*** An Introduction To Medieval Philosophy
THE HISTORY OF
by RAJ NANDY
‘’I HUMBLY INVOKE THE GODS THAT BE, AS I
COMMENCE TO WRITE –‘THE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL
PHILOSOPHY’- AS A SEQUEL TO MY EARLIER ‘HISTORY
OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY’, WITH ALL SINCERITY!
TO LEAVE BEHIND MY WORK FOR POSTERITY! ’’
ALL COPY RIGTS ARE RESERVED BY -
During the second half of 5th century CE,
With the disintegration of the Roman
There was also a decay of culture and of
all shared institutions, -
That had long sustained philosophic activity
in late antiquity!
Thus Medieval Philosophy became deprived, -
Of Greek language and classical texts and
And only Latin had remained as a language, -
For all intellectual discourse!
Latin provided access to Cicero, Seneca, and
the Latin Church Fathers;
And to the works of St Augustine and those of
Yet despite the demise of the Empire’s social
The Church had remained as the only institution, -
Capable of supporting intellectual culture!
The Medieval philosopher mostly trained in
Were basically theologians, without any false
While Christianity provided a great stimulus, -
for all philosophical speculations!
Thus Medieval Philosophy took roots in an
Permeated with religious texts and ideas,
For its further advancement!
It becomes difficult to provide firm cut-off
Since Medieval Philosophy covers a wide
and motley canvas,
Which cannot be treated as unified or as
From the disintegration of the Roman Empire –
in the early 5th century AD,
Till the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman
Turks in 1453;
From the philosophy of St Augustine till the
time of Descartes;
Covers a broad and sweeping canvas and
a motley visage,
Embodying a rich and most varied part of
Western intellectual heritage!
Its Main Ingredients:
Coming to the main ingredients of Medieval
It contains classical and pagan elements of
Greek philosophic speculations,
Including those of later Neo-platonic version;
Mixed with the emerging influences of Christian
It gets seasoned with flavouring from Jewish and
Islamic intellectual heritage,
Stirred and simmered for a period of about 1300
years or so,
Resulting in a potent theological brew, -
On which the Medieval Philosophy developed
Philosophy in its eternal quest for wisdom and
When confronted with the question of good and
Now finds a newly emerging Christian faith, -
Which was able to save mankind from the very
And to recall what St Augustine had said,
That one must begin to reason with faith,
And believe in God to better human reason;
Since pursuit of knowledge without faith, -
smacked of treason!
Philosophy now becomes a handmaiden of
Its logical contents and speculations were
increasingly used, -
To justify the new religion of Christianity!
Initially Medieval Philosophy began with the
influence of Plato,
But from 13th century onwards, the influence
of Aristotle began to dominate show!
Only to be later displaced by the inductive reasoning
of the Renaissance,
Ushering in a new era of scientific speculations and
Scope of Work:
For better understanding I have divided my work
into three sections;
Pre-Augustine, Augustine, and Post- Augustine!
Since St Augustine stands like a giant colossus,
Whose shadow looms large over the entire Medieval
Thus providing a suitable reference point for easy
demarcation for us!
So my work commences with Advent of Christianity
and the Period of Evangelization;
With the pioneering work of Church Fathers, -
Along with its many religious heresies and
Section Two covers the philosophical work of great
Finally, highlighting the work of those who spent
Justifying God’s existence with logical reasoning
and faith, -
Till it blossomed as Scholastic Philosophy and
began to spread;
And their ceaseless efforts to synthesize Medieval
faith and theology, -
With Greek classical reasoning and philosophy!
(TO BE CONTINUED! The next portion is on page 3, sl.no.49, -
on 'THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANTY'! Based on my
painstaking research works & notes over the last two
years - on Medieval philosophy!)
Thanks for reading! - Raj Nandy.