By Susan Schreiner
The subject of certitude is way debated this present day. On one part, commentators corresponding to Charles Krauthammer urge us to accomplish "moral clarity." at the different, these like George Will contend that the best current risk to civilization is an way over certitude. to handle this uncomfortable debate, Susan Schreiner turns to the intellectuals of early smooth Europe, a interval whilst inspiration used to be nonetheless fluid and had now not but been reified into the shape of rationality demanded by means of the eighteenth and 19th centuries.Schreiner argues that Europe within the 16th century was once preoccupied with issues just like ours; either the need for sure bet -- specially spiritual sure bet -- 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 spiritual violence, the discernment of spirits, and the ambiguous dating among visual appeal and fact. In her exam of the background of theological polemics and debates (as good as different genres), Schreiner sheds gentle at the repeated assessment of simple task and the habitual worry of deception. one of the texts she attracts on are Montaigne's Essays, the paranormal 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 no longer a e-book approximately theology, yet quite in regards to the manner within 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)
BEGINNINGS 23 For the viator, evident knowledge of theological truths (those truths necessary for salvation) is available either naturally or supernaturally. The fact of God’s existence is naturally known. The Incarnation is known only supernaturally, that is, through revelation in Scripture. The viator, by deﬁnition, has no intuitive or abstractive knowledge of the Godhead. 112 The importance placed on experience and the notitia intuitiva meant that the theological knowledge of the viator was limited to Scripture, the fathers, and the doctrinal decrees of the church.
105 Regarding the perception of nonexistent objects, Ockham insisted that the assent of the mind was only the assent of belief or conviction, not one of 22 ARE YOU ALONE WISE? evidence. Abstractive knowledge did not imply the existence or presence of its object. When it comes to evident cognition, the mind would always judge that the thing does not exist. 108 While a “belief-cognition” can be in error, an evident cognition based on intuitive knowledge that cannot deceive. As Böhner concluded: Evident assent, therefore, never can fail, for it is based on intuitive knowledge whether it is naturally or supernaturally produced.
Why, then, was he suspected of being a skeptic? Ockham did admit the possibility of deception, a deception that may even be caused by God. 96 But then how were true judgments to be distinguished from false ones? Ockham did not seem to believe that these erroneous judgments really threatened certitude. Thus Ockham intended primarily to preserve the centrality of propositional knowledge. 97 The area where Ockham was most vulnerable to the charge of skepticism was the question of whether God can produce intuitive knowledge of that which does not exist.
Are You Alone Wise?: The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) by Susan Schreiner