The Division Of Nature (Periphyseon). John Scotus Eriugena. Book I. TEACHER: Often I investigate as carefully as I can and reflect that of all things which can. John Scotus Eriugena (c/) Works (Selected List). Periphyseon ( The Division of Nature, ) Such is the first division of nature into genera. Eriugena is mainly remembered for his volu- minous work the Periphyseon [On Nature] or, in its Latin title, De Divisione. Naturae [The Division of Nature).
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Nature includes both God and creation and has four divisions: Cannot God be said to be created in some sense of the term? His theory of human nature is rationalist and intellectualist. Erigena adverts to previous remarks of his own and to the nature of the theologian’s task in stating that since it seems clear that assertions about God are based only on what we can know of him in his effects, no statement about God can be expressive of what God is like in himself.
The third is the opposite of the first, just as the fourth is the opposite of the second.
Erigena continues by raising the objection that it does not seem right to say that God is ineffable and then go on to discuss how we can speak of him.
Although he is unknowable in himself, God can be known in his effects. Works Selected List 3.
John Scotus Eriugena (Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology)
The universe to the Neoplatonic eye and to a certain extent to Erigena’s eye is a declension from the incomprehensible and ineffable unity of God, a declension which begins with the Ideas or primordial causes and then in a graded falling away from completeness and simplicity, which implies increasing complexity, arrives finally at material individuals. The Incarnation is introduced here; Christ’s reparation of our nature makes possible the return of man which is described as a deification.
This thoroughness lands him in a difficulty he might have avoided had he settled for the universal statement. For an affirmation concerning the lower order is a negation concerning the higher, and so too a negation concerning the lower order is an affirmation concerning the higher.
There cannot be any other First Cause of the universe other than God. Natura is the name for the universal, the totality of all things, containing in itself being and non-being.
The highest dignity for human nature is that it uniquely mirrors transcendent divine nature. God establishes the unity of all being, and is the First Principle of all things.
John Scottus Eriugena
Das System des Johannes Scottus Eriugena. God is first, and hence man comes after. He later taught at Laon, France. Eriugena has a rich and eclectic knowledge of the erikgena arts tradition, including Isidore, Cassiodorus, and Cicero. By its standing in the hierarchy, human nature is a microcosm summing up creation.
There is, for example, his famous identification of true religion and true philosophy: Because all things have been created in man, it is through man that they will be returned to God until that final eriugenx is reached when, in the words of the Apostle, God will be all in all.
Erigena holds that the authority of the Fathers must commend itself to reason if it is to be accepted.
Many legends surround the story of his life, among them a story that he was attacked and killed by his students with their pens. Faith and Philosophy We recall that Alcuin, having accepted a threefold division of philosophy, applied a similar onn to Scripture: Eriugena, then, has a dialectical understanding of the relation eriugeha God and man which can be viewed as orthodox from one point of view, but which is always transgressing the boundaries of orthodoxy in the direction of a view which has God and man mutually contemplating themselves and each other, in an endless, eternal vivision of theophanies.
There is no doubt that Eriugena’s theological intentions are orthodox, but he is a bold, speculative thinker, who believes that philosophy uncovers the true dovision of faith.
However, God is the First Cause of whatever is essential or accidental. The Periphyseondeeply influenced by Eriugena’s engagement with Greek Christian authors, is a work of astonishing scope, a veritable Neoplatonic summa. He translated the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite fifth century A. Though Book IV of the Periphyseon has the appearance of a Biblical commentary, dialectic also plays a privileged role.
Affirmative theology takes names from creatures and applies them to God on the assumption that what is found in the effect must also be found in some fashion in the cause. Creatures however, as fallen, do not yet know that they reside in God.
There are several remarkable aspects of this division. Erigena wants to maintain that the meaning of the statement in Genesis that man has been created in the image of God is that all things have been created in man.
Erigena claims that each species of being is good to the extent that it participates in the goodness of a higher species of being. Everything ultimately has its being from God. Gottschalk had already been condemned by a synod at Mainz in and another at Quierzy in and had been imprisoned in the abbey of Hautvillers where he remained until his death inbut Prudentius, the bishop of Troyes, appeared to side with him.
Thus, when God is referred to by names such as “Essence,” “Goodness,” “Truth,” “Wisdom,” “Justice,” or “Eternity,” these names are merely metaphorical and are not adequate to describe the infinite unity of God. The second and third together compose the created universewhich is the manifestation of God, God in process, Theophania ; the second being the world of Platonic ideas or formsand the third being a more panentheistic or pandeistic world, depending on the post-creation scope and interference of God.
He points out that making in the categorical sense involves motion and that motion cannot be found in God.