Although the treatise presented here is most interesting, it was never widely disseminated. As far as we know, it is preserved only in Latin, in one manuscript. The text poses many questions. Who produced a copy of the text? Who is the translator? Is the treatise a genuine work of Averroes? And if so, what was his intention in writing this monograph on the First Cause?
IN THE DISCUSSION on education in the Republic, Socrates lays down the principles which those who speak about the gods must follow if they want to avoid the errors of traditional mythology. The first typos of this rational theology is this: "God is the cause, not of all things, but only of the good." For "God, being good, cannot be responsible for everything happening in our life, as is commonly believed, but only for a small part. For we have a (...) far smaller share of good than of evil, and while God must be held to be the sole cause of good, we must look for some other factors than God as cause of the evil." Rightly celebrated, this passage has set the agenda for ages of reflection in Western thought on the cause of evil. In contrast to traditional mythology where the gods are seen as the origin of both good and evil--as Homer says, "Zeus has two jars standing on the floor of his palace, full of fates, good in one and evil in the other"--the divinity is now freed of all responsibility for evil. God, who is entirely good, can only be the cause of well-being. If this answer sets God free of all responsibility for evil, it seems to be at the cost of limiting God's power: for God is no longer responsible for "most things in human life," since most of them are evil. What, then, may be the cause or causes of evil? Do bad things have a cause? Or do they just happen? Plato's formulation seems to suggest that he favours a dualistic solution to the problem of evil: God is the cause of all good, but for evil we have to find other causes. What could those causes be: matter, cosmic necessity, an evil soul? Various answers of this type were developed in later Platonism and in later mythological philosophies. Without denying that Plato often uses a dualistic discourse and uses elements of it in his cosmology, I do think that Plato had something different in mind. After all, he was not primarily interested in the problem of theodicy. For in this passage of the Republic, he is not concerned with the problem of evil in the universe as a whole, which is really the theodicy question, but with evil in "human life," that is, evil insofar as human beings experience it and suffer from it: the fact that we are not at all living well but are instead miserable and unhappy. (shrink)
Since its origin, Greek philosophy has made an attempt to rationally determine what the 'divine', object of myth and religious practice, really is. In the present article we examine Proclus's project of a philosophical theology. First, by determining its object (theion) : the absolute One and the henads, secondly by distinguishing its method (logos) from other forms of theological discourse : symbolic-mythological, eikonic and oracular. Finally, we explain how Proclus came to understand the logical discussion in the Parmenides of Plato (...) as the perfect system of scientific dialectical theology, a philosophical 'hymn of the generation of the gods'. (shrink)
Throws light on the particular renewal of the theological and philosophical tradition which Henry of Ghent brought about and elucidates various aspects of his metaphysics and epistemology ethics, and theology.
The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity comprises over forty specially comissioned essays by experts on the philosophy of the period 200-800 C.E. Designed as a successor to The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy , it takes into account some forty years of scholarship since the publication of that volume. The contributors examine philosophy as it entered literature, science and religion, and offer new and extensive assessments of philosophers who until recently have been mostly ignored. (...) The volume also includes a complete digest of all philosophical works known to have been written during this period. It will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in this rich and still emerging field. (shrink)
Over the last decades, the Commissio Leonina has built up a very strong reputation. Editions such as theSentencia libri De anima and the Sentencia libri de sensu et sensato by R.-A. Gauthier or the commentaries on Boethius by P.-M. Gils, L.-J. Bataillon and C.A. Grassi have set new philological standards, not only because of their fine critical introductions and excellent reconstructions of Thomas Aquinas’ texts, but also because of their rich and accurate apparatus fontium. It may be doubted, however, whether (...) the present edition of De spiritualibus creaturis by Father J. Cos lives up to the same high standards. (shrink)
Ambrosianus B 165 sup., a 14th-cent. Constantinopolitan manuscript containing Proclus' In Parmenidem, was once owned by the Cardinal Bessarion, who has read, corrected and annotated the text with remarkable care. In this contribution, we provide an analysis of Bessarion's work on this manuscript, thus offering a case-study of his philological method. We also discuss some quotations from this text in Bessarion's works, which testify to the importance of his knowledge of Proclus for his own writings. In addition, Bessarion's Greek scholia (...) on books II and III of Proclus' commentary are edited here for the first time. (shrink)
The volumes of the 'Symposium Aristotelicum' have become the obligatory reference works for all studies on Aristotle. In this eighteenth volume a distinguished group of scholars offers a chapter-by-chapter study of the first book of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Book Alpha is not just a fundamental text for reconstructing the early history of Greek philosophy; it sets the agenda for Aristotle's own project of wisdom after what he had learned from his predecessors. The volume comprises eleven chapters, each dealing with a different (...) section of the text, a new edition of the Greek text, based on an exhaustive examination of the complex manuscript and indirect tradition, and an introduction which offers new insights into the relation between the two divergent traditions of the text. (shrink)
The volumes of the 'Symposium Aristotelicum' have become the obligatory reference works for all studies on Aristotle. In this eighteenth volume a distinguished group of scholars offers a chapter-by-chapter study of the first book of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Aristotle presents here his philosophical project as a search for wisdom, which is found in the knowledge of the first principles allowing us to explain whatever exists. As he shows, the earlier philosophers had been seeking such a wisdom, though they had divergent views (...) on what these first principles were. Before Aristotle sets out his own views, he offers a critical examination of his predecessors' views, ending up with a lengthy discussion of Plato's doctrine of the Forms. Book Alpha is not just a fundamental text for reconstructing the early history of Greek philosophy; it sets the agenda for Aristotle's own project of wisdom after what he had learned from his predecessors. (shrink)