Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early by Susan Schreiner

By Susan Schreiner

The subject of certitude is far debated at the present time. On one facet, commentators reminiscent of Charles Krauthammer urge us to accomplish "moral clarity." at the different, these like George Will contend that the best current probability to civilization is an way over certitude. to handle this uncomfortable debate, Susan Schreiner turns to the intellectuals of early glossy Europe, a interval while notion was once nonetheless fluid and had no longer but been reified into the shape of rationality demanded by way of the eighteenth and 19th centuries.Schreiner argues that Europe within the 16th century used to be preoccupied with matters just like ours; either the need for simple task -- specifically spiritual walk in the park -- and warnings opposed to walk in the park permeated the sooner period. Digging underneath overt theological and philosophical difficulties, she tackles the underlying fears of the interval as she addresses questions of salvation, authority, the increase of skepticism, the outbreak of non secular violence, the discernment of spirits, and the ambiguous courting among visual appeal and fact. In her exam of the background of theological polemics and debates (as good as different genres), Schreiner sheds mild at the repeated overview of walk in the park and the habitual worry of deception. one of the texts she attracts on are Montaigne's Essays, the magical writings of Teresa of Avila, the works of Reformation fathers William of Occam, Luther, Thomas Muntzer, and Thomas extra; and the dramas of Shakespeare. the result's now not a booklet approximately theology, yet quite in regards to the method during which the worry with certitude decided the theology, polemics and literature of an age.

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Additional info for Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)

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155 Thus while the Nominalists had once rebuked the via antiqua for vain speculation, now the humanists charged the Nominalists and all of scholasticism with “vain curiosity” and the obfuscation of reality. ” Like scholasticism, Renaissance humanism exhibited a fundamental distinction that transcended individual differences in philosophy or ethics. 156 The Platonism of Ficino and the Platonic Academy exemplified the latter tradition. Grassi’s work draws attention to those humanists who fundamentally challenged the rationalist understanding of truth.

49 The historical evidence is abundant that the search for certainty came to be a driving force in European thought long before Descartes and the Thirty Years War. 50 This search for certitude stemmed from late-medieval concerns about epistemology, immediacy, and experience, as well as humanist historical and legal scholarship, and the religious debates of the sixteenth century. To be sure, the methods changed. The sixteenth-century preoccupation with certitude was not the rationalistic “decontextualizing” of problems, nor was it characterized by the use of logic and mathematics as a way of providing secure foundations for science and philosophy.

The notion of crisis is, perhaps, one too easily invoked. Those who look deeply and critically at their own times commonly conclude that their age is in a crisis. Some historians have rightly questioned the usefulness of the idea of crisis as a historical category because it is subjective and is often used to cover far too extensive periods of time, thereby making crisis the norm. 52 Nonetheless, when historians have attempted to define this era (or particular parts of this era) they have had recourse to the language of anxiety and crisis.

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Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early by Susan Schreiner
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