Today we tend to separate questions of logic from questions of belief, philosophy from religion, reason from faith. But for 1,000 years during a pivotal era of Western thought, reason and faith went hand-in-hand in the search for answers to the most profound issues investigated by Christianity's most committed scholars. In 24 ambitious lectures, Professor Williams examines the great Christian philosophers from Augustine to Ockham, following their efforts to illuminate the full scope of Christian doctrine using philosophical tools inherited, in large part, from the ancient Greeks. Far from being a "dark" age, this was an era when faith was not blind and reason was not godless, when the great philosophers and the great theologians were the very same people, and no one saw anything surprising about that. Building on the work of Plato and Aristotle, medieval philosophers worked diligently to show how the Christian faith is consistent with what can be demonstrated by reason, asking such questions as: Can God's existence and attributes be established by reason alone? Are there Christian doctrines that are beyond the scope of logical demonstration? How can Christian beliefs be defended and shown to be internally consistent? During this extraordinarily rich period of intellectual ferment, philosophers participated in a common struggle with transcendent questions, using reasoning in the service of faith. This course serves as a fascinating philosophical backdrop to illuminate the stimulating debates that occupied many of the greatest minds of the era.
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