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By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed a long way past the modest objective of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible background of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of titanic erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with such a lot of history's nice thinkers was once decreased to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate by means of writing an entire historical past of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who offers complete position to every philosopher, featuring his proposal in a superbly rounded demeanour and displaying his hyperlinks to people who went ahead of and to people who got here after him.

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 2: Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy From Augustine to Duns Scotus

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1, 6, 3. 1 Dt principiis, 2, 6, 1. ' Ibid.. 6, 1 - 3 . THE PATRISTIC PERIOD 29 theology; St. John Chrysostom (died 406) is celebrated as one of the greatest orators of the Church and for his work on the Scriptures. In treating of dogmas like those of the Blessed Trinity and the Hypostatic Union the Fathers naturally made use of philosophical terms and expressions; but their application of reasoning in theology does not make them philosophers in the strict sense and we must pass them over here.

One may point out, however, that St. Basil (died 379) studied in the University of Athens, together with St. Gregory Nazianzen, and that in his Ad Adolescentes he recommends a study of the Greek poets, orators, historians and philosophers, though a selection should be made from their writings which would exclude immoral passages: Greek literature and learning are a potent instrument of education, but moral education is more important than literary and philosophic formation. (St. ) But, though we cannot consider here the theological speculations of the Greek Fathers, something must be said of two eminent figures of the period, the historian Eusebius and St.

13, 12; 12, 16. " 13, 19. 4 THE PATRISTIC PERIOD 42 other Christian Greek writers, gives the palm to Plato among Hellenic thinkers, and that, in common with all the early Christian writers, he makes no real distinction between theology in a strict sense and philosophy in a strict sense. There is one wisdom, which is found adequately and completely only in Christianity: Greek thinkers attained to true philosophy or wisdom in so far as they anticipated Christianity. Among those who anticipated the true philosophy Plato is the most outstanding; but even he stood only on the threshold of truth.

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