eucharist was provoking passionate polemics among scholars and authors across the continent. He was opposed by many, including but not limited to the theologian Paschasius Radbertus (785 – 865), Ratramnus...

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