The Religious A priori

Christinaity, Supernature, and the Rise of Science in Middle Ages. Part 4: NOTES


Augustine. The City of God. translated Henry Bettenson. Penguin Books, 1972. This edition 1984.
Bingen, Hildegard von. Hildegard of Bingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters and Songs. ed. Matthew Fox. Sante Fe, New Mexico: Bear and Company inc. 1987.
Brooke, John Hedley. Science And Religion: Some Historical Perspectives. The cambridge history of Sciences Series. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Charlton, D. G. New Images of The Natural: A Study In European Cultural History, 1750-1800. The Gifford Lectures, London: Cambridge University Press, 1884.
Chenu, Marie-Dominique. Nature, Man, Society in The Twelfth Century. Wehic Press, 1979.
D'Alembert, Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot. Trans. Richard Swab. The library of liberal arts series, Bobbs Merrill company, 1963.
Dante. The Divine Comedy. Trans. Lawrence Binyon, ed. Paolo Miano, New York: Viking Press, 1947.
Fairweather, Eugene R. "Christianity and The Supernatural," in New Theology Number One. Martin E. Marty and Dan G. Peerman, ed., New York: The Macmillian Company, 1964.
Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier. On The Plurality Of Worlds. trans. H. A. Hargraves. Berkeley: University of California press, 1990.
Grant, Edward. "Science and Theology in The Middle Ages," in God and Nature: Historical Essays ON The Encounter Between Christianity and Science. ed. David Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers., Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.
Inge, William Ralph. Christian Mysticism. the famous Bampton Lectures, Oxford, 1899, New York: Meredian, Living Age Books, 1956, second printing, 1960.
L Ladurie, LeRoy. "Introduction," Montaillou: Promised Land of Error. trans. Barbara Bray, New York: George Braziller, Inc. 1978 (American pub. date, originally 1975).
Lindberg, David "Science and The Early Church," in Lindberg, Op. Cit. . Science In the Middle Ages. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
Lovejoy, Arthor O. The Great Chain of Being: The History of An Idea. The William James lecture 1833, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934. This edition 13th printing 1976.
Lloyd, Genevieve. The Man of Reason: "Male" and "Female" in Western Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
Marcus, R. A. Christianity In The Roman World. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974.
Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of The Development of Doctrine. The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300). Vol. III. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.
Ruther, Rosemary Radord. Sexism in God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Boston: Beacon Press, 1983.
Scheeben, Mathias Joseph. Nature And Grace. trans. Cyril Vollert, ST. Louis:Herder Book Company, 1954 (originally 1856).
Schiebenger, Londa. The Mind Has No Sex? Women in The Origins of Modern Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Tanner, Kathryn. God and Creation In Christian Theology: Tyranny or Empowerment. Basil Blackwell, 1988.
Tillich, Paul. A History of Christian Thought. ed. Carl Bratten. New York: Simmon and Schuster, 1968.
Westfall, Richard. Science and Religion in Seventeenth Century England.
Ann Arbor paperbacks: University of Michigan Press, 1973 (originally, 1958).
Willey, Basil. The Seventeenth Century Background: STudies in The Thought of The Age In Relation to Poetry and Religion. London: Chatto and Windus, 1934, seventh impression, 1957.
White, Lynn. "The Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," in Machina Ex Deo: Essays in The Dynamism of Western Culture. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1968.

End Notes

1 The term "supernature" simply refers to the concept of the supernatural. But, that concept is much changed in modern parlance. The term first originated with Pseudo-Dionysius around 500 CE. In modern terms it refers to anything wired, or beyond the normal course of cause and effect; the occult, psychic powers, and so on. In scholastic terminology, however, it is two things: the realm of the transcendent (or God's presence beyond the created order), or the power to God to alter the natural and bestow grace. Miracles, for example, are "supernatural effects." To say that supernature is the ground and end of nature is simply to say that God is the origin of the nature, and whatever goal or purpose is fulfilled in creation, it is fulfilled to the extent that it moves toward God's purpose. This could be a moral goal, it doesn't have to be a physical effect, because "nature" includes human nature (and primarily human nature in scholasticism). Supernature is the higher law, rooted in God's will and grace (power). see Fairweather and Scheeben.

2 Eugene R. Fairweather, "Christianity and the Supernatural," in New Theology N0. 1. Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman, ed. (New York: The Macmillian Company, 1964), 237.

