By Christopher Martin
Takes the scholar step by step during the highbrow difficulties of Medieval idea, explaining the valuable strains of argument from Augustine of Hippos to the 16th century.
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Extra info for An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy
The authority is God's authority: but it only comes to the believer through tradition. One thus needs to accept the authority of the tradition as well. One may believe that God will protect those whose task it is to hand down the tradition, so that they will not fall into the errors to which human beings are so prone: but it is only because one accepts the teaching of tradition, which says that God has promised that the tradition will be protected, that one believes that the tradition is so protected.
10 The Historical Process Of The Development Of Tradition This process, which occurred on a small scale in the discussion of individual theses, occurs on a large scale throughout the history of medieval philosophy. We shall examine this in more detail in the last three chapters of the book: but there the broad lines of the development and improvement of the tradition will have to be overlaid by some details of conflict, crisis and failure. Here we can give an extremely simplified sketch. The intellectual work of St Augustine with whom, we said, we have to consider medieval philosophy to have begun was all such a work of harmonisation and synthesis.
So when the other works of Aristotle came to the notice of philosophers and other thinkers, it was natural to want to admit them with equal authority to the canon. The problem was that there were already parts of the secular canon, and of the authoritative commentaries of tradition on that canon, which seemed inconsistent with Aristotle. The result was a crisis which almost overthrew the tradition of medieval thought in the west in the thirteenth century, and may be partly blamed for its final overthrow in the sixteenth.
An Introduction to Medieval Philosophy by Christopher Martin