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Neoplatonism Through the Renaissance

Medieval Philosophy

Who was Johannes Scotus Eriugena?

Johannes Scotus Eriugena (c. 810-877; also known as John Scotus Eriugena) was a Christian rationalist (literally, his name means “John the Irishman, the Irishman.”) King John the Bold called him to his Palatine School to translate The Pseudo-Dionysius. This document was falsely attributed to St. Dionysius (d. 268), a convert of St. Paul, although it was in fact written by an unknown Neoplatonist. Eriugiena’s translation was initially a success; building on its main ideas, he constructed his own system, De Divisione Naturae. His basic premise was that logical reasoning ought to be compatible with Christian philosophy. This meant that the teachings of the Church Fathers could be criticized, if necessary. More heretically than that, it left no room for faith in divine creation and salvation. Eriugena’s treatise was condemned by Pope Honorius III (1148–1227) in 1225.



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