*** An Introduction To Medieval Philosophy

THE HISTORY OF
MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
IN VERSE
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 -
RAJ NANDY
NEW DELHI
JAN 2010


INTRODUCTION

Background
During the second half of 5th century CE,
With the disintegration of the Roman
civilization,
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
thoughts;
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
Boethius!
Yet despite the demise of the Empire’s social
structure,
The Church had remained as the only institution, -
Capable of supporting intellectual culture!
The Medieval philosopher mostly trained in
ecclesiastical institutions,
Were basically theologians, without any false
pretension!
While Christianity provided a great stimulus, -
for all philosophical speculations!
Thus Medieval Philosophy took roots in an
intellectual environment,
Permeated with religious texts and ideas,
For its further advancement!

Time Frame:
It becomes difficult to provide firm cut-off
dates,
Since Medieval Philosophy covers a wide
and motley canvas,
Which cannot be treated as unified or as
homogeneous!
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
Philosophy; -
It contains classical and pagan elements of
Greek philosophic speculations,
Including those of later Neo-platonic version;
Mixed with the emerging influences of Christian
religion!
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
and grew!

Philosophy’s Quest:
Philosophy in its eternal quest for wisdom and
truth,
When confronted with the question of good and
evil,
Now finds a newly emerging Christian faith, -
Which was able to save mankind from the very
devil!
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
Theology!
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
discourse!

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
canvas;
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
countless persecutions!
Section Two covers the philosophical work of great
St. Augustine;
Finally, highlighting the work of those who spent
their life-time,
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.

by RAJ NANDY

Comments (6)

I especially liked the lines I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. makes me reflect on how ancient life and life's challenges are..it inspires me to write on the rivers I have touched in my life.
My history teacher read this poem to the class when we were learning about to roaring 20's and the Harlem Renaissance, & it was so powerful, it made me think about what blacks had to do to get to where they are today!
I passed by the Langston Hughes center in Seattle but this poem made it special.
I think this poem says it all. It eludes to the beginning of time, the trials, and now. It captures the cohesion we all have now regardless of race. 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers' has always been my favorite poem. I Just Love it! ! ! ! BTW, I am Navajo/Hispanic, but I heard it for the first time in college, that is when I fell in love with it. I hope you love it like I do!
this poem says alot about those he came across and learn from, it's very deep
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