Neoplatonism Through the Renaissance

Medieval Philosophy

What did Pope Honorius III consider heretical about Johannes Scotus Eriugena’s treatise?

In De Divisione Naturae Eriugena presented a Neoplatonic view of the world and cosmos that was also pantheistic. The Catholic Church did not accept pantheism, which held that God was everywhere in the world, because He was supposed to be separate from His creation. According to Eriugena, we cannot ascribe any natural quality from our own experience to God. That view was not a problem for the pope. The problem was that he described the created world as emanating from God in different stages: God created ideas or Platonic forms, and these created perceptible objects. The perceptible objects could not create anything but instead would ultimately be one with God, which meant that God “was all in all,” part of a circle that ended in himself.


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