These are Fairweathers terms; the analogical ontology, which is juxtaposed to the "equivocal" and "univocal" views. The equivocal representing the reformed and neo-orthodox theology, the univocal representing enlightenment based liberal theology. Admittedly, Fairweather's schema is too Thomistic to be accurate, but his terms are handy descriptions of concepts which take a long time to lay out, so I use them. He speaks of the harmonious relation of immanence and transcendence as "analogical" on the assumption that religious language is merely analogy. Since the transcendent is beyond word, thought, or image, the most we can ever hope for is an analogical relation, or pure mystical experience. Of course, there is nothing to guarantee the accuracy of the analogy. But, in contrast to the other two views, the idea is that rather than losing the supernatural in the natural (which includes the materialist view as well as most liberal theology) and rather than losing the relation of nature to grace through sheer volunterism (which the reformers substituted for creative purpose in their notions of soverginty), what for Fairweather is the "correct" view, maintains some relation between creature and creator, even if we can only know that relation through analogy.

3 Fairweather, 245-253.

Fairweather traces the notion of supernatural from the early days of the Church to modern times, in summary fashion. He emphasizes the Greek, Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformers, and Paul Tillich. He argues specifically against the denigration theory.

4 Fairweather, p. 237.
5 White, 86.
6 Ibid., 88.
7 Rosemary Radford Ruther. Sexism in God-Talk: Toward A Feminist Theology. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983), 54.

Ruther argues that in religious thinking of the West the association is always between the female, the earth, nature, and the mother goddess, the male associated with the sky, heaven, transcendence, and the sky father. Thus, transcendence is the longing of the male ego to survive, and is rooted in the warrior culture and its tendency to force young boys, when coming of age, to flee the "world of women" and join the men.

8 Ibid.
9 Schiebinger, 162.
10 Lovejoy, 103.
11 Ibid.
12 Fairweather, 327.
13 Schiebinger, 1969.

"Augustine had asserted that both sexes, having been created in the image of God, posses a rational soul (though woman's rationality was of a lesser degree). While woman might be inferior to man by nature, she was his equal by grace: in the afterlife souls have no sex..." She footnotes Eleanor Mclaughlin "equality of souls, inequality of sexes" in Religion and Sexism, Images of Women in The Jewish and Christian Traditions. ed. Rosemary Ruther. New York: 1974, 218. On the other hand, see Genevieve Lloyd. The Man of Reason: "Male" and "Female" in Western Philosophy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984. 29. Lloyd argues that Augustine was stuck with the baggage of Genesis, and was forced to explain woman's difference in creation in terms of subordination, but he tried to explain it in such a way as to correct the denigration of women. "His own interpretation of the sexual symbolism of Genesis is clearly supposed to defend woman against what he perceived as the misogynism of earlier exegesis...Augustine attempted to articulate sexual equity with respect to reason, while yet finding interpretive content for the Genesis account subordination of woman to man...what woman is as a rational spirit [not necessarily after life] must be distinguished from what she symbolizes in her bodily difference from man." What she symbolizes is human reason diverting toward the practical, Lloyd argues, not the lack of reason, or less reason. While this answer is unworthy of a thinker of Augustine's stature, he could hardly have picked up a better one at Woodstock.

14 Evelyn Underhill. Mysticism. (New York: Meridian books, 1955) originally published 1911. 206.
15 Lindberg, Science in Middle Ages, 42.
16 Ladurie, viii. 17 Lindberg draws upon Weber at this point, to explain the economic developments and religious attitudes toward those developments in the 10th through 12th centuries. Science In The Middle Ages, 29-42. Unfortunately, Lindberg does not explain exactly what those theories are, or how they really explain the developments. He simply says that economic forces drove religious attitudes. Fortunately, I used to be a sociology major. Weber was one of my favorites. In The Spirit of Capitalism and the Protestant Work Ethic he says that the protestant reformation prepared the ground for capitalism by instilling an ethical base thorough religious attitudes. The same set of sensibilities required to be a good Calvinist, were also those required to be a good capitalist. His theory was also wider, and he applied it to many periods of history. Lindberg seems to be arguing that religious attitudes and economic developments were mutually reinforcing and laid the groundwork for the rise of medieval science in the 12th century.

18 Ibid., 25.
19 Ibid., 23.
20 Ibid., 27.
21 R. A. Markus. Christianity In The Roman World. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974), 60.
22 Fairweather, 247
23 Fairweather, 248
24 ST. Augustine, The City of God. Trans. Henry Bettenson, Penguin Classics (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1972/84) Book XII, Chapter 4.4, p. 475.
25 Ibid., 473-4.
26 David C. Lindberg, God and Nature: Historical Essays on The Encounter Between Christianity and Science. ed. David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), 31.
27 Lindberg, 35.

