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Christianity, Philosophy, and ‘Modernity’ (part 1)


Broadly speaking, the theme of the series that I provide in philosophy on my website center around the various relationships in which philosophy and divine revelation have existed together in the Western philosophical tradition, whether for the Greeks, the medieval Scholastics, the Moderns with their "Modern" science, or the Postmoderns with their technology and nihilism.  In this discussion, I provide a broad overview of what we even mean when we say the "Moderns" or "Modernity."  I do that in the following way:


1. I begin by setting the boundaries of the discussion with two specific passages about natural law and conscience: one from Thomas Aquinas and the other from John Locke.


2. I then provide a brief introduction to a few of the most influential schools of interpretation that students are likely to encounter in the secondary literature on our question concerning the origins of Modernity.


3. I then introduce the question of the origins of Modernity as the question of the relationship between divine revelation and philosophy which, in our case, is Christianity and the tradition of Greek philosophy.  Specifically, I discuss how the famous phrase of "faith seeking understanding" is not new to the Christian Medievals but, in fact, alive and well in both Plato and Augustine.


4. I then meticulously examine specific passages of Augustine's teaching on how Christianity is to properly understand itself in relationship to philosophy.  The reason for this is to allow Augustine to serve as a helpful segue into the teaching of Thomas Aquinas which is otherwise very often so foreign and difficult for students of philosophy to appreciate as still relevant today.


5. I then end with a preview of how the teaching of Augustine on the proper relationship of Christianity and philosophy is so radically transformed by "Modern" science.  Here I emphasize how our own tendency to read the Bible through the lenses of "Modern" science is in radical tension with the tradition of theology beginning with Augustine even and especially despite its claim to not be in such a tension.



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