By Susan Schreiner
The subject of certitude is far debated this day. On one aspect, commentators comparable to Charles Krauthammer urge us to accomplish "moral clarity." at the different, these like George Will contend that the best current chance to civilization is an way over certitude. to handle this uncomfortable debate, Susan Schreiner turns to the intellectuals of early glossy Europe, a interval whilst suggestion was once nonetheless fluid and had now not but been reified into the shape of rationality demanded through the eighteenth and 19th centuries.Schreiner argues that Europe within the 16th century used to be preoccupied with matters just like ours; either the need for simple task -- particularly non secular sure bet -- and warnings opposed to walk in the park permeated the sooner period. Digging underneath overt theological and philosophical difficulties, she tackles the underlying fears of the interval as she addresses questions of salvation, authority, the increase of skepticism, the outbreak of spiritual violence, the discernment of spirits, and the ambiguous dating among visual appeal and fact. In her exam of the historical past of theological polemics and debates (as good as different genres), Schreiner sheds mild at the repeated assessment of sure bet and the routine worry of deception. one of the texts she attracts on are Montaigne's Essays, the magical writings of Teresa of Avila, the works of Reformation fathers William of Occam, Luther, Thomas Muntzer, and Thomas extra; and the dramas of Shakespeare. the result's now not a ebook approximately theology, yet quite concerning the method within which the worry with certitude made up our minds the theology, polemics and literature of an age.
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Extra resources for Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
111 The evident knowledge that the blessed have about God is extensive and based on intuitive cognition, known per se, or derivable by some non-syllogistic inference from these two forms of knowledge. The blessed will have, for example, intuitive cognition of the divine essence. The emphasis is, once again, on the immediacy of this knowledge. BEGINNINGS 23 For the viator, evident knowledge of theological truths (those truths necessary for salvation) is available either naturally or supernaturally.
68 Dupré attributed to Nominalist epistemology the breaking of the link between thinking and reality. Rejecting the idea of impressed species, Ockham severed the traditional bond between reality and the mind. “Even the assumption that in knowledge the mind shares a universal form with the real, however deeply entrenched in the tradition, is abandoned. . ” According to Dupré, the consequence of this epistemology was an emphasis on the independent nature of the cognitive act, an independence that furthered the isolation of the mind from extra-mental reality.
125 The emphasis was on rational and orderly argumentation. Language or terminology had to be very carefully deﬁned and used with precision. Scholastics argued for restrictive terms in theology because, as Rummel has shown, they equated precision with mental rigor. 126 Analyzing well-deﬁned topics by means of strict deﬁnitions and the rules of dialectic, the scholastic could respect tradition, overcome heresy, and establish certitude. Aristotle had never equated dialectics with certainty. Distinguishing dialectics from logic, Aristotle believed that only the latter dealt with necessarily true propositions.
Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) by Susan Schreiner