Augustine didn't really make any contributions to the development of science, but Lindberg numbers him among the "early church practitioners" of science. Augustine did apply scientific thinking on occasion. He used the example of twins to counter astrology; both babies are born under the same sign, at the same time, but one is often weaker and meets a different fate than the other.M

28 Lindberg, 37.
29 Arthor O. Lovejoy. The Great Chain of Being. The William James Lectures, 1933,(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934), 67.
30 Grant, 50-51.
31 D.G. Charlton. New Images Of The Natural In France: A Study in European Cultural History, 1750-1800. The Gifford Lectures (New York, London: Cambridge University Press, 1984),35.
32 Paul Tillich. A History of Christian Thought. ed. Carl E. Braaten, (Simon and Schuster: Touchstone, 1967), 154.
33 Lindberg, Science in The Middle Ages. 42 35 Ibid.
Lindberg includes as magic, of course, the supernatural and the sacraments. From an anthropological view this is quite correct, but his inclusion of miracles is conceptually wrong. Miracles and magic are not the same thing, not simply because Christian belief (the Bible for example) condemns one and condones the other, but because they stem from two different concepts. Magic seems to be based on the ultimate premise that some force built into nature can be controlled by the user. For example, with the Hermetic corpus, there is a certain design which the ancients knew of that allows for the control of nature in a certain way. Miracles, on the other hand, or "supernatural effects" as Scheeben calls them, are not the result of the user's control, but of God's will. Moreover, they are not brought into play by some hidden design within nature, but by the orchestration of supernature; that is, they are the laws of nature obeying a higher law which is evoked at God's choosing. From an anthropological view this may be hair splitting, but from within the inner logic of a theological tradition it makes a large difference. Be that as it may, Lindberg's basic point still stands, by allowing the infusion of pagan magic, which is obvious in some respects, if not in the sacraments, Christianity allowed a combination of traditions which emerged as science in the Renaissance.

36 Edward Grant, "Science and Theology IN the Middle Ages." in Lindberg, God And Nature. 49.
37 In his famous lectures, the Bampton lectures (Oxford, 1899) on Christian mysticism, William Ralph Inge speaks of "medieval dualism" of spirit over matter. This is in contradiction to Fairweather, Tanner, and others. Nevertheless, even though the lectures were given at the turn of the century, Inge has been considered the major authority on Christian mysticism thoughout most of the 20th century. Inge does go on, however, to state that the view of the more developed mystics was toward the notion of harmony and unity. Christian Mysticism, 263. He also states, "all nature [for Christian mysticism] (and there are few more pernicious errors than that which seperates man from nature) is the language in which God expresses his thoughts," 250. Inge has long been one of my favorites, so I feel in all honesty I must admitt that this compromises my argument. But, I still think there is an idea here, so I have tried to qualify my argument (I'm tweeking it). After all, who wants to be an ideologue?

