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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: March 2010

25 - Faith and the intellectuals II

from PART VI - THE CHALLENGES TO A CHRISTIAN SOCIETY

Summary

This chapter concerns the persistent preoccupation with the boundaries between inquiry and faith, as they appear in the context of the liberal arts in the high and in the later Middle Ages. Augustine's main argument is that the Israelites, when they fled from Egypt, were advised by God to take foreign gold and silver vessels with them. Justified by such arguments, the liberal arts found their way into the intellectual life of the Middle Ages. Thierry of Chartres, who since about 1142 was chancellor of the bishop of Chartres, dedicated a book to the seven liberal arts, which he calls Heptateuchon. Frequently the proscribed opinions derive from the ideas of Aristotelian commentators, as is the case for Averroes' doctrine on the unity and uniqueness of the intellect. As Roger Bacon puts it, the new learning introduced by the Aristotelian and Arabic writings must not be neglected at all, but has to be reclaimed for the faith.

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