38 Lauderie shows that the Manachiean influences in France fed into the Cathari dualism, which did disvalue the natural world. Like some forms of gnosticism from the early centuries, this did not always take the form of asceticism, it sometimes meant licence to sin (we are trapped in matter anayway, so why avoid sex?). The Cathori had two levels of believer, (as did the Manachieans) the "perfects," or elites, abstaned, the ordinary people (peasants mostly) did not abstaine, but indulged at an almost alarming level.
39 Ibid., 34.
40 Ibid., 35.
41 Chenu, 29.
42 Lindberg, Science in The Middle Ages, 37.
43 Ibid.
44 Ibid., 30.
45 Schiebinger, 13.
46 Underhill, 458.
47 M.D. Chenu. Nature, Man, and Society in The Twelfth Century: Essays on New Theological Perspectives in The Latin West. ed. and trans. Jerome Taylor and Lester K. Little, (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1957). 35.
48 White, 88
49 Inge, 250.
50 Fairwether, 237.
51 Hilegard of Beingen's Book of Divine Works: With Letters And Songs. ed. Matthew Fox, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Bear and company Inc. 1987, 26.
52 Mary Jeremme Finnegan. The Women of Helfta: Scholars and Mystics. (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1991).
53 Tillich, 144.
54 Tillich, 181-82.
55 Lawrence Cunningham. ed. Brother Francis. Huntington, Indiana: OSV, 1972. Cunningham argues that ST. Francis did not idealize or romanticize nature..the "nature mystic" image is fallacy. St. Francis was more of a democratic than a romantic, that is, he accepted all of God's creatures on an equal basis, but he did not divinize nature.
56 get it
57 Tillich, 181-82.
58 M.D. Chenu. Man, Nature, and Society In The Twelfth Century: Essays On New Theological Perspectives In The Latin West. ed. trans. Jerome Taylor and Lester K. Little, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957, 1968 edition), 4-6.
59 Chenu, 6.
60 Ibid., 9-10.
61 Ibid.
See also Grant, 51. Grant gives the same developments of Platonic philosophy leading the search for natural causes, lists the same names, but with less development, he even includes another part of this same larger quotation from William of Conche.
62 Lindberg, Science in The Middle Ages, 41-42.
63 Chenu, 16-17.
64 Chenu, 28.
65 Chenu, 18.
66 in Chenu, 19.
I thought I would quote the expression of such a modern concern, cheap energy. 67 Chenu, 29.
68 Ibid.
69 Ibid.
70 Chinu, 32-33.
71 Ibid., 33.
I could as easily footnote Lindberg's Science In The Middle Ages, and Grant, as both go hand in hand with Chenu on almost every point, concerning the developments at Chartres, but their accounts are much more general.
72 Chenu, 32.
73 Jarslov Pelikan. The Christian Tradition, a Development of The History of Doctrine: The Growth of Medieval Theology, (600-1300). Vol. III. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 284-85.
74 Ibid.
75 Aquinas in Pelikan, Ibid.
76 Ibid.,288.
77 Pelikan, 289.
78 This is an antiquated designation, I realize. The fashion is to speak in terms of early modern, and to include the 12th century as a "renaissance" in its own right. While I can see the value in that, I can't go along with it when speaking of Dante. In agreement with Peter Burke, I view the Renaissance as a literary movement rather than a time period, but Dante is a literary figure.
79 Ibid., 291.
80 Purgatorio. XVIII. 46-48.
81 C.H. Grandent. Notes on Paradiso, The Divine Comedy, ed. Palo Milano, trans. L..Binyon. Canto II. (New York: The Viking Press, 1947), 371.
82 The experiment doesn't make much sense. It involves three mirrors, one placed further away from the other two, and a light which can be seen in all the mirrors. The light is supposed to shine as brightly in the third mirror, proving that the spots on the moon are not the result of rarity and density...I think. Be that as it may, the point is not what is proven (I don't think anything is proven) but the fact that Dante used experiment at all, even if only theoretically.
83 Pelikan, 291.
84 Lindberg, Science in The Middle Ages, 43.
85 Pico Dela Mirandola, "Oration on The Dignity of Man," in The Renaissance Philosophy of Man. Anthology, ed. Ernest Cassierer, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1948), 223.
86 Ibid. 225.
87 see Fairweather. 237.
Katherine Tanner argues that the real difference in Reformation and scholastic ontology was a problem of language. She argues that the relation of nature and grace is inherent in all Christian assumptions about the God-world relationship, but this relation gets distorted through language which is designed to convey one aspect of the system or another, and the other aspects are forgotten. Luther emphasized the need of the creature for grace, Aquinas emphasized the ability of the creature to rise to the level of grace (the operation of the Imago). My response is, all doctrinal disputes are disputes over language, all "errors" and "heresy" are linguistic problems. 88 Basil Willey, The Seventeenth Century Background
89 Fontenelle, ON The Plurality of Worlds, 12.
This attitude marks what Fairweather calls the "univocal" side of the equation. There is only one voice, everything is pulled down into nature. In the 15th century disputes over foundationalism, the Catholic anti-foundationalists, because their position disvalued reason as a counter to Protestant foundations, took the opposite view. As with Montaigne, they took the equivocal side. That is, grace over nature. They supported Catholic tradition, but changed the content so that the harmonious relation which valued the world through supernature no longer valued the world. It is my contention that this feeling was transposed and read back by historians as the medieval attitude of Christian supernaturalism to nature. see Lovejoy, 103.
90 Ibid.
91 Grant, 57.
92 Richard Westfall, 51.
93 Brooke, 144.
94 D'Alembert, 14, 25.
95 Grant, 69.
96 White, 88.
97 Grant, 69.
98 Ibid.

The Religious